These simple, salty-sweet scones might be one of my favorite things I have ever made. They don’t ask much of you. Cut up apples and roast them. Grate some cheese. Chop butter into chunks. Mush it all into dough. Sprinkle with sugar and bake. Voilà! Autumnal gold.
White Cheddar and Roasted Apple Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (in words, not in ingredients)
Makes 6 generous scones
2 firm tart apples (I recommend Granny Smith), peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Cut the apples into one-sixteenths sized chunks. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely (you can speed this up in the fridge). Leave oven on. Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Place butter in a large bowl, along with cooled apple chunks, cheese, cream and one egg. Sprinkle flour mixture in thirds and, with your fingertips, cut and rub the butter into the flour. This might seem awkward with the apple chunks in there, but they’re going to ooze and break apart as the scones bake, anyway. Do this until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Do not over mix. Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Gently knead the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a buttered baking sheet. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Before you eat one, make sure you realize how addictive they might be. Once you’ve got that down, go for it anyway. Scones are best the day they are baked.