Apparently this isn’t a popular position, but I love having overnight guests. Even though my apartment is basically never company-clean, I love fussing around all day cooking and cleaning to get ready for company. But without a doubt, my favorite part of having friends stay the night is the excuse to make breakfast in the morning. That’s why I love the breakfast chapter of Baking, and it was a serious struggle to decide which recipe to pick for my long awaited Tuesdays with Dorie turn. It came down to Glorious Morning muffins or the Apple Cheddar Scones. I went with the scones, since I’ve never gotten around to making scones before. Dorie didn’t disappoint (holy alliteration!) and these scones were all kinds of delicious. Plus, I was lucky enough to have a guest staying with us to share them with!
My favorite fall snack, during the peak of apple season, is apple slices with smoked gouda melted over them. To die for! So I had no doubt the apple cheddar combination would be fantastic in scones. But I was pleasantly surprised at how good the dough encompassing the apple and cheddar was. The cornmeal gave it both flavor and texture, and the scone was ever so fluffy and moist. As Dorie said, they were at their very best straight from the oven, but even the single solitary one that survived until the next morning was still yummy. These will definitely be going into our regular breakfast rotation!
Apple Cheddar Scones
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 cup cold apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced dried apples
Getting reading: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Stir the egg, buttermilk and apple cider together
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between – and that’s just right.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be very wet and sticky, comes together. If there are still some dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl, stir them in, but try not to overdo the mixing. Stir in the grated cheese and dried apple.
Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Then, because the dough is very sticky, the easiest thing to do is to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, pat it into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and, using a dough scraper or a chef’s knife, cut it into 12 roughly equal pieces; place on the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can just spoon out 12 equal mounds onto the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the backing sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don’t defrost before baking – just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)
Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for the scones to cool to room temperature.