Scones are a great breakfast or tea time snack food. They’re easy to make, delicious and can be subject to what seems like an almost infinite number of variations. Plain scones – served with jam and butter or clotted cream – are always a popular option, but I have a soft spot for a scone with something added into it. Currents, chocolate chips, fresh fruit or simply citrus zest all make a scone a lot more interesting. I’m always looking for new things to add into my scones to expand my repertoire.
For this batch, I decided that apples were the way to go. I always have apples around the house and, as fall really seems to be apple season, they seemed like a natural match for a scone on a cool morning. I diced up the apples after peeling them hastily, purposely leaving small bits of skin on for additional color. I stirred them into a buttermilk batter and realized that I wanted more from this batch of scones. Something crunchy. A box of almond granola in my pantry caught my eye and I mixed a handful of the crispy cereal into the scones just before baking.
The scones turned out perfectly. The bready parts were tender and buttery, with an excellent flavor from the buttermilk that I used. Fresh out of the oven, each scone had a slightly crispy top and a very moist interior; they softened somewhat after storage, but were no less delicious. The apples lent a good flavor and the granola really gave them an interesting feel, adding a small amount of crunch and a nuttiness (from both oats and almonds) that worked extremely well with the fruit. Any flavor of granola will work well in this recipe. I had good results with almond (I used a Trader Joe’s brand) and would try for a pecan granola next time for a little twist.
I topped my scones off with a sprinkling of brown sugar for additional sweetness, but a dusting of cinnamon or of cinnamon-sugar would do just as well here. You could also leave yours plain and give them a brush of melted butter or lightly beaten egg just before baking if you want a really shiny, finished look.
Apple and Granola Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into 6 or 8 pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup granola (broken up, if large chunkS)
brown sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Add the butter to the flour mixture and rub it in with your fingertips, working until mixture is sandy and the butter seems fairly evenly distributed, with a few larger bits, but none larger than a pea.
Stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk (reserving the rest), the apple and the granola. Add the remaining buttermilk 1 tbsp at a time until the dough comes together into a ball. It should not be too sticky, nor should it be floury. Add back an additional tablespoon of flour if your dough becomes too wet (possible if you have a very juicy apple).
Divide ball into two equal discs about 1-inch thick and cut each disc into quarters. Place triangular scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 400F Until light golden brown. The bottoms should be browned.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Scones can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 scones