Apple Cinnamon Scones

The world looks different through a rain splattered window. With heavy clouds hanging low in the sky, the colors appear muted. The bright tones and highlights of a sunny day are subdued as the world takes on various shades of gray. The droplets of water clinging to the glass each hold a tiny world, of homes and life and trees, giving a new perspective on the view outside the window. As the droplets gather speed cascading down the window, they are replaced by newly fallen rain and the cycle continues.

Rainy days gift moments of peace.

Scones remind me of rainy mornings, overcast skies, and the hesitant light just before the sun rises. When I worked as a baker, the first item I made each morning were scones. The world was quiet, still asleep in bed, as the scents of baking swirled out of the oven. In my mind, scones have become inseparable from those early mornings. When the world is quiet from a sprinkling of rain or heavy clouds prolong the darkness of the morning, I feel drawn to the kitchen, drawn to the flour, butter, and heavy cream.

Scones and tea are simple pleasures on a dreary day.

With most of the recipes I conjure up in the kitchen, I start with a vision, but as soon as the baking process begins, the vision changes as I reach for ingredients and it morphs into a new one altogether. These scones didn't end up quite as I had planned, but I think it was for the better. Caramelized apples on the stove, the wafting scents of cinnamon and spice, and the feel of dough beneath my fingers accompanied the sound of raindrops against the window.

I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

Apple Cinnamon Scones are soft and fragrant. The apples are caramelized in a bit of sugar before they are added to the batter, which gives them a bright flavor after baking. A sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on top of the scones provides just the right touch of sweetness. Though these scones may certainly be enjoyed any day of the year, the warmth of the cinnamon and the scent of apples caramelizing on the stove are traditionally autumn.

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Apple Cinnamon Scones

Yields 8-10 scones

2 large apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold butter, cubed
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (158 ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a frying pan over medium heat, combine apples, cinnamon, and sugar. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, as the sugar caramelizes on the apples. Remove from heat and cool completely before adding to the rest of the batter (I placed the pan on a pot holder in the freezer for 5 minutes to hurry the process).

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your hands until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in cooled apples. Add in egg, heavy cream, and vanilla mix until the dough comes together.

Turn out on a lightly floured surface, form a ball, and flatten it until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut 8-10 equal pie wedges. Sprinkle the top of the scones with cinnamon and sugar. Transfer scones to a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Best eaten the day they are made.