Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hearty Apple-Oatmeal Scones . . . Thank you, Autumn!

Apples, apples, apples--yes, they're most decidedly still on my mind, and so we have today's scone recipe. This is a really good one, that I adapted, from Marion Cunningham's little gem, The Breakfast Book. She calls hers Oatmeal Raisin Scones.

I substantially altered the recipe in order to accommodate diced apple pieces and a handful of well-chopped pecans, and I removed the raisins altogether. I changed the amount of sugar (upping it just slightly), and instead of using buttermilk I used an equal-parts combo of milk and sour cream. Oh, and I also added in a bit of cinnamon. I rewrote the instructions almost completely and changed a few steps along the way.

These are delicious and truly hearty. They're not light and fluffy in the way that classic cream scones are--those are a somewhat different animal. These are a bit chewy (but not in a gum-chewy way) and pleasantly nutty from those pecans. They won't make you feel like you're eating a piece of gooey coffee cake, nor will they supply you with a sugar rush. You won't have to take your own blood pressure after you've eaten one. They're nicely toothsome, one might say (I love that old word . . . thus I am using it again . . . please forgive moi.)

Well, in the interest of time, I will restrain myself from blathering on further (yes, I am feeling alright, thanks for asking) and simply present you with the recipe. Oh, and there's no mixer needed for these (I love that about scones). Hope you like them!

Apple Oatmeal Scones

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

This generous recipe makes 16 good-sized scones (you can halve the recipe if you prefer, or make the whole batch and pop the extras in the freezer as soon as they're cool).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4 cups All Purpose flour (I used bleached)
3 cups rolled oats (I used quick oats but I assume old-fashioned oats are fine, too.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 and 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 lb. (2 sticks/1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold and firm, cut into grape-sized chunks
1 cup milk (I used 2 percent--that's what I usually have on hand)
1 cup regular-fat sour cream
1 and 1/2 cups diced apple pieces (I used Honeycrisp apples--they're firm and sweet, and don't turn to mush in the oven; I only needed one extra-large apple to make 1 and 1/2 cups of pieces)
1/2 cup well-chopped pecans (if you prefer, leave them out; they really do enhance the overall flavor and texture, though)
2 or 3 Tbsp. of sanding sugar or granulated sugar

In a large (it must be large) mixing bowl, place the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well to completely combine.

Toss in the butter chunks. Cut them in with a pastry blender or your hands (I used both!) until the mixture has a lot of coarse looking, good-sized crumbs.

Add in the apple pieces and stir to fully coat them.

In a medium bowl, stir together the milk and sour cream until you see most of the larger lumps disappear.

Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the milk-sour cream mixture. Stir well to combine, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Add in the pecans, if you're using them. Stir just to combine.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands. There will be a lot of dough so you'll need to divide it in half. Put one half back in the bowl while you work with the other. Knead the dough on the floured surface about 3 times. Pat it out into a circle approximately 10" round and 1/2" thick.

Using a sharp pizza cutter or a very sharp knife. divide the circle into 8 equal sections, just like you'd cut a pizza. Using a rigid spatula, pick up each piece and put it on one of your lined cookie sheets. Place the scones at least 1" apart. Sprinkle sanding sugar (or granulated sugar) on the top of each one.

Prepare the second pan of scones for baking. You can bake two pans at the same time without fear of catastrophe.

Bake them until they're nicely golden, about 20 minutes or so. Check them earlier than that, though, to make sure they're not overbrowning too fast. Cover them lightly with foil if that seems to be happening.

Cool them on their pans for a few minutes, then either serve them warm or let them cool completely on racks. Yummy served warm with butter (of course!), but they really are completely tasty on their own.

(Say, would somebody out there please start the coffee? I just can't eat one of these without it.)

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Recipe full disclosure!: As I said above, I got the idea for this recipe from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book, published by Knopf in 1987. All of the changes I made are all detailed within this post.

(If you'd like to comment on this post or read any existing comments, just click on the purple COMMENTS below!)

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