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Caramel Apple Scones

  Presidents are debating, I'm shoving a goodly amount of working hours into a week, my birthday is a little over a month away, and I really need to get my senior pictures together.

  But right now, work seems to trump everything.  Must be a thing with seasonal jobs.  I get up, do school, go to work.  I come home, eat some food, and talk about work.  I go to bed, try to fall asleep, and think about work.

  I'm definitley driving my family crazy.  I'm driving me crazy.  But what can I say?  I love my job.

  Caramel apples are a big part of work.  And, obviously, so are scones.

  So when I saw this on The Baker Chick's site, and had a couple hours to kill, obviously they had to be made.

  I mean, when you work in a bakery where you dip apples two dozen at a time and spend the whole day on your feet in the face of hot ovens and loud freezers, obviously when you get some time off, you bake some more.

  Judge away.

  A few notes, recipe-wise.  This scone dough was one of the driest I've encountered, and I've worked with a few a different recipes!  And by dry, I mean that getting it to come together after adding the sour cream was tough.  The finished products, however, were absolutely to die for- so moist!

  What I'm saying is, don't get your knickers in a knot because you have some majorly shaggy dough that you desperately want to add a little buttermilk to.  It's normal, so resist.  It'll come together with a little kneading, and all will be well.  If you're afraid that, in your frantic kneading, you've overworked the dough, just mush into some sort of shape and chill in the freezer for five minutes.  Let it rest!

  Any problems the dough might give you is definitely made up for by the glaze.  Sooo flippin' phenomenal!  And, no, it doesn't involve melting down and caramelizing sugar, an act that seems to scare the pants off most people.  It starts out as more of a caramel that you'd use for caramel corn...except with milk.

  I'm definitely not making sense now.  Just rest assured that it's easier than you think, and the flavor is to die for.  It's unconventional in the best way possible.

  And also, scones shouldn't have to last more than a day, because otherwise they just lose their luster.  Whether this means that you'll have to take them to work (shocker), make a half batch, freeze some unglazed ones, pawn them off on neighbors, or just eat several in one sitting...do it.

  Make everyone else's dish at your fancy brunch look like crap.  Happy fall!

Caramel Apple Scones
Yield: 12 large or 24 mini scones

Ingredients for the apples:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large apples, peeled and chopped (Granny Smith, Gala, and Honey Crisp all work well)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the scones:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)

Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

To prepare the apples, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir for 4-5 minutes while they cook and soften (you want them slightly softened, but still a bit firm to hold up in the oven).  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Transfer the apples to a bowl and place in the freezer to cool while you prep the scone dough.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the cold butter and rub together with your hands until a coarse meal forms and the biggest butter bits are no larger than peas.  Check to see if the apples are completley cool.  If not, place the butter/flour mixture in the fridge while you wait for the apples to cool.  When ready, stir in the sour cream and apples until the dough comes together (Don't overwork it and melt the butter, and if necessary use your hands to knead it all together in the bowl- it's a dry dough).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surfaceIf making large scones, pat and press into a 14x4 inch rectangular log.  If making mini scones, form into a 12x6 inch rectangular log.  For large scones, just cut the 14x4 rectangle on the diagonal into 12 triangles.  For mini scones, cut the 12x6 rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 12 triangles as well, giving you 24 mini scones.  Place the finished scones on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch between each one, and place in the freezer to chill for five minutes.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are firm on top and lightly-browned. Let them cool for a few minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack. 

To make the icing, in small saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed to cool the mixture slightly. Add in the salt, vanilla, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar on low speed. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency.  Drizzle icing over warm scones.  Serve immediately, or keep in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Sources: adapted from The Baker Chick, who was inspired by Recipe Girl