These have quickly become my new favourite thing to make (and eat!), I have some in the freezer all the time and make another batch as soon as they get used up. Not only are they very quick and easy to make, but they have the most delicious smell when they are baking, I think this is pretty much what all the scented candle manufacturers are trying to recreate.
You will need a couple of greased and floured baking trays and a round scone cutter.
I use strong white bread flour for these, as it seems to give them a better rise and appearance, but plain white flour will give good results too. Adding the grated apple does give them a slightly lumpy/dimpled appearance so they look like a cross between plain scones and rock buns but I think they do look attractive. Make sure you add the apple to the flour as soon as you have peeled and grated it or it will go brown. Also make sure you don’t roll the mixture out too thinly, which you will almost certainly do the first time you make scones. It won’t rise as much as you think it will, and if you are going to half them and add butter or jam you want them nice and big. This makes around 12 large scones.
250 ml buttermilk (or squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a jug and top up with regular milk to 250 ml, giving it a good stir, to make soured milk)
450g strong white bread flour (or plain white flour)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons caster sugar
100 g unsalted butter (chilled)
2 small apples (I used Royal Gala) – approximately 220g when whole
For the topping:
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons Demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Pour the buttermilk/soured milk into a jug and beat in the eggs with a fork. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the caster sugar and give it a good stir. Cut up the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Peel and grate your apples and stir them in. Make a well in the middle of your floury mixture and pour the buttermilk and egg mixture in. Combine the mixture gently, you really want to handle it as little as possible now. When it is just combined, tip the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be quite sticky, but try to avoid the temptation to add much more flour when rolling it out if you can, although you will need a bit to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin.
Gently roll out the mixture to around one inch/2.5 centimetres thick. Remember, you are not making pastry, so it might be a lot thicker than you expect.
Cut out the scones using the scone cutter and place them on your baking trays, giving them a bit of space to expand. Combine the leftover bits, roll out and cut out again, or just use your hands to flatten and shape them if it’s easier. Brush the tops with beaten egg. Combine the cinnamon and Demerara sugar in a cup and sprinkle it over the top of the scones. Try not to spill it on the baking tray or it might burn and smoke when you put it in the oven.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes for large scones, 15 minutes for smaller scones, turning the trays half way through cooking to ensure an even bake. Keep a close eye on the scones, especially when they are nearing the end of their cooking time. At this point, I usually sit in front of the oven and just take in the smell, because it is amazing.
When they look golden brown, remove from the oven and place on a baking rack. Give them a few minutes to cool down slightly, then serve whilst warm. Since they already have fruit in them, they don’t need much more than a good dod of butter, but you could also try them with jam and/or cream. Honey butter is also good, just bring some unsalted butter to room temperature and stir in a bit of honey until it is combined.
This does make quite a few scones, so if you are not going to eat them all that day you can put them in the freezer in an airtight tub. To serve them again, heat them on defrost in the microwave for a couple of minutes, or defrost at room temperature then heat them up in the oven again for a few minutes. The sooner they are eaten once they come out of the oven, the better they will be :-).