I have a hard time resisting any warm scone fresh from the oven. But come fall, these tender scones loaded with apple (both fresh shredded and applesauce), spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and crowned with a brown butter-maple drizzle are my absolute favorite. They’re like a big, warm hug on a chilly day.
The recipe is a mish-mash of so many scone recipes I’ve tried over the years, including the always-perfect versions from mrslarkin on this site. The idea for adding applesauce comes by way of King Arthur Flour, and I really love the way it ups the apple flavor and tender, moist crumb.
A few notes: Good-quality butter is the key to good scones. I like using a rich, European-style butter with at least 82% butterfat, such as Kerrygold. And make sure the butter is cold—even frozen—to ensure a high rise and lots of flaky layers.
For these apple scones, I like to grate frozen butter directly into the flour (especially since the box grater is already in use for the apple), but feel free to use your own favorite method for cutting in the butter: a pastry cutter, food processor, or your own two hands! I’ve written the instructions in a way to keep the butter and other ingredients as cold as possible.
Lastly, a make-ahead tip: Once you’ve shaped your scones, freeze them (unbaked) on a baking sheet, then transfer them to an airtight container. They’ll keep well for at least a month and can be baked directly from frozen—just increase the baking time by a few minutes. Having a batch in the freezer means that big, warm hug is always within easy reach. —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with Kerrygold. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- Makes 8 scones
- For the scones:
2 3/4 cups
(330 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons
(1 stick; 114 grams) Kerrygold unsalted butter, frozen (see author note)
medium apple (such as Honeycrisp), cored (leave the skin on)
(120 grams) cold heavy cream
(113 grams) cold applesauce, unsweetened preferred
cold large egg
- For brown butter-maple drizzle:
Kerrygold unsalted butter
(35 grams) powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar until combined.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the cream, applesauce, vanilla and egg until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Using a box grater, grate the cored apple onto a small plate or cutting board. You should have about 1 cup (120 grams); a little more or less is fine.
- Using the same box grater, grate the frozen butter over the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, toss and coat the butter in the flour. Add the grated apple, and toss again.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, and fold them together with a fork until the dough just starts to hold together in a loose ball, being careful not to over-mix. Turn the dough (and any loose flour from the bowl) onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times until cohesive.
- Form the dough into a 7-inch round circle, then cut the circle into 8 triangle-shaped wedges. Arrange about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the brown butter-maple drizzle: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom so they don’t burn. Take off the heat, and whisk in powdered sugar and maple syrup, starting with 2 tablespoons and adding more, if needed, to reach a consistency for drizzling.
- Cool the scones for a few minutes, then add the drizzle over the top of each one. The scones are best on the day they’re baked, but they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.