We’re in the throws of winter here in the Midwest – although we managed to dodge big blizzard, ‘Jonas’, of 2016 and for that I am grateful (I mean seriously, 40-inches of snow in 24 hours?!!). However, there is something to be said about being snowbound while the white stuff tumbles furiously from the sky – it can be magical. But when you live in the country like we do, there is always the fear and trepidation of loss of power that usually accompanies said blizzard.
I’m trying something new this winter: an at-home exercise program; shock and awe, I know, me too. But winters can be tough here with long stretches of gray skies, little sun and bitterly cold temperatures that make it nearly impossible to be outside for any reasonable length of time. All of which lend itself to making Debra a very sad and grumpy person. I’m finding that exercise has been a big help in keeping my mind focused as well as an overall sense of well-being. So far, so good.
I have some other changes I’ve implemented this year and I’ll share those with you in another post but for now, let’s make some scones, yes? Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom scented scones, wrapped around chai-spiced chunks of apples; the kind of scones that taste like you’re eating the best fried apple fritter you’ve ever had – only these are a baked and tender and fluffy and not-to-sweet, kind of scone.
Perfect for weekends when a roaring fire, lounging and pajamas are mandatory – and of course, they pair well with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee or tea.
Make these – I promise they will chase away even the gloomiest of winter days.
P.S. In case you’ve counted, there are only seven scones in the lead photo . . . The Professor and I shared one. It’s okay . . . we burned 500 calories that day.
GLUTEN-FREE APPLE CHAI-SPICED SCONES
Makes 8 large scones
Inspired by Bake Magazine, Fall 2015
NOTE: It is important to work the dough as little as possible-work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. An equal amount of frozen fruit can be used in place of the dried apples. Scones can be cut/shaped and frozen on a parchment-lined sheet, then tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in zipped bags. To bake, remove plastic wrap, brush with cream, top with a sprinkle of raw sugar and bake on a parchment-lined sheet – add 5-10 minutes to the original baking time.
- 1 cup chopped dried apples (about 120 grams) chopped into 1/4” to 1/2” pieces
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 Chai teabag
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), frozen, grated and then kept frozen until ready to use
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 280 grams (2 cups) all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, plus additional for work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if already in the flour blend)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cream or egg wash for brushing tops
- 1 Tablespoon raw sugar for tops
- Place water, sugar into a medium saucepan; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add tea bag and chopped apples; bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered until apples have rehydrated and most of the liquid is gone – approximately 20-30 minutes
- Remove teabag and scoop out the apples onto a parchment-lined baking sheet; place in the freezer and cool completely. Apple pieces should be semi-frozen
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees
- Grate butter on large holes of box grater (8 tablespoons total) and place in the freezer until ready to use; keep apples in freezer until needed as well
- Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed
- Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger in medium bowl; add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until coated
- Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined (I save the little bit of the milk mixture left in the bottom of the bowl to brush the tops with – if you don’t have any leftover, you can brush with 2 Tablespoons whole milk, cream or egg wash)
- With rubber spatula, transfer dough to floured work surface; dust surface of dough with flour and knead dough 6 to 8 times until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking
- Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square; fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper to release dough if it sticks to work surface. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes
- Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle chopped apples evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using bench scraper, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet
- Brush tops with leftover cream/sour cream mixture (or 2 Tablespoons cream or egg wash) and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar (I use raw sugar for the tops); bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes
- Transfer scones to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving