Not Just Any Old Scones

ImageThere is something indulgent about starting the day with a cup of rich dark coffee, (no cream or sugar, thank you), and a big, warm, moist scone that is loaded with dried apricots and a generous amount of big chunks of nuts and maybe, sometimes, still-soft morsels of dark chocolate that melt on the tongue with each bite.

But, the coffee must be aromatic and wonderful. These days, my morning coffee is French press. And the scone, well, it can’t be just any old scone.

The scones I eat must be my own homemade variety. Yes, they are full of fat. That’s why they are pure indulgence. And, that’s why I make them only as a special treat once in a while. But, it is the fat that makes them so moist and flavorful.

The cool mornings we experienced last week gave warning that fall is in the air and much colder days are ahead. I was in desperate need of one of my scones.

These rich scones don’t take long at all to mix up. Because I’ve been on a crystallized ginger kick, I chopped up some of the spicy-sweet ginger and stirred it into the dough. Dried apricots are my favorite fruit to add, but any variety of dried fruit can be used. I always add big pieces of walnuts or pecans, but this time, I used up the last of the roasted and sea-salted mix of almonds, cashews and macadamias, the same nuts I used in the cookies that I shared in my previous post. Those nuts just may have put these scones right over the top.

I use a 1/2-cup measure of dough for each scone, forming 8 large scones that look like the big drop biscuits my Auntie Vera in Indiana used to make for strawberry shortcake. I love the homey look of dropped scones. The uniformly-shaped wedges and rounds are not necessary for my morning luxury.

The scones are most delicious when still warm from the oven. I have stored some in the freezer to enjoy another time. I allow them to thaw at room temperature and then heat them in the oven for a few minutes before eating.

The addition of crystallized ginger will not be something I stir into the dough every time I make these scones, but they were a bright change from the norm. If you prefer, you can leave out the ginger.

You really must make these scones and taste for yourself. They are out of this world. Really. Pure indulgence anytime of day.

Nutty Apricot Ginger Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup dried apricots, cut into large chunks
1 cup nuts of choice, chopped coarsely
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pulse flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl of food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, stir the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Lay the chunks of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until mixture looks like coarse meal. Alternatively, use two table knives or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the dry ingredients.

Add chopped ginger and pulse once for just a second or two.

Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in dry ingredients. When dry ingredients have almost disappeared, add the nuts and apricots and stir to mix in. Add whipping cream and half-and-half and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Using a 1/2-cup measure, fill with scone dough and drop onto prepared baking sheets, forming 8 scones, 4 on each baking sheet.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over tops of scones.

Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm. Makes 8 large scones.

Tip from the cook

It is best to use soft, moist dried apricots in these scones.


Sue Doeden is a popular cooking instructor, food writer and integrative nutrition health coach. She is the host of Good Food, Good Life 365 on Lakeland Public Television. Her own hives full of hardworking bees and her love of honey led to the creation of her recently published cookbook, Homemade with Honey.