These Spiced Apple Scones are flavored with apple pie spice and dried apples. They are tender, moist and never cakey! I’ve topped them with cinnamon sugar but they would also be phenomenal with a cream cheese glaze or cinnamon glaze.
I love the flavor of apple scones but hate those gummy patches around the apples. I fixed that gummy texture by using chopped dried apples in these easy spiced apple scones. These scones have my signature tender, moist, perfectly dense scone texture like these Cinnamon Swirl Scones, my chocolate chip scones or classic blueberry scones.
I got my scone education living in Hong Kong when it was still a British colony, so I have adapted the British criteria for scones. They must be tender, moist and never cakey. They are a little denser than American scones. I also adhere to the British method of serving scones: slathered in butter or clotted cream and jam. Perhaps it would be wise to also make a batch of my quick Strawberry Jam with late-season strawberries. My inner pastry chef voice wants to break with tradition and serve these with a dollop of my apple butter or slathered with maple butter. That sounds like the perfect spiced apple scone experience!
Table of Contents
What makes tender, moist Spiced Apple Scones?
Cutting cold, cubed butter completely into the dry ingredients will cut the gluten strands and limit their ability to create a strong network. A strong gluten network will make a tough scone. I mix all the wet ingredients before adding it to the dough. This allows for a quick incorporation and will make tender spiced apple scones. I also finish mixing with a delicate hand.
How to know when my spiced apple scones are done?
Scones are done when the fattest part provides some resistance when touched lightly. If they feel firm, then they are overdone. You can also use a cake tester when baking your spiced apple scones and it should come out clean.
Why are my scones dry?
The most common reason scones are dry is because they are overbaked. Scones can also be dry because there isn’t enough fat in the dough or it wasn’t cut into the flour enough.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour has just the right amount of gluten to make a tender scone that is not tough. You could also use pastry flour for extra cheap insurance.
- Sugar: I use granulated sugar in these spiced apple scones. It is here for the more obvious flavor reasons, but also to retain moisture, improve texture and stability.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is lass salty than table salt and a teaspoon weighs less than other finer ground varieties. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your pastries for tasting dull or flat.
- Baking Powder: Double acting baking powder reacts instantly when mixed with an acid and then again when heated. Because it is double acting, it has a slower, more stable rise than baking soda alone. This will also allow you to make the scones ahead and freeze.
- Apple Pie Spice Mix: My recipe for Homemade Apple Pie Spice Mix only has three ingredients but packs all the flavor! My personal secret ratio.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Butter is integral because it shortens the gluten strands as it coats them during the mixing process. This keeps them from forming a strong network.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla Extract adds a beautiful flavor itself but it also boosts the flavor of other ingredients around it like apples and apple pie spices.
- Whole Egg: The eggs are here to add fat, moisture and leavening. The fat from the yolk adds richness and helps keep the scones moist. Eggs are one of the primary liquid ingredients, which help hold the scones together without developing too much gluten in the flour.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream adds just enough liquid to make a moist, tender scone. It also comes with fat to add to the flavor and texture.
- Dried Apples: Dried apples bring the apple flavor to these scones without making the scones gummy. Choose ones that look plump and not overly dried.
- Cinnamon: I use Saigon cinnamon but any cinnamon will do.
Variations and Substitutions for Spiced Apple Scones
- Dried Fruit: You could substitute any dried fruit your heart desires in place of the apples! Or you could add another fruit that complements, like dried pears.
- Spices: I am using my apple pie spice mix here but you could use 2 teaspoons of cinnamon instead.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is a miracle ingredient. Together with the eggs, it provides all the moisture needed to make the scone dough. It adds fat which helps make the scones tender and keeps them moist. You can substitute half and half but not milk without serious textural repercussions.
- Fresh Apples: You could use diced fresh apples but the moisture will make little gummy pockets in your scones. You could also fold in cinnamon apple compote for extra flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store baked scones in an air-tight container at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Zip-top plastic bags also work nicely.
Scones are best the day they are baked, so I prefer to freeze the cut dough and bake them as they are needed. Alternately scones will keep 3 days at room temperature, 7 days in the refrigerator or 3 months pre-baked and frozen.
You can freeze baked or unbaked scones. I prefer to freeze the cut dough and bake as needed, so that I can always have a fresh scone on hand!
Yes! Preheat the oven to 325°F convection or 350°F regular. Place desired number of scones on baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar (it may fall off because the heavy cream will freeze on top of the scone). Bake in preheated oven 22-25 minutes or until the centers provide a little resistance when touched. Bake time will depend on the thickness of the scone and the size.
I have tested this scone recipe in a professional commercial bakery setting. I have made this base scone recipe in an 80-quart mixer to great success. You are only limited by the capacity of your particular mixer.
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
The trick to keeping your scone texture perfect is being gentle with the gluten. You don't want to overwork the batter! This is why I cut cold butter in, mix wet ingredients on their own, and finish mixing by hand. Delicate scones here we come!
Spiced Apple Scones
- 4 ⅓ cups All-purpose flour
- ¾ cups Sugar
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tablespoon Apple Pie Spice Mix (You can use 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or make homemade apple pie spice mix)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- 13 tablespoons Butter (cold, cubed)
- ½ tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 3 Eggs
- ¾ cup Heavy Cream
- 1 cup Dried apples (chopped)
- Heavy Cream (for topping)
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F convection or 350°F regular.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, salt, spices, and baking powder. Mix with paddle (by hand) just to distribute ingredients. Add butter and mix on low to cut in the butter until the butter is no longer visible and it resembles wet sand.
- While this is mixing combine the vanilla, eggs and cream in another bowl with an immersion blender or whisk and blend until smooth.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly pour in the cream mixture and mix until almost incorporated.
- Dump out mixture on a dry surface and knead dough together (gently, with love!). Add the dried apples once no visible dry spots remain and gently fold them in.
- Place dough on plastic wrap and press out to about a half inch thick. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut out scones with a ring or biscuit cutter, or slice into triangles.
- Place triangles onto parchment lined baking sheet. Work quickly to keep dough cold. If it warms up too much, refrigerate 30 minutes before baking.
- Brush scones with heavy cream. Mix remaining cinnamon and sugar, sprinkle scones with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.
- Cool completely on baking sheets.
Let’s get into it like a PROFESSIONAL CHEF:Presentation- Get a beautiful finish to your scones by brushing them with heavy cream and sprinkling with cinnamon sugar just prior to baking. Flavor Tips - Avoid gummy pockets in your scones by choosing dried apples that look plump but not overly dried. Technique - Cutting cold, cubed butter completely into the dry ingredients will cut the gluten strands and limit their ability to create a strong network. A strong gluten network will make a tough scone. I mix all the wet ingredients before adding it to the dough. This allows for a quick incorporation and will make tender spiced apple scones. I also finish mixing with a delicate hand. Helpful Tools - I like to use an immersion blender to mix my wet ingredients to be sure they are thoroughly incorporated before I add them to my flour mixture–this keeps me from needing to overwork the gluten in my flour. However, you could get by without a blender if you incorporate well without one. Variations - You could make these exact scones with a different dried fruit that you enjoy with cinnamon. You can also play with different spice combinations, such as 2 teaspoons of cinnamon instead of my apple pie spice mix. Storage - Store baked scones in an air-tight container at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. Zip-top plastic bags also work nicely. Scones are best the day they are baked, so I prefer to freeze the cut dough and bake them as they are needed. Alternately scones will keep 3 days at room temperature, 7 days in the refrigerator or 3 months pre-baked and frozen.
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