This apple scones recipe uses shredded apples to give a light sweet apple-y flavor to traditional homemade scones. These buttery scones make for a perfect special treat on a fall morning.
A Short History of Scones and Apples
England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales all claim to have invented the scone. The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the first written mention of a scone occurs in a poem published in Scotland in 1513. Not to be outdone, the Republic of Ireland selected the scone as its national treat for the European Union’s Cafe Europe program in 2006 (England selected shortbread).
Early scone recipes would have been considerably heavier than their modern counterparts. They were made with oats, without the benefit of baking powder, and cooked over an open flame. In the 1840s, Anna, Duchess of Bedford, a close friend of Queen Victoria’s, popularized the association between scones and afternoon tea. Scones migrated to America in the late 20th century. This may have been at the instigation of major coffee shop chains like Starbuck’s who were looking to upsell their coffee-drinking customers with a sweet treat, scones migrated to America. In the United States, scones are typically butterier and sweeter, requiring no additional toppings. We like the pairing of scones with apple flavor, since there is a rich heritage of apple cultivation in Great Britain and Ireland.
Looking for more scone ideas? Look no further!
Useful Tools for Making this Apple Scones Recipe
Apple Scones Recipe
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- silicone baking mat
- pastry cutter
- pastry brush
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded fresh apples a mix of sweet and tart apple, for example envy and granny smith apples are nice here, but you can use whatever you have handy
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
- 1 tbsp coarse sugar or sanding sugar to decorate
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk at room temperature
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar) into a large mixing bowl. Stir together.
- Cut cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Use a pastry cutter to cut the cold cubed butter into the flour mixture. Cut until butter pieces are no larger than the size of small peas. Don’t overdo it. You want to leave some small chunks of butter. The steam created by the melting butter chunks will create the flaky layers in your scone. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two sharp knives, or pulse carefully in the food processor.
- Add wet ingredients (milk and grated apples) to the flour-butter mixture and stir gently with a fork to combine. You should have a sticky, shaggy dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead 3-4 times.
- Divide dough into two balls. Flatten each ball into a circle, roughly six inches in diameter.
- Place the circles of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut each circle into six pieces.
- Place scones in refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
- While the scones chill, combine the egg yolk and heavy cream in a small bowl to make the egg wash. Remove scones from refrigerator and use a pastry brush to gently brush tops of the scones with egg wash.
- Sprinkle tops of scones with sanding sugar.
- Place scones in hot oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy the smell of apples and warm spices wafting from your oven.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to fully cool.
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