It takes 15 minutes to prepare them, 15 to bake them, and less than 2 seconds to devour them. Why? Because even though I’ve had many scones in my day, these crumbly, ultra-buttery apple cranberry scones top them all.
Light, flaky (exactly how a scone should be) with hints of crispy crust and tender center is not why you’ll love them. It’s because they are applelicious. I don’t care if that’s not even an actual word, but it describes the scones to the T.
With every bite, you feel the juiciness of apples, and it’s not like you’re chewing a mouthful of the fruit. It’s just the apple essence that comes through. Paired with cinnamon, tart cranberries, and the maple glaze, the scones have a well-rounded flavor profile.
How to make apple cranberry scones?
Whisk amaranth flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl till you have no lumps.
I tend to make stealthy healthy choices in my bakes. Hence the whole wheat and amaranth flour. And no, whole wheat doesn’t give the scones a dense or coarse texture, as was evident when I made whole wheat strawberry orange scones. It worked beautifully here too, but you can choose to use all-purpose flour.
Next, using your fingertips, rub cubes of chilled butter in the dry ingredients. You can always use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, but for me, fingers give the best returns.
Work quickly so that the butter doesn’t melt. Why is that important? Because you want little pockets of butter in the scone dough. These pockets melt as the scones bake, creating openings, which makes the scone gorgeously cottony soft.
You’ll have a coarse meal-like mixture by now. Add milk to it. I used full fat coconut milk because I had some left in a can at home, but any would do. Or even some cream.
Add one finely chopped apple, some cranberries, and a fistful of walnuts to this mixture. I recommend getting your hands in there. They are the most reliable tools you have to create an excellent scone dough.
Baking the scones
Flour your prep area well and pat the dough on it to make a rough circle. Mine was about an inch thick and 8-inch in diameter. Cut the scones in the shape you prefer. Brush some coconut milk (or regular cream) on top.
Cap it all with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. I was given a jar of it, but you can make your own by combining granulated sugar with cinnamon powder.
Bake and then serve the apple cranberry scones while they are still warm. The flavor of the buttery and tender scones is so perfect that you don’t need to garnish them. Have at them as-is!
Garnishing the apple cranberry scones
Or you can make a thick maple glaze as I did and drizzle it on top using a piping bag. In case you decide to stick with maple glaze, please make sure it is real maple. Else you will not get the right flavor.
Can’t get your hand on good maple syrup? Use a plain glaze made with icing sugar & milk or a coffee glaze. You can find the recipe for the latter in my cinnamon chocolate chip scones.
I was a bit apprehensive about the glaze because we don’t prefer our scones to be sugary, and they already had a certain amount of natural sweetness from apples. I felt the maple glaze might tip them to the ‘too sweet’ side.
But since I used palm sugar that I got from an organic store and that too not much of it, the light trickle of glaze was just enough to satisfy our craving for ‘something sweet.’
You can, of course, drown them in maple glaze if you prefer sweeter scones.
Tricks to making a great scone
A great scone doesn’t have a bread-like texture. It has a ‘short’ crumbly texture that falls apart easily when you bite into it. Two things will make your scone hard and bread-y:
- Too much water or moisture
- Over-zealous mixing or kneading
So, the first trick to making a great scone is not to be tempted to add more liquid. The ingredients should be just well moistened. Don’t worry; they will come together without effort.
The juices from the apple help bind the dough exceptionally. That’s why you can’t skimp on the fruit and need to dice it as finely as possible. It’ll release the moisture from the flesh.
The second trick is to never overmix or knead. Kneading develops the gluten network, which you do not want. When you’re adding the apples and cranberries, gently fold them in using your hands.
Variations of apple cranberry scones
For gluten-free scones, use buckwheat flour as I did for my lavender buckwheat jam scones and lemon buckwheat scones. Or a combination of buckwheat and amaranth flour. Take a look at my strawberry & rosemary scones for the exact recipe.
For vegan apple cranberry scones, use a plant-based butter. You can even add coconut oil as long as it is chilled and solid. I made use of it for blueberry coconut scones, and they turned out to be delicious.
It is alright to switch the palm sugar with raw sugar or even regular white sugar. Instead of milk, try regular cream or coconut cream. If you do so, as I did for my banana bread scones, make sure the cream is chilled.
Cranberries can be substituted with raisins or dates, or you can leave them out. Any nuts would pair well with the apple cranberry scones. You can even give almonds a whirl.
Apple Cranberry Scones
- 1.5 cups/ 190 gms Wholewheat flour
- 1/2 cup/ 60 gms Amaranth flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt Use salt if your butter is unsalted or if you're using coconut oil. Omit if using salted butter
- 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1/3 cup / 60 gms Palm sugar You can use any sugar of your choice
- 1/2 cup / 115 gms Butter, chilled, cut into small cubes You can also use chilled coconut oil.
- 1/3 cup / 75 ml Coconut milk, full fat You can use coconut or regular cream as well
- 1 large Apple, peeled and finely diced
- 2-3 tbsp Dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp Walnuts, finely chopped
- 1-2 tsp Cinnamon sugar, for topping Optional
- 2 tbsp Maple syrup
- 4-5 tbsp Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Coconut oil You can use melted butter
- Preheat your oven to 200 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper or Silpat.
- In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients - wholewheat flour, amaranth flour, cinnamon powder, baking powder, palm sugar, and salt ( if using unsalted butter/coconut oil).
- Rub in the chilled cubed butter, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, until the mixture forms large coarse crumbs.
- Pour over the coconut milk and mix with a fork until the dry ingredients are just moistened. If the mixture seems too dry, add in a bit more milk.
- Add in the apples, cranberries, and walnuts.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and press together gently till it forms a ball.
- Press into an 8" circle and cut into 8 triangles. Gently place on the prepared tray. Brush lightly with coconut milk/cream. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top, if you like.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Drizzle over the glaze, if using. Let it set for 5- 6 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until thick and smooth.