Flakey Apple Pecan Scones are a perfect fall breakfast treat. They also pair beautifully with your favorite tea or a hot cup of coffee.
Juicy bits of apple and crunchy pecans dot these flakey scones.
A thin drizzle of easy sweet vanilla glaze tops these delicious scones.
I spent most of my life never having tried a scone. Now that I have I just can't get enough. Try one of my other scone recipes: Ham and Cheese Sourdough Scones or Brown Butter Pecan Scones.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Bursting with cinnamon apple flavor these scones are the perfect fall treat.
- With crispy edges and a soft tender center, these scones are filled with the best fall flavors and are made with pantry staples.
- These scones are so easy to mix together. You don't need a mixer just a bowl and minimal arm power.
Most of the ingredients in this are pretty standard for scones: flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, kosher salt, butter, and heavy cream.
Apple Pecan Scones
Flour: Nothing special here regular all-purpose flour will work perfectly.
Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a delicious caramel flavor along with sweetening the scones.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both baking powder and baking soda give the scones lift making them light and flakey rather than thick and dense.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my dessert recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Unsalted Butter: For flaky scones, you will want to make sure the butter is chilled. Keeping the scone dough as cold as possible prevents over-spreading and preserves the scone's flakiness.
Heavy Cream: The amount of cream will vary based on how liquid or thick your sourdough starter is. Drizzle in just enough cream until the dough becomes cohesive.
Egg: The addition of an egg is nontraditional. But I think it adds richness and creates a lighter less dense scone. The additional fat will also help stop the scones from drying out.
White Vinegar: Vinegar reacts with the baking soda giving the scones an extra bit of lift.
Apples: When baking with apples you want to look for apples that will hold their shape and not turn to mush when they are baked. Granny Smith apples are typically the go-to apple when baking but they are not your only option.
My personal favorite is the Honey Crisp apple. It is my favorite apple to eat, which means I always have them on hand. Their not-too-sweet crisp texture also holds up well when baked.
Looking for another delicious fall apple dessert? Try this homemade apple bundt cake.
Pecans: Feel free to substitute your favorite nut. I think walnuts make a perfect substitution.
Milk: Make sure to add the milk slowly. Adding just enough to make the glaze the consistency you want.
Kitchen scale: Kitchen scales make baking faster and neater. Accuracy matters in baking. Scales are more precise than measuring cups. Too much flour or not enough sugar can dramatically change a recipe. The most accurate way to bake is to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume.
A kitchen scale also reduces the number of dishes you will need to wash because you are measuring each ingredient directly from the container into the mixing bowl without the use of measuring cups.
This scale from OXO is the one I use after it was recommended by Alton Brown. What makes this scale great is the display pulls out to make viewing measurements easier when using a large bowl.
You could cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, but I prefer to use a food processor. It is much faster and creates a finer more even mixture. Just be careful to not overwork the dough.
Mixing Bowls: These are some of my favorite mixing bowls. They come in a huge range of sizes, nest together for easy storage, and are easy to clean.
You could shape the dough into one round blob and cut it into triangles like a pie, but I prefer to cut it with a circle biscuit cutter or this fluted circle cutter when I am feeling fancy.
When baking items like scones or cookies, I love these AirBake baking sheets. My cookies and scones bake evenly every time I use these pans. AirBake baking sheets have two aluminum layers with a layer of air in between them. The layer of air decreases the temperature of the top layer of metal, preventing the bottom of the cookie or scone from browning too quickly. These pans are also really easy to clean. Just wipe them clean with a little soap and hot water. It is not recommended to fully submerge these pans in water or place them in a dishwasher.
Pastry Brush: I am partial to silicone pastry brushes because they are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. I like them over bristled brushes because I don't have to worry about them leaving stray bristles behind.
Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, kosher salt, and baking soda to the bowl of your food processor.
Cut in the cold butter. Cut the butter into 4 pieces and added it to the food processor. Pulse a few times to chop and incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue processing until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the mix-ins. Fold the apples and pecans into the dry ingredients.
Add the egg, vanilla extract, and vinegar to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Slowly stir in the heavy cream as you stir the dough together. The amount of cream will vary based on how liquid or thick your sourdough starter is. Drizzle in just enough cream until the dough becomes cohesive.
Knead and shape the dough. Pour the dough onto the counter and lightly flour it. Knead the dough a few times until it begins to come together and smoothes out a bit.
Flatten the dough and fold it into thirds like you would a letter. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat this flattening and folding process two more times.
By folding the dough you will literally be creating layers of flour and butter, creating flakey layers, and encouraging the scones to rise. The dough will be a bit sticky, do not add extra flour. The moist dough gives the scones a soft texture and helps them to rise.
Pat into a disc approximately 1 inch thick and cut into circles using a 2.5″ cutter. You can reshape the scraps and cut out additional scones but they won't be as flaky.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. To prevent the scones from spreading chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Brush tops with heavy cream. Brushing with heavy creams will encourage browning.
Bake until golden brown. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Make the vanilla glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt together. Add the milk gradually, adding just enough until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over each scone.
Scones are best the day they are baked.
Leftover scones can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to four days.
To freeze baked scones, let them cool completely and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag labeled with the date and contents. Freeze scones for up to 3 months.
Thaw on the counter for a few hours, and then warm in the oven to get the best texture.
To freeze unbaked scones, cut the scones out and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze them until solid and then transfer them to a zip-top bag labeled with the date and contents. Scones can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To bake frozen scones, bake the scones directly from frozen adding an extra 2-3 minutes of baking time.
- A food processor makes blending the butter into the dry ingredients a million times easier. And allows you to work with colder butter without hurting your hands. Try putting the butter in the freezer for an hour before blending it into the dry ingredients. The texture of your scones will be even better.
Bonus Tip: I store extra butter in the freezer at all times. Which means I always have frozen butter ready to be used in scones or pie crusts. Butter can be frozen for up to six months.
- If you don't have a food processor, use a box grater to create small strips of butter that will be easier to cut into the flour with a pastry blender.
- If you don’t have any sourdough discard, you can substitute ½ cup of heavy cream and a ½ cup of all-purpose flour for the 1 cup of sourdough discard.
- If you don't have heavy cream, you can substitute milk or half and half.
- Don’t overwork the dough. Overworking the dough creates gluten which will result in chewy rather than flaky scones.
- Don't use a rolling pin. Pat the dough out with your hands to avoid overworking the dough.
- When cutting the scones, push straight down without twisting the cutter. Twisting the cutter seals the edges together and will prevent them from rising,
- To help scones keep their shape, chill them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake scones on parchment paper or a silicone mat to avoid overcooked bottoms.
- Baking times will vary depending on your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
- If the bottoms of the scones are browning too quickly slide a second baking sheet directly under.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether or not you peel the apples is down to personal preference. Once cooked I don't mind the apple peel. It softens as it bakes and is not noticeable to me. I also appreciate the extra fiber it adds to the scones making them "healthier."
There are a few reasons why your scones may not have risen.
Check your baking powder. For maximum efficacy, the baking powder should be used within six months of opening. To test your baking powder, drop a small amount into hot water. Look for bubbles and fizzing. If a reaction occurs it's still good to use.
Kneading the dough for too long will make them tough, dense, and shorter.
Using too much flour will make the dough too stiff to rise to its full potential. I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume. Accuracy matters particularly when baking.
Yes, scones can be in advance and frozen either before or after baking. See below for additional instructions on how to make and save scones made in advance.
When scones are fully baked they are golden brown and flakey. The interior shouldn't be doughy or wet. When fully baked scones will have an internal temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
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