18.11.14

Whole Grain Apple Scones with Caramel Sauce



One of the most fun (and surprising) benefits of blogging has been being part of a virtual community of people that really love food.

I still remember the first time someone I didn't actually know commented on my blog, and the first time one of my favorite bloggers commented.   I was elated!


Now that I've been blogging for a while, I've gotten to witness the ways bloggers support and encourage each other, and it's AWESOME. One ways bloggers do this is by throwing a virtual baby-shower for expecting blogger friends. The first time I saw one of these I was confused. Does the person actually get the treats? Well, no. But they do get lots of support, and exposure, and delicious recipes tailored just for them. 

I was so excited to be asked to make a recipe for a virtual baby shower for Chelsea of This Grand Adventure.  

I've been following Chelsea for about a year now and totally admiring her gender neutral nursery inspiration and cute bumpdates. 


In her last bumpdate, Chelsea shared that she currently can't get enough breakfast food, so I thought these apple cinnamon scones would be perfect. 

I LOVE the fresh apple in these scones. At first I wondered if I should pre-cook the apple before adding it to the dough, but I'm so glad I didn't. The apple chunks reduce as you bake the scones, leaving these craggy air pockets that are soooo good…. 


especially when filled with a little homemade caramel sauce.


ok, fine, a LOT of homemade caramel sauce.


Caramel sauce was once my nemesis. My efforts always involved multiple attempts and lots of burnt sugar in the trash. I was convinced I would never master it.

But then last week I listed to the spilled milk podcast episode about caramel. I decided I would make one last attempt. 

On the podcast, Matthew and Molly share a recipe for dry caramel, which was something I had never tried before. Apparently most pastry chefs make dry caramel, but for some reason most at-home cooks are instructed to make wet caramel. Wet caramel is sugar and water, but dry caramel is just sugar. The wet caramel requires brushing the sides of the pan with water, and a little stirring until the caramel is just the right color. For dry caramel, you just dump the sugar in a pan over medium heat and don't stir it until about half of the sugar is melted.  This takes a little bit of time. (maybe 10 minutes?) Then you stir stir stir until it's dark amber in color and gradually add in the heavy cream. 


I can't make any promises about your efforts with this dry caramel either. It's still an art (or a science, depending on how you look at it) but it is SO worth it. We've loved drizzling this caramel sauce over scones and vanilla ice cream, or just eating it by spoon straight from the jar!

Chelsea, I hope someone makes these scones and this caramel sauce for you, and I wish the best for you and baby D!


Check out the other fun recipes and projects for Chelsea's virtual baby shower: 

Art of Natural living-Baby Shower Washcloth Bunny Favors
The Speckled Palate-Indoor Smores
The Frosted Vegan-Maple Apple Cider Caramels
Karis' Kitchen-Thumbprint Cookies


Whole Grain Apple Scones:


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of allspice
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup chopped fresh apple (about half a medium apple)
1/4 cup milk or cream (optional--for brushing the tops of the scones before baking)

Directions:

Whisk together flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Add cold butter to the bowl.  Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut butter into flour mixture until butter is incorporated and in the shape of small peas.

In a small bowl, add eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Beat with a fork to combine, then add to flour mixture. Add chopped apple. Stir until just combined and no flour remains in the bottom of the bowl.

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper or spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Grab about half of the dough and use your fingers to flatten out into a 5 inch circle. Once it's on the pan, use your hand to smooth the edges. There will be pieces of apple sticking out! Just push those in. The dough should be about 3/4 inch thick.

Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cut each disc in half down the middle. Then cut each half into thirds. (6 triangular slices total) Pull the slices away from each other, leaving about 1/2 inch in between.

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each scone with milk or cream. (You could also sprinkle the scones with extra cinnamon or coarse sugar at this stage.  I decided not to since I was making caramel sauce.)

Highly recommended--Place the whole cookie sheet and scones in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. This chills the butter and ensures flakey, yummy scones.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425. Bake scones for 18-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Scone recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Homemade Caramel Sauce: 


Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Optional:
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon (or a sliver) of butter

Directions:
Place a small saucepan* over medium high heat. Add sugar.

Meanwhile, add the cream to another small saucepan and place over medium heat. Once cream begins to bubble, cover and remove from heat.

Now be patient and watch your sugar carefully. After about 5 minutes, it will start to melt around the edges. Keep watching. Depending on your pan/stove, the sugar may continue melting around the edges, or it may melt from underneath.  When it seems like about half the sugar has melted, begin stirring vigorously. (use a wooden spoon or a whisk)

(This is a tricky stage.  If you take the caramel off the heat too quickly, it won't have the luscious caramel flavor, but it you over cook it, it will taste burnt.) Continue stirring and watch as the sugar begins to change color.  You can use a spoon to remove a bit of the caramel and put it on a white plate to test the color. It will start out a pale yellow color and gradually get darker and darker. You're looking for a deep amber color. Once it has reached this color, it's time for the cream!

Gradually begin streaming in the cream. Stir stir stir! Once all the cream is incorporated and most of lumps are gone, turn off the heat. There may be little bits of hard sugar at the bottom--that's ok! Pour the caramel through a fine strainer if you have one. If desired, add pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla, and a sliver of butter.

Use immediately (would be ideal for ice cream!) or let cool and then refrigerate in a glass jar or container. For the scones, we preferred letting the caramel cool or refrigerating it overnight. It will be lovely and thick and drizzly the next day!

*The original recipe said not to use a non-stick pan, but that is all I have, and mine worked out ok!

Caramel Sauce adapted from Matthew Amster-Burton

7 comments:

  1. I think my comment didn't go through! sorry about that! these look so amazing and I'm so nervous to try making scones so I'm saving this recipe to try it out for my first time :) So fun doing the shower with you and I have that mug lol (with an L) :)

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  2. Oh my goodness...I'd love to have these for breakfast ANY day! That caramel sauce looks to die for! And I still get so excited about comments and interacting with bloggers (like you) through the wonderful online world! Thank you so much for participating! And I'm totally drooling over the gorgeous photos!

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  3. These scones are absolutely GORGEOUS, and I love the addition of the caramel sauce. I actually tried to make a dry caramel a few months back... and it was more successful than my various failed attempts at wet caramel. (I apparently can't be trusted to keep an eye on caramel on the stovetop, go figure.)

    This is a lovely addition to the baby shower... and it's nice to "meet" you!

    www.thespeckledpalate.com

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  4. These look SO SO good! I love the caramel sauce. I agree about the awesomeness of the food blogger community! These are such a nice addition to a virtual baby shower!

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  5. How thoughtful of you to make something that Chelsea has been craving! Scones are always wonderful in the first place--I can't even imagine how delicious they must be with caramel!

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  6. I'm not brave enough to attempt carmel but this tip sounds easy enough! I will most definitely have to make it to go on these scones, love the apple!! oxoxo

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  7. Awww how fun! The best part of blogging is definitely the people who come into your life because of it. These scones look awesome. Might have to make them for holiday breakfast treats!

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