Apricot Almond Scones

Apricot Almond Scones
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Almond apricot scones
Apricot almond scones rock!

We came up with the idea for these after making the Cherry Almond Brittle the other day. Sounds odd? Let us explain. When we bit into a piece of brittle, we noticed that the cherries had a slight taste of cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon. We didn’t put it there, but we could taste something like cinnamon, so we thought that cherries and cinnamon would go well together.

Now, at the same time, we had some heavy cream that needed to be used. Not a lot, but enough that we needed to figure out a use for it. So, we thought of scones. Well, cherry cinnamon scones, to be exact. How, exactly, then, did we end up with Apricot Almond Scones?

Simple: we didn’t have enough dried cherries in the house. But we did have dried apricots, and we thought that apricot and cinnamon would be improved if we left out the cinnamon and added almonds, instead. After all, they’re both drupes. See? Well, maybe you don’t see, but that’s okay, let’s scratch out some scones. Oh, and these are based on our Cranberry-Orange Scones, which are based on the Bouchon Cheddar Scones.

Apricot Almond Scones

Apricot Almond Scones

Ingredients

    For the apricots and almonds
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) water
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 50 g (scant 1/2 cup) almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 50 g (scant 1/2 cup cup) dried apricots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • For the scones
  • 107 g (3/4 cup + 1 tsp) all-purpose flour
  • 196 g (1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbs) cake flour
  • 8.1 g (1 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.6 g (3/8 tsp) baking soda
  • 27 g (2 Tbs + 3/4 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 3.6 g (1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 132 g (9 Tbs + 1 tsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 71 g (1/4 cup + 1 Tbs) heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 69 g (1/4 cup + 1 Tbs) crème fraîche or homemade sour cream
  • For the glaze
  • 100g (3/4 cup + 2 Tbs) Confectioners' sugar
  • 45 to 50 g (2 1/2 to 3 Tbs) Reserved syrup
  • 30 g (2 Tbs) heavy cream

Abbreviated Instructions

For the apricots and almonds

Place water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add almonds and extract. Bring to a simmer. Add apricots and return to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Place almonds, apricots, and syrup in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Drain thoroughly, reserving 1/4 cup liquid for the glaze.

For the scones

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add kosher salt and mix for about 15 seconds.

Add butter pieces and pulse to start combining, then mix on low until butter is completely incorporated, about 3 minutes. If there are visible butter pieces remaining, break them up and mix in with your fingers.

With mixer on low, slowly add cream and crème fraîche. Mix until all ingredients are moistened and dough forms around the paddle, about 30 seconds.

Add apricots and almonds and pulse until mixed.

Turn out dough onto a work surface, and, using the heel of your hand and a dough scraper, press the dough together to form a 7x9-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Cut dough lengthwise to form two 9x3 1/2 inch strips, then cut each strip into 6 bars, each 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches in size. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

(Once frozen, the scones can be placed in a plastic bag and kept frozen for up to a month.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Arrange frozen scones on baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between them.

Bake 33 to 36 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through, or until scones are golden brown.

For the glaze

While the scones bake, whisk together powdered sugar and 45 g (2 1/2 Tbs) reserved syrup in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in cream, adding more syrup if needed to maintain a glaze-like consistency.

Brush glaze on scones immediately after removing from the oven.

Let scones cool on the baking sheet before serving.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2016/03/apricot-almond-scones/

Ingredient discussion:

Don’t let the long list of ingredients and specific measurements prevent you from making these scones. If you have a scale, it’ll be easy. If you use measuring cups, it’ll be a bit harder, but still doable, so go for it. No crème fraîche? Well, until we learned how easy it is to make, we wouldn’t have had any, either. In that case, just replace with more heavy cream.

Procedure in detail:

For the almonds and apricots:
adding apricots
We didn’t really want to cook the apricots, just give them a chance to hydrate a bit.

Make simple syrup. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped almonds and almond extract. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the apricot pieces. Bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Cover and steep. Transfer the almonds, apricots, and syrup to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

straining almonds and apricots
We should have just used a colander; this small strainer took a while.

Drain. The next day, strain off about 1/4 cup of syrup and reserve for making the glaze. Drain the almond and apricot mixture thoroughly, about an hour.

For the scones:
measuring flour
As we got used to using a scale, measuring became easier;  now we just scoop out the amount of each ingredient and done.

Sift dry ingredients. Okay, we know you don’t want to break out the sifter; it always seems like just one more thing to do. And, we agree, but we break out the sifter for cake flour. It’s lumpy. Just place your sifter in the bowl of a stand mixer, measure the ingredients right into the sifter, and crank away.

Add salt and mix. Toss the teaspoon of kosher salt onto the flour mixture — kosher salt crystals are too large to fit through the sifter screen — onto the flour and attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low and mix for about 15 to 20 seconds to incorporate the salt.

mixing scones
Start by pulsing until the butter is partly cut in, then just mix until it’s completely cut in, 3 minutes.

Add butter and mix. Turn off the mixer, add the butter pieces, and pulse the mixer to get everything started without flinging flour all over the place. Once it’s started, let the mixer run on low, gradually cutting in the flour, until the mixture looks like a coarse cornmeal, about 3 minutes. If there are any lumps of butter left, break them apart with your fingers.

adding cream
Pour in the heavy cream mixture while the mixer is running. It’ll soon form a dough.
scone dough
The dough will clump around the paddle; it’ll be a bit tacky, but not sticky.

Add cream and mix. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the heavy cream and crème fraîche. As part of our prep work, we just mix these two together in a small measuring cup. Keep  mixing until the dough comes together and forms around the paddle, about a minute.

adding apricots and almonds
A few pulses of the mixer and everything will be mixed in nicely.

Add almonds and apricots and mix. Scrape the almond and apricot mixture onto the dough, then pulse the mixture a good 15 to 20 times, or enough to mix them in fairly uniformly. Don’t mix so long as to break up the apricots, though.

shaping scone dough
The dough is a bit sticky, so a dough scraper (or spatula) will help release it from the work surface.

Shape dough. Turn the dough onto a work surface, and, using your hands and a dough scraper, form the dough into a block about 7×9 inches. The dough might be a bit sticky at this point, but don’t be tempted to add more flour.

Chill dough. Use your dough scraper to lift the dough and place it on a piece of plastic. Wrap tightly, then place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The chilling will make it less sticky, and easier to work.

cutting scones
Once chilled, cut the scones into 12 rectangles.

Cut into scones. If you’re making large scones, cut the dough block in half lengthwise, then cut each rectangle into 6 pieces, making 12 long rectangles. If you want bite-sized pieces, cut each of the rectangles in half, making 24 scones. Place everything on a baking sheet, again wrapping the scones in plastic.

Freeze. Set the scones in the freezer for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. The next day you can transfer them to a freezer bag for up to a month.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment.

Bake.  Place the frozen scones on the baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them. Bake for about 33 to 36 minutes for the large scones, slightly less for the bite-sized scones, or until golden brown.

For the glaze:
measuring sugar and syrup
This will make more than enough glaze for your scones. You may even want to consider making a half batch.
adding cream
We only had a touch of cream left, so we hoped it would be enough.

Mix. While the scones are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and 45 g (2 1/2 Tbs) of the reserved syrup. While whisking, slowly add cream. If needed, add more syrup to keep a glaze-like consistency.

adding glaze
Add the glaze right after the scones come out of the oven.

Glaze. As soon as the scones are removed from the oven, apply glaze with a pastry brush and let cool completely before serving.

Mmm. Scones fresh from the oven. You know, we never can wait until they’re completely cooled; they’re just too good. As with many of the other flavored scones we’ve made, you can keep the frozen scones for about a month, baking a couple here and there as you get the urge. An easy five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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