Sunday, December 4, 2011

Just Because

My favorite days to bake are just because days.

I had one of those three days ago. It all started after I returned to the house after a trip to Carrefour.

Oh, Carrefour. Quick aside. Even if I have thusfar survived the almost-one-way-but-not-quite streets of Southern France, my life will still almost assuredly come to an early end somewhere along the jam-packed aisles of Carrefour. Being impaled by a French baguette during a struggle for the pain-du-jour or run clean over by a herd of French people driving grocery carts like they’re on the freeway are equally likely scenarios.

It’s just SO CRAZY. People pushing and shoving, grabbing things, ramming their carts into your back (excusez-moi) and then glaring at you like it’s your fault. I literally think I will kiss the ground the second my ballet flats hit the Target parking lot in the Motherland (that’s Texas, for all you who didn’t know).

But anyways. As I was putting my hard-won groceries away upon my return to the maison, I noticed that we had 4 granny smith apples starting to sour in the bottom of the produce drawer.

Personally, I am not a big fan of granny smith apples, so I wasn’t surprised that they’d been forgotten. But while they’re not the best snack tout seul, everybody knows they’re undeniably the best for baking. It’s like something magical happens in the oven—the tartness melts away, the sugars are drawn out, and those sour apples soften right up to make your baked goods perfectly moist and delicious.

Like this baked good, par example.

For whatever reason, I’ve been craving scones lately. Maybe because I’ve overloaded myself on macaroons and dark chocolate since living in France, and my stomach (and heart) are begging me to switch it up a little.

Who knows? Regardless, these scones answered the call on all counts—taste and health, if you can believe it! I reworked this original recipe, reducing the sugar even further (you don’t need all that), almost doubling the amount of apples called for and amping up the cinnamon, too. Plus, I threw in the cranberries. Just for kicks (and flavor and color).

So, is it a rainy day? Got nothing better to do? Make these scones. Just because.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar 

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (plus more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt 

Dash of ground nutmeg

Dash of all spice

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces 

1 1/2 cups shredded peeled Granny Smith apple 

1/4 cup dried cranberries

splash apple juice

1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray 


For Topping

2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk 

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (I used 1…it was plenty!)



Preheat oven to 425°.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups and tablespoons; level with a knife. Combine flours, 1/4 cup sugar, and next 6 ingredients (through all spice) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in cold butter with a knife until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pour the dried cranberries into a bowl. Pour apple juice over the top, until cranberries are just covered with liquid. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Add thinly sliced apple pieces, stirring to combine. Sprinkle a little additional cinnamon until apples and cranberries are lightly coated.

In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and vanilla extract. Stir milk mixture and apple mixture into flour mixture until just moist (dough will be slightly sticky).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Divide dough in half; pat each portion into a 6-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut each circle into 5 wedges, cutting into but not through, dough. Brush tops of wedges with 2 tablespoons milk, and sprinkle evenly with 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (use turbinado for extra crunch).

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden. The scones should sound hollow when you tap the center.

Serve warm…with a cup of decaf, of course.


No comments

Post a Comment

Karley with a K. Todos los derechos reservados. © Maira Gall.