Apple & White Cheddar Scones

I thought I wrote this recipe up a long time ago, because I’ve been making it a lot every Fall the last few years. I mostly wait until a very special apple becomes available, the Mountain Rose, which has bright pink flesh and is only grown in the Mount Hood region (from what I’ve read). But you could bake these with any crisp and lightly tart apple; the color just won’t be as striking. I’m also partial to using very sharp white cheddar for the best flavor.

Fresh batch of scones ready to enjoy!

I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from Bill Yosses’ cookbook The Perfect Finish. I’ve increased the amount of liquid required to bring the dough together, and changed the mixing method. They recommend using a stand mixer which seems like a great way to make a mess of things.

Anyway, I’m finally writing this up because I recently served them with tea for my favorite book club friends, and one person asked for the recipe, and another said, “those might’ve been the best scones I’ve ever eaten… and I’ve eaten a lot of scones!” Indeed, these are in my top 2 or 3 favorite scone recipes. So, clearly you need to put them into your own rotation.

Roasted Mountain Rose apple

Ingredients: (makes 6 medium or 8 smaller scones)

1 pound firm tart apples

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for egg wash

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, shredded

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs, one for the batter and one for brushing the tops of the scones

Note: I actually forgot the sugar in the dough one time, and they still came out great; just a bit more savory. So there’s that option too.

Shortcuts: You can mix the dry ingredients and the chunks of cold butter in a food processor and avoid the work of using a pastry cutter. It’s easy, fast, and effective. Just pulse a few times until you see small bits of butter (pea size is perfect). And, if you feel like the egg wash is too fussy or a waste of an egg, as I occasionally do, instead you can lightly brush a little cream on the tops of the scones and then sprinkle sugar on top.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone pad.
  2. Peel and core apples, then cut them into chunks, something like one-sixteenths. Place them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely. (I often do this step the night before, and leave the sheet with the apples in the oven after I’ve turned it off.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. (If I’m really on the ball, I’ll do everything up to this point the night before.) Now add the cold butter pieces to the flour, and cut in with a pastry cutter or two butter knives. Then, add cooled apple chunks and cheddar cheese, and toss gently with flour mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk cream and one egg. Pour the wet mixture over the top of the flour mixture, and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix.
  5. Sprinkle flour on your lined baking sheet, and empty the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle top of dough with a little more flour. Now, use your floured hands to pat the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick circle. Cut circle into 6 or 8 wedges. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone on the baking sheet. (It’s also possible to stop here and freeze the unbaked scones or freeze some of them for baking at a later date.)
  6. Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  7. Bake until firm and golden, about 25 – 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 5 – 10 minutes. 
Dry ingredients with lightly tossed apple and cheese.
Dry and wet ingredients mixed together into a nice craggy mixture.
Hand patted dough ready for slicing into triangles.
With their egg wash and ready for the oven!

Cherry Almond Chocolate Cardamom Muffins


Lately Instagram has been a font of baking inspiration. 😉 I don’t remember where I saw it and they didn’t share a recipe, but someone’s delicious cherry chocolate muffin photo got my brain percolating.

I still have frozen cherries in the freezer from last summer’s u-pick adventures, and last week I found a good base recipe to riff on from King Arthur Flour. The original recipe says cherries and almonds are made for one another, and they definitely are, so that’s why I swapped in some almond flour. But you know chocolate and cherries are pretty amazing together too, and come on cardamom! These came out deliciously light and tender and just plain yummy.


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped chocolate or mini-chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped cherries (drain before adding to batter)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • granulated sugar, for topping the muffins



  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line with paper, or lightly grease a 12-well muffin pan.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients, including sugar and chocolate, together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, butter, buttermilk, and extract together.
  4. Blend wet ingredients with dry until just mixed. Gently fold in chopped cherries.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin cups, and sprinkle toasted almonds and granulated sugar on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 mins. or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.


Rhubarb Compote

It’s spring and I finally have productive rhubarb plants in my garden, so I’ve been making rhubarb dishes a couple times a week for maybe a month now? Anyway, I whipped up a rhubarb compote a few times lately, which it turns out is an awesome pancake topping, as well as makes a beautiful and yummy parfait. This almost doesn’t qualify as a recipe since it’s so easy! You can make this compote in 15 – 20 mins., and it keeps for about a week in the fridge, but I doubt it will stick around that long.



  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb (sub some strawberries if you want)
  • juice of 1 small mandarin or orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar



Add all ingredients to a wide sauce pan or pot over medium heat. Gently stir occasionally and cook for 10 – 15 mins. until rhubarb is tender, but not total mush.

Serve over pancakes or layer it with yogurt and chia seed pudding for dessert or a special breakfast treat.



DIY Clotted Cream

Currant scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Last weekend I went out for tea with friends at the Clockwork Rose Tea Emporium in Beaverton, and one of the treats was homemade clotted cream with scones. So naturally I thought, “I have to make clotted cream.” Most groceries in the US don’t carry it, so particularly if you like scones, it’s a handy skill to pickup. Lo and behold, it’s super easy; it just takes some time. But just imagine how you’ll impress your friends at brunch!

There’s just one ingredient: heavy whipping cream. Preferably unpasteurized if you can find it (I couldn’t), but pasteurized works too (just avoid ultra pasteurized). To make about 8 ounces of clotted cream, use 2 cups of cream. You could make more or less, as the finished product does go a long way.

I used the directions below and it came out just like the English luxury clotted creams I’ve had in the past – except fresher! (And at least half the price!)

I suspect you could make it in a crockpot instead of the oven; so next time perhaps I’ll try that and update you.

Cream after 12 hours in the oven


1. Pour cream into an oven-safe heavy bottomed pot. I used a stainless steel one and it worked beautifully. The cream should come up the side of the pot at least an inch. Cover with lid.

2. Place covered pot in 180 degree oven for about 12 hours. It should form a yellowish thick skin on the top (this is the clotted cream). Remove from the oven and let cool. (Be aware some ovens automatically turn off; I think mine did right around the 12 hour point.)

3. Place pot in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then remove from refrigerator, and scoop the thick cream off the top into a jar. Store in the fridge. The remaining liquid in the pot can be used in baking.

Clotted cream after 8 hours in the refrigerator