There was recently an intervention in my kitchen. Though its not as dramatic as I make it sound, it was much needed. It wasn’t over the half dozen disks of pastry and cookie dough in the fridge, or the fact that other than milk, eggs, olives and cheese all we have in the fridge is pastry and cookie dough. Or that we have a solid dozen types of cheese and a half dozen containers of Parmesan alone. I know that I just sent chills down the spines of the cheese connoisseurs among us. I’m not proud of the way I treat cheese, and I promise to work on it. But no, the aforementioned intervention was over what I was calling dinner three to four nights a week.
It was a simple statement, little more than an observation, “You sure do like eating apples and cheddar cheese.” The implication of course, is that D was feeling a little left out of this enjoyment. Or maybe that he was finding it understandably boring. A fitting snack, it certainly does not pass for a proper meal. No, not even when I add a variety of crackers and include that black pepper applesauce or some nice salami. I know that! I was feeling guilty about it, too, but as is the case with most things lined with guilt there is something enticing about it, too.
Look, I’m not tired of apple slices and cheddar cheese. I’m perfectly content to cower in the corner of my kitchen, nibbling away like a little mouse, gripping my crackers and cheese with two hands. But I do acknowledge that it is not a proper
dinner meal, even if you eat a lion-sized serving. It’s also not terribly creative, it’s doing little to incorporate variety in our diet or advance my mission of getting Oliver to try new foods. Guilty as charged.
In my defense, my infamous apple-cheddar platter fully encompasses some of Oliver’s very favorite foods, so its pretty much guaranteed he’ll eat it without a fuss. Perhaps it started as a snack, and then he asked ‘more please for some apples and cheese’ and I thought, lets just make a meal out of it! It was just too easy. I admit it got out of hand. Also, at the risk of sounding whiny, eating for one and a picky half can be really tough sometimes! When D is on the road, dinners are a bit lonelier, and because Oliver is at an antsy toddler stage, they lack the pomp and circumstance of gathering around the table. I tend to eat by myself at Oliver’s little table, while he runs around gabbing on and on about therapods being carnivores and sometimes being scary. So nothing new here, a toddler appetite is tough to count on. Half the time it leads to a fight, if he’s even interested in eating at all. Even when the dinner has a proven track record there’s really only a 50/50 chance he’ll eat a healthy serving. So I pick my battles, and sometimes take the path of least resistance, its 2 parts laziness to 1 part preservation of sanity.
These scones are the answer to a couple of my problems. With a generous handful of shredded cheddar they’re cheesy, but then they’re speckled with chunks of roasted apples. They’re sweet and savory with a crunchy outside, so we’ve got those bases covered. Bonus, they freeze remarkably well. So if D’s out of town I can bake off just two of them and save the rest for a rainy day. I know scones are sort of a breakfast staple, but I’ve been serving them alongside bowls of soup and salad, and it’s pretty much guaranteed there’s something for everyone.
A couple notes on the recipe, I started with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe which was wonderful and airy, almost biscuit-like. I wanted a slightly sturdier scone, and I wanted to use a bit of spelt flour so I married it with Tartine’s recipe for buttermilk scones. I can’t help but want to add a little bit of spelt flour to everything these days. It’s not just that it’s a bit healthier. It has less gluten so it’s a little easier to digest, it’s higher in protein and has a wonderful nutty flavor that really perks up all-purpose flour.
Apple and Cheddar Spelt Scones
- 2 tart apples
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup spelt flour
- 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tbsp for dusting
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
- 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter cut into 1//2 chunks
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup packed sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 lightly beaten egg plus 1 egg for wash
Preheat your oven to 375. Peel and core apples and cut into 16-20 pieces. They’re about 3/4 inch dice. Roast for 20 minutes, the apples will be cooked but retain a little bit of texture. Allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine the flours, salt and baking powder. Mix well and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, using a paddle attachment combine the butter, buttermilk, cheese, egg and apple slices. Mix on a low speed until rough mixture forms (no more than a minute). Add all of the flour mixture at once and mix on low speed just until a rough dough forms. Its ok if it doesn’t hold together on its own, you just basically want the dry ingredients to not be dry.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disk about 3/4-inch thick. Lightly flour a knife and cut into 6 generous wedges. Transfer wedges to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar. At this point I’ve developed a habit of putting the sheet with the scones in the freezer for ten minutes. I feel like it helps a little with the final color and it helps the scones puff up some instead of spreading out, but I can’t tell you how or why. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until the scones have a nice caramel color.
If you are going to freeze some or all of the scones, leave in the freezer for an hour or two and then transfer to a plastic bag. When your ready to enjoy them, bake straight from the freezer for 40 minutes or until the tops are caramel colored. Let them cool for ten minutes and serve warm.