These cinnamon apple sourdough scones make for the best treat to enjoy with a cup of hot coffee or tea as the colder months creep up on us and the temperatures drop. They are flakey, soft, and scattered with bits of fresh apples. There is cinnamon in the scones and in the vanilla glaze which results in a cozy pastry. They will soon become an autumn staple because they are just so quick and easy to toss together for breakfast, brunch, girls’ night, or a quick snack to bring on a hike.
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And of course, because it’s me, I made them sourdough. I have been so spoiled from having sourdough breads, cakes, cinnamon rolls, and now scones, that things with sourdough just don’t taste the way they used to. Even the cinnamon rolls my mom made all the time when I was growing up just weren’t as magical as I remembered because they were lacking that light tang and extra layer of savory flavor from the sourdough.
Since then, I have been taking every recipe I can and adding some of my starter to it. If it has flour and get cooked, I add it in. I like doing this because I don’t get as bloated after eating bread and pastries because the bacteria and yeasts in the starter break down some of the hard to digest things in the flours. Sourdough to me really is a win-win, but not everyone has a starter or wants to make everything they ever make into a sourdough creation. And that is ok.
If you don’t have a starter but this recipe sounds just too perfect as is, then grab a copy of my e-book., here. There you will learn how to make your own starter from scratch, how to care for it, some tips and tricks for sourdough things, and even some recipes to get you started.
If you have absolutely zero interest in making these scones in their sourdough form, then take 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water and combine them. That can be used in place of the starter. It will yield no flavor but will take the place of the sourdough starters texture.
Cinnamon- It wouldn’t be an autumnal recipe without a healthy dose of cinnamon. This spice is not only used in the scone, but to coat the apples, and is added to the glaze for maximum “cinnimony-ness”.
Flour- This can be all purpose flour, but if you want to make them healthier, I like to add 50/50 all-purpose and freshly ground whole wheat. This is my favorite wheat grinder.
Baking powder- Because this recipe isn’t using the starter as a leavening agent, we need the help of a chemical leavener. Cue the baking powder.
Brown sugar- You can use whatever kind of sugar you prefer (coconut sugar would also be so good in this) but the molasses notes in the brown sugar really add to the flavor profile.
Salt- No recipe savory or sweet should be made without salt. It enhances all the flavors and makes any dish pop.
Butter- When broken into small amounts and mixed into the dough, the pockets of fat give fluffiness and flakiness.
Apples- This pastry wouldn’t be complete without the addition of apple chunks. I prefer to use gala apples but granny smith, red delicious, or your favorite apple varitey will work just fine!
Sourdough discard- This recipe is a great way to use up some of that discard. It lowers the amount of cream needed and adds a very slight and subtle tang if your sourdough is more on the tart side. If you use active sourdough, you may need to adjust the amount of cream used since active starter tends to be thicker than discard.
Vanilla- Adds a bit of warmth and flavor while enhancing the sweet flavors from the apples and cinnamon.
Cream- I always prefer to use cream over milk or half and half. I find it results in a much softer scone that has a richer flavor. However, I will admit that I have used milk or half and half in a pinch before and it turned out fine, I just add a little bit less than the amount called for.
Honey- This is very optional but I like to drizzle the apples with a bit of honey before adding them to the scones. This and a dash of cinnamon give the apples themselves a stronger flavor and bring out the natural sweetness.
Let’s get baking!
Start by peeling the apples and then small dicing them. I add the honey and a bit of cinnamon and mix well until they are coated evenly then set aside.
Combine the cinnamon, flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt.
Mix the cold butter into the flour mixture. Think “money, money, money” and do that motion with the butter chunks between your thumb and fingers. You want it to be well mixed in but leave some pieces of butter the size of peas or so. This makes for a less dense scone.
Add the discard and mix it in the same way as the butter, trying to maintain a sandy texture and keeping large chunks of butter intact.
Pour the apples in and mix them well to coat them well with flour.
Add in the vanilla and cream. Add about half the cream first and gently mix, add more cream as needed. Depending on the viscosity of the sourdough starter you will need more or less cream. You can always add more but it is hard to save a mushy scone dough. You want it to just pull together. Do not over mix!
Turn the dough onto a floured counter and divide it in two parts. Press each half into a disc that is roughly six inches across. I like to use a bench scraper because I can get the slices more even.
Cut each disc into eight equal pieces.
Transfer onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake.
For the glaze combine powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. Whisk well and drizzle over the scones once they are cool.
Store in a sealed container for about five days, (if they last anywhere near that long).
- 1 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Baking powder
- 3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 5 Tbsp Butter (cold)
- 1 1/4 Cup Apples (small diced)
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Honey
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Sourdough (or discard)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 4 - 5 1/2 oz Cream (amount varies due to the starter)
- 1 Cup. Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 - 3 Tbsp. Milk
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in bowl.
- In a separate bowl add the 1 tsp. of cinnamon and honey to the diced apples, mix well, and set aside.
- Break in the butter into pea sized chunks. If the dough gets overworked it will lead to a less flakey scone that may even be dense.
- Add in the sourdough the same way as the butter, keeping it broken into bits instead of turning it into a dough like texture.
- Add the apples and mix until they are all well coated in flour.
- Mix in the vanilla and heavy cream. Start with less cream, more can always be added if needed. The dough should just pull together.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and divide it in half.
- Press each half into a disk about 6 inches across, then cut each disc into 8 equal slices.
- Place scones onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking.
- For the icing combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Wait until scones are cool before glazing them.
For long ferment scones follow the recipe through step 9. But instead of baking them, cover and transfer to the fridge overnight. Bake as directed the following morning.
Gala or Fiji apples are always my favorite to baek with when making these scones, but granny smith, red delicious, or any other favorite apple will work just fine for these scones.