Apple Cranberry Brie Scones

A food blog called “The Mean Scone” should probably start with a scone recipe, yes? This original variation on Smitten Kitchen’s Apple and Cheddar Scones is one of my favorite scone flavors. And this last weekend of October—post-apple season, pre-Thanksgiving cranberries—is a perfect time to make it.

You might think the mild flavor of the brie would get lost next to the bright tartness of cranberries (oh wait, and weren’t there apples in there too?), but the mix is surprisingly balanced and results in a nice series of complimentary flavors taking turns with your taste buds. Save some prep time for cutting and toasting the fruit; the rest of the steps are pretty quick. I recommend Granny Smith or other crisp, tart apples for most baking. The cranberries can be fresh or frozen; you could probably also substitute dried, though if you do, leave them out of the toasting step. Makes 12-16 scones.

Apple Cranberry Brie Scones
3 firm tart apples
1 C cranberries
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 C (12 TBS) butter
1 C (130 grams) brie, hard edges removed
1/2 C heavy cream
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Snip cranberries in half (don’t bother about the seeds). Peel, core, and dice apples. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil), and spread fruit on it. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until edges begin to brown and the smell is bringing your whole family into the kitchen. Toasting the fruit helps cut down on extra moisture, which in turn will help the final product stay light and airy despite being stuffed with fruit and cheese; thus, your goal here is to heat the fruit quickly and dehydrate it, not cook it into soft mush.

2. While the fruit is toasting, mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt). Check fruit; when lightly browned on the edges, remove from oven and transfer the parchment paper to the counter to help it cool faster. You can also put the fruit in the fridge to cool.

3. Cut in butter. Cut up brie into small pieces (apple and brie pieces should be roughly the same size) and mix into flour. Stir in cooled fruit (it can be warm, but not hot: you should be able to scoop it into your hands without injury).

4. Measure out cream into a liquid measuring cup. Beat egg into cream with a fork. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in cream all at once. Stir until liquid is well-distributed (it will look like a mess).

5. Flour a counter space and your hands. Dump the scone dough-mess onto the counter and begin kneading it (or in my case, unprofessionally smushing it together) until the dough becomes more cohesive and uniform. Split the dough into two clumps; roll each into a rough ball.

6. Flatten one ball of dough into a disc, about one to one-and-a-half inches thick. Using a sharp knife, Cut the disc into slices; depending on size, you should get between six and eight slices. Repeat with second half of dough. You can freeze the scones at this stage and bake them at a later date; just make sure to wrap them well in plastic wrap because frozen scones are difficult to break apart if they get stuck together.

7. Position scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (the paper is not necessary here, but it keeps your pan clean) roughly two to three inches apart. Brush the tops with a little half-and-half, cream, or milk. Sprinkle with plain white sugar.

8. Bake at 400ºF for 12 minutes or until puffy and golden. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Enjoy fresh from the oven, or keep in a dry space for up to a few days.

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