Monday, January 6, 2014

Cooking with Cider: Crispin's Honey Crisp in Apple Scones with Maple Glaze

It has been far too long since I've shared any of my cider cooking experiences here, especially since I'm discovering new ways to use cider for cooking all the time. This seems like a very winter appropriate recipe to share for the brutal cold wave that happens to be freezing most of us here in the United States today. My good friend Amber and I baked apple scones with cider and made a Crispin Honeycrisp maple cider glaze. They turned out super yummy.

Apple Scones with Crispin Honeycrisp Maple Glaze

 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 heaping tbs baking powder

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 lb (or 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup apple, grated (no need to peel the apples before grating)

First off, the Apple Scone part of the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 375° F

Combine dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Put aside.

Mix cubed butter with heavy cream, maple syrup, and grated apple in a different mixing bowl. Feel free to use either a hand mixer, stand mixer, or a wooden spoon, depending on what you've got. I don't have a stand mixer, so I know more about how to use a hand mixer a spoon.

Then combine the dry bowl ingredients and the wet bowl ingredients into whichever bowl is larger. In any case, take it slow. You don't have to worry about a perfect texture. It is better for little bits of apple to remain together than to overmix.

Generously flour your counter surface and set your dough on top of it. Similarly flour your hands, a rolling pin, and the top of the dough. Use the rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a roughly scone shaped mass. It might be between 1 1/4 and 2 inches tall and somewhat smaller than a dinner plate. Transfer this carefully to a buttered cookie sheet. Once on the sheet, make gentle slices across the dough to make the number of scone servings you'd like have in the end. I'd say it works best to have either six or eight wedges.

Into the oven they go! Now, before you read the baking instructions, remember to start your cider and maple glaze. If you start as soon as the scones go into the over, your timing should work out well. Now, back to baking...

Bake at 375° F until you can see some hint of browning on top. Around 25-35 minutes. They might not look 100% done, but turn the oven off and let them stay warm inside while you finish up the glaze.

Crispin Honeycrisp Maple Glaze

This is the sweet sticky heart and soul of the recipe.

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (use whatever grade you have on hand, but I really prefer grade B)

1 cup Crispin Honeycrisp Cider

Pour both of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer them slowly on the stove. Basically you're making a reduction or simple syrup.

The key is patience because it can look like nothing at all is happening. Don't give in to the temptation of turning the heat up too high because you do not want your syrup and cider reduction to crack or turn into caramel in the pot. Though it would still be tasty, you want this glaze liquid enough to coat the scones and impart rich apple cider and maple flavors throughout.

And that's exactly what you do. Once the syrup has reduced by 1/4 or even 1/3 *and* once you've cooled the scone after removing it from the oven, pour the reduction all over the circle of scone pieces. Messy but so so good.
Many many thanks to Amber for masterminding the recipe development and cooking. She's an expert baker, and I'm just a cider fan with a camera, but I think we worked together well.