The more time I spend hovering over scone recipes, the more I adore them. They're not quite as sweet as a muffin, which are so often disguised as confused cupcakes, running around naked without their frosted jackets and insisting they can be eaten for breakfast. But they're more appropriate for grown ups, for nibbling on their crispy edges and sipping rich coffee or in my case, decaffeinated tea since the ol' ticker just ain't what she used to be. The vanilla bean and blackberry scones were fine and well on their own, but I wanted something with a little more bulk to it, a scone sleek enough to eat at your desk at 7:30 a.m. in your pencil skirt but hearty enough to last through your morning meetings.
Whenever the newest edition of Bon Appetit arrives, it's difficult for me not to dive clear across the kitchen table to the stack of mail on the far side of it, sliding across the wooden top like Bo Duke and collapsing into 007 mode in my desperate attempts to flip through the glossy pages like the deranged, food-obsessed woman I am. The Christmas edition, excuse me "holiday" for those of who nearly had a heart attack just now, boasted a dark blue cover with a peppermint and chocolate meringue cake on the front, dripping with oozy chocolate and flecked with pink peppermints, quite a site for sore eyes.
As fate would have it, the recipe for that pepperminut meringue cake was all the way the back of the magazine, and I didn't make it beyond page seven where my eyes landed squarely on a recipe for Apricot Walnut Scones. I was a bit skeptical at first, since I made those vanilla bean scones, I've become a rigid convert to cream-based scone recipes and any scone that doesn't overflow with 36% milkfat simply will not do. I skimmed down the list, plump apricots, chewy golden raisins, toasted walnuts...and sweet relief, heavy cream. I pulled out my heaviest wooden slab cutting board, tipped out handful of dried fruits onto it's surface and secretly imagined what it would be like if we drank heavy cream in place of regular milk. I don't think it's the worst idea.
The dough was sticky and wonderful, loaded with meaty walnuts, chunks of apriocts and flecked through with golden raisins. Dusted with a flurry of powdered sugar, they bake up into swollen wedges with craggy edges that make me feel like I should be serving them at a bed and breakfast in Northern Pennsylvania. At least that would give me a good reason to shimmy out of that wicked businesswoman clothes and into an apron on a regular basis. I might even serve heavy cream in place of milk to my guests, well, at least I can think about it.
Apricot Walnut Scones
Adapted from Bon Appetit Dec. 2009
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk first three ingredients in large bowl. Stir in walnuts, apricots, and raisins. Add cream; stir with fork just to blend. Transfer dough to work surface sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Knead dough until smooth, about ten turns. Form dough into 1-inch thick round (I press it in a 9 inch cake pan and then tip it out) and cut into 8 wedges. Sift powdered sugar over and transfer to baking sheet.
Bake scones until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.