Being the crazy food-lover that I am, I get pretty excited about things when there’s food involved.
One of my favorite things about going on vacation? Breakfast. Dinner. Dessert. ← woops, three things
Somebody’s birthday? That means cake :)
You guys, I still get excited when there’s a candy bowl at the bank. So you better bet that one of my favorite types of errands to run is one that involves food samples. Costco, anyone?
Before I started baking a lot, we used to go to this local bakery all the time. My favorite thing about going there, besides bringing home the most amazing freshly-baked breads, scones, and other treats, was the samples. They weren’t your wimpy, one-bite samples, either. These were serious slices of bread and big ol’ halves of scones. I LIVED for those samples, and for all of their baked goods – especially the scones (can you tell?). One of my favorites was the Apricot Almond Scone, and I’ve forever tried to make my own version at home that was every bit as good. I even posted an Apricot Almond Scone recipe in the very
embarrasing early days when I first started this blog, and then something called 100+ other recipes entered my life and I stopped thinking about those scones for awhile.
Apparently all those recipes made me forget things, because I totally forgot about the Apricot Almond Scones I made before, and when a craving for one struck, I started from scratch trying to make them again. And for once, it was a good thing I was forgetful, because let me tell you – these new scones are my winners. Honestly, I don’t remember every detail of the bakery scones that I first fell in love with, but I know that these scones are so incredibly good, I don’t need to worry about finding a better version anymore. This. is. it.
These scones are intensely almondy, but not in a “nutty” way. They get lots of almond flavor from almond paste and almond extract – two of my favorite flavoring ingredients, so they’re almondy in that distinctly rich, sweet way that almonds alone can’t accomplish. Tangy but sweet dried apricots add lots of zing to these scones, the perfect addition to the notes of almond. Not only are these scones studded with those bright orange pieces of apricot, but they also have bits of toasted almonds in them, for texture and another layer of almond flavor. They have just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the tang of the apricots and please your palate. And – although it seems silly to even say this – these scones are NOT dry, bland, and boring, the only type of scones some people seem to have tasted before. I seriously can’t believe I even said that, but I just want to make sure I convert all of you scone-haters out there. In fact, let me just put it out there:
These scones are good. Promise.
- 1 lb 3 1/8 ounces all-purpose flour (4 1/2 cups, spoon and sweep)**
- 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces almond paste, cubed***
- 4 ounces butter (1/2 cup), frozen and cubed
- 5 ounces chopped dried apricots (1 cup)
- 5 ounces chopped toasted almonds (1 cup)
- 8 1/2 ounces milk (1 cup)
- 4 1/8 ounces heavy cream (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cubed almond paste and butter and cut in with a pastry cutter until no large pieces of either remain and the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add the chopped dried apricots and almonds and whisk or toss in until evenly dispersed in the mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and almond extract. Add to the dry scone mixture in three parts, folding in partially after each addition. Once all of the liquid has been added, continue to fold in with a spatula until the dry and wet ingredients are together but not yet evenly combined. Use your hands to finish combining the ingredients, gently forming a large ball of dough. If the dough seems too dry to come together, you can add a bit more liquid, but do so VERY sparingly. This should not be a wet dough.
- Divide the ball of dough in half and shape each half into a round disc, about 3/4" to 1" thick, on one of the prepared baking sheets. Freeze for 1 hour (do NOT skip this step).
- Toward the end of the chilling period, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the fully chilled scones from the freezer and slice each round into 8 triangles, pizza-style. Space the cut scones apart on the two lined baking sheets. Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
- Once cool, keep scones in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These scones are good cold, but can also be warmed up in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
*This recipe makes 16 fairly large scones, hence some of the large ingredient amounts.
**It's crucial that you use the spoon-and-level technique to measure out your flour for this recipe, otherwise you might end up overflouring the dough. Better yet, weigh your flour!
***I like to buy my almond paste from a local nut house, where it always seems much fresher, softer, and easier to work with than the type I've found in the grocery store. If you can find really good, fresh almond paste, I recommend the splurge! But otherwise, the typical grocery-store almond paste will work too.
Have you ever tried replicating a food you love at home? How did it turn out? Tell me all the tasty details!