For flaky, tender scones, keep butter in the freezer (cut it up beforehand) until ready to use. Why? When cold butter that’s been cut into dough melts in a hot oven, it releases little puffs of steam and air that help develop flaky layers in the finished product. Serve the scones warm.
- 8½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into ¼-inch chunks, divided
- ¾ cup peeled diced apple (try Empire, Cortland, or Granny Smith varieties)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- ½ cup coarse cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 4 ounces 2-year cheddar cheese such as Grafton Village Cheese 2-Year, diced
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Heat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
- >Melt ½ tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When it foams, add apple and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over apples and stir to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the apples have softened and begun to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside.
- >Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together with flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add sage, cheese, and remaining 8 tablespoons butter and rub into mixture with your fingertips until mixture is shaggy and pebbly.
- >Whisk together egg, buttermilk, cream, and vinegar in a small bowl and pour over dry ingredients. Stir gently with a fork until dough comes together. Knead in the bowl or turn dough over itself a few times with a rubber spatula.
- >Transfer to a lightly floured work surface (dough will be sticky) and pat into a ½-inch-thick square. Cut into 12 even pieces and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until scones are browned on top with bits of lacy-crisp melted cheese around the edges.