Bake these delicious Irish Apple Cream Scones for a quick and simple breakfast treat or afternoon snack. Serve warm from the oven for a moist and buttery tender scone full of tart apples, and add a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top for a crunchy topping that adds just the right amount of sweetness. So good and so easy.
"laughter is brightest where food is best"
As you might imagine, St. Patrick's Day in the Cassidy household is a Big Deal. Us Cassidy's aren't that crazy about corned beef and cabbage though. For us, St. Patrick's Day is a time for shamrocks and limericks, Irish tea and green milk, and, of course, baking! In honor of the Cassidy family women and the recipes they made throughout the years, I am sharing Grammy Cassidy's rustic apple scone recipe for you to enjoy.
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The Cassidys are a traditional Irish Catholic family that likes to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, here are some fun St. Patrick's Day facts:
- St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland
- He was born in 387 ce and died March 17, 461 ce
- St. Patrick was captured by pirates when he was 14 and taken to Ireland
- He used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity
- He preached and converted Ireland for 40 years
Scones are my favorite pastry. The perfect scones should be slightly sweet with buttery golden tops that are tender and moist inside with crumbly edges. This is what you get with this recipe and it is truly the easiest apple scone recipe you can make. The delicious smell of apple will bring everyone to your kitchen.
Why apples for Irish scones?
Apples are the perfect fruit to use and were one of the most prevalent fruits in Ireland, and since Irish recipes use simple and inexpensive ingredients they made use of lots of fresh apples. Today, I am using Pippin apples, but your favorite apple will be just as delicious.
Pippin apples are similar to Granny Smith apples just a bit sweeter, but they still have a tartness to them and a great apple flavor.
Making scones is very easy. For this apple scone recipe, the dough goes directly into the baking pan, so no kneading, rolling, or cutting of the dough is required.
- Flour - I use unbleached all-purpose flour
- Baking Powder - this is what makes scones rise
- Salt - just a little bit adds flavor
- Butter - this is a scone's main ingredient and what makes the scones moist and tender
- Heavy cream - adds a nice flavor and is my preference over buttermilk for this recipe
- Egg - adding an egg to scones binds the ingredients, adds moisture and a fluffier texture along with a richer taste
- Sugar - I prefer using white sugar here to let the flavor of the apples shine
- Apples - Pippin apples are tart and taste great in these scones but feel free to use your favorite. I just happen to love tart apples.
- Turbinado sugar - is crunchy coarse sugar
What are scones?
- Many countries have their own variations of scones. There are British, Scottish, Irish, and American scones, each uses different amounts of fat to flour. Some are barely sweet while others are highly sweetened.
- Scones are a quickbread that uses baking powder as the leavening agent. No yeast is required.
- Sweet or savory scones are perfect for breakfast or afternoon teas and snacks.
- Scones are more of a biscuit-like pastry that are cut in circles, squares, or wedges. However, scones are not a biscuit since most scones are made with sugar and egg. If you want to make biscuits, try this One Hot Oven recipe for Easy Homemade Biscuits.
- When baked, scones should be moist inside and the outer crust golden brown with crumbly edges.
How to make homemade scones
Remember I said this is the easiest scone recipe. So grab a bowl, two knives or a pastry blender, and a wooden spoon.
Scone baking tips
- The secret to tender scones is using cold butter. Cut the butter into very small cubes and freeze it while you are prepping the other ingredients.
- Keep the cream in the refrigerator until ready to pour into the dough so it stays cold.
- If you don't have cream you can substitute buttermilk or even whole milk.
- Cut the pieces of apple into small cubes so they bake evenly and the small pieces make cutting the scones easier.
- When making scones, try not to overmix or handle the dough too much. You want the dough to stay cold and overworking the dough will make the scones dense and tough.
- Chill the scone dough before baking, you want that butter cold so you get a nice flaky texture
- Watch your baking time and don't overbake them.
Step 1. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and keep chilled.
Step 2. On a cutting board, cut the apples into slices and then cut the slices into sticks then cut into small cubes. Basically, dice the apples.
Step 3. Add the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl. Next, cut the cold cubed butter into the dry ingredients.
I like using two knives but a pastry blender works well too. When using the knives just criss-cross them to cut the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pieces the size of peas
Step 4. Mix the cream and egg together and add to the flour/butter mixture. Using a heavy spoon, preferably a wooden spoon, lightly mix to incorporate the cream mixture. Before the dough starts to form add the diced apples and continue to mix until the flour is totally incorporated.
Step 6. For these scones, the batter is going right into the baking dish. I use a 9" pie plate. You can also use a 9" cake pan. Once your dough is formed turn it out into a greased baking dish.
Step 7. Gently pat down the dough into the baking pan then bake at 450 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes.
Step 8. When done, brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle turbinado sugar or coarse sugar on top.
Step 9. Let cool slightly and cut the scones into wedges.
Serve these scones warm from the oven and cut them into nice big wedges. Keep leftover scones in an airtight container for several days.
And here is a scone especially for you!
And, since we are celebrating all things Irish try this Irish Coffee that tastes exceptionally good with our scones.
- Try using half and half instead of using cream.
- Dried cranberries or raisins make a nice additional flavor.
- You can make apple cinnamon scones by adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter.
- Add fresh or candied ginger for Ginger Apple Scones.
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with my favorites
Tea and scones are a classic and Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast Tea is a favorite.
The Irish Shamrock Tea Towel is perfect to give as a gift along with a batch of these Irish Apple Cream Scones.
Make the dough and put it in the baking pan, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. Bake per the instructions.
More scone recipes to enjoy
Orange Cranberry Scones with Sweet Orange Topping are filled with tart cranberries and lots of sweet orange flavor for a moist and tender scone, these scones are always a favorite.
Blueberry Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze has the favorite pairing of lemon and blueberries baked into a delicious golden brown scone with a sweet icing drizzle.
Sweet Mandarin Orange Scones use this favorite seasonal fruit for a tasty scone.
Chocolate Chip Peppermint Scones are delicious anytime, but these colorful scones are perfect to serve during the holidays for breakfast, brunch, or even dessert.
If you don't want to make scones try this 30-minute recipe for Apple Fritter Hawaiian Rolls Sticky Buns, they are super easy to make.
Recipes with fresh apples
Irish Apple Cream Scones
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- Preheat the oven to 450° f. Grease an 8 or 9" pie plate or cake pan
- Cut the 6 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and chill until ready to use
- Cut the apple into wedges and then cut the wedges into strips then into small cubes and set aside.
- In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Add the cold cubed butter to the flour mixture and toss with a fork. Next, cut the butter into the flour using two knives or a pastry cutter. If using two knives just criss-cross the knives to cut the butter into small pieces.
- Mix the cream and egg together then pour this mixture into the flour/butter mixture and lightly mix. Next, add the cubed apples to the mixture and continue mixing until the flour is incorporated and turns into a soft dough.
- Turn the dough into the prepared baking pan and pat down. Chill the dough in the pie plate for 10-15 minutes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. If the top is getting too brown cover it with a piece of foil and continue baking until done.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and when the scones are done brush the butter over the top of the baked scones and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
- Let the scones cool slightly then cut into 8 wedges. Serve warm.
- These scones will keep for several days. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap.
First published: January 1, 2021, Last updated: December 12, 2022, for better readability.
If you are looking for something delicious for an afternoon tea or an Irish dessert these apple scones are perfect to serve.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing sweet and savory family-friendly recipes for your cooking and baking inspiration.