Loaded with tender pieces of vivid orange dried apricots and topped with a glistening sugar crust, these scones are both beautiful and delicious.
We had them warm for brunch this weekend, slathered with butter, and served with a cup of Coconut a la Creme black tea sweetened with a splash of maple syrup. It's the sort of brunch you want to linger over, taking time to indulge in an extra scone and a few cups of tea.
While the coconut tea was perfect in my books, this apricot scone recipe would also pair nicely with nutty teas such as Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong tea or Caramel Almond black tea, or you could stick with the apricot theme and brew a cup of Vista Blend herbal tea with apricot and lavender or The Self Care Blend with elderberry and apricot.
How to Make Apricot Scones
Although I used dried apricots for this recipe, you could easily use fresh apricots as well.
Just dice them in small pieces so they spread evenly throughout the dough, and cut back a bit on the buttermilk so your dough doesn't get too sticky. They'd also be nice with a few tablespoons of fine chopped crystallized ginger along with the apricots for extra fragrance and a delightful bit of zing.
I often make my fruit scones with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour because I like the earthiness of the whole wheat and the lightness of the all-purpose. This time around, however, I only used all-purpose flour and found it really allowed the dried apricots to take center stage.
I also used real butter since I love the richness and flavor it brings to the scones. You would be equally successful using shortening, but if you do, try to get the butter-flavored shortening so you don't miss out on that lovely flavor and color.
Vanilla might be the traditional extract used in fruit scones, but as I cut up the apricots I remembered that apricot kernels, the small, white insides of the apricot pit, smell just like almonds and have been used for ages to make almond extract.
So I left the vanilla alone and used almond extract instead. It goes wonderfully with apricots and boy, did our little house ever smell good while the scones were baking.
These scones lend themselves to almost any shape from round to square, but I'm partial to triangles, so that's what I chose. If you prefer circles, by all means, get out that round cookie cutter and make them into circles.
Topping and Serving
I hardly used any sugar in these scones because I'm not a big fan of sweet scones and find that the apricots are plenty sweet on their own.
This freed me up to add a crunchy sugar topping without a hint of guilt. I brushed the top of each scone with a well-beaten egg, then sprinkled them with raw sugar.
You could also use granulated sugar, but I really like the large crystals of raw sugar. If a crunchy topping doesn't take your fancy, you could also make a quick glaze with powdered sugar, a splash of milk, and a few drops of almond extract.
Wait until the scones are baked and cooled before drizzling them with glaze. If you do it while they're still warm, the glaze will melt and slide off and puddle on the plate instead of your scone.
My favorite way to eat an apricot scone is still warm from the oven, split in two, and spread thickly with salted butter.
If I'm eating them cooled, I switch from butter to lightly sweetened whipped cream and a thin smear of apricot jam. The next day they're really nice split, buttered, topped with a slice of cheese, and toasted under the broiler just until the cheese is melted.
Apricot Scones Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1 cup dried apricots, diced
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg, beaten
- Raw sugar
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, white sugar, and salt. Add cubed butter and blend with fingers or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add apricots and stir to mix well.
In a large cup add buttermilk, almond extract, and egg. Whisk until smooth. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and toss gently with a fork until flour isn't visible.
Preheat oven to 450.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together gently, pressing into a disk about 1-inch thick. Cut into wedges and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet 1-2 inches apart.
Brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes until scones have risen and the tops are golden.