The other day when I was describing these brown butter scones to Lane, she said, “brown butter is your thing.” It caught me off guard. While I do love the uniquely delicious nutty flavor brown butter provides, and some of my favorite recipes on this blog incorporate it (hello, brown butter ginger cookies), I had never thought about the upscale ingredient as “my thing,” and was a bit shocked at first that someone thought I even had a “thing.” If brown butter really is my thing though, I must be doing something right. ;)
Brown butter scones with apple cider glaze are distinctly fall. The scones on their own would be great any time of the year, but the subtle warm flavor they add combined with the sweet, familiar apple cider taste that envelops them pairs so well with the crisp mornings and the smell of leaves on the ground that only autumn can bring. Between the brown butter and the simmering apple cider, the incredible scents that fill the kitchen are enough to make you want to curl up in a blanket with a mug of hot mulled cider and a book.
I have mentioned before that scones are one of my family’s go-to brunch foods. We make them for almost every holiday and family brunch. While these require a bit more forethought, as the browned butter has to cool and solidify completely before making the scones, they are much easier than most people think. They feel special, and sound difficult, but, with pre-cooled brown butter (I make it the night before), can be made in 30 minutes and always impress your guests.
I think my perfect fall morning would include breakfast in cozy pajamas on the screened in porch, colorful leaves slowly falling from the trees, and these brown butter scones with apple cider glaze. Is that too much to ask? ;)
Brown Butter Scones
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2.5 ounces (about 5 tablespoons) cold brown butter, cut into small cubes*
1 cup cold heavy cream
Turbinado sugar, for topping
Egg Wash | Beat together:
2 tablespoons milk or cream
*2.5 ounces/5 tablespoons is the final amount of butter you will need after it has been browned. When you brown butter, about 20% of your original amount evaporates, so to get to 2.5 ounces/5 tablespoons of brown butter I started with about 6 ½ teaspoons of regular butter
To brown the butter:
In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook it, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning, until it turns brown, stops foaming, and smells nutty. Don’t leave the butter unattended after it melts – the browning process happens quickly.
Pour the browned butter into a wide dish (I used a glass food storage container) and let the browned butter cool completely. The thinner your butter is in the dish, the quicker it will cool.
After your brown butter has cooled:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using two knifes, a pastry cutter, or a food processor, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are about the size of peas. You don’t want to mix the butter too much, otherwise your scones will not be as fluffy. If your butter has gotten warmer throughout this process, put the bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes, or until the butter is cold and firm again.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the cream. With a fork, stir the cream into the dry ingredients until the dough just comes together.
Scrape the scone dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Bring the dough together with your hands, then pat the dough into a 1-inch thick round. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6-8 wedges, like you would cut a pie. Transfer the wedges onto your prepared baking sheet. With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash mixture and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar.
Bake the scones for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Apple Cider Glaze
1 cup apple cider
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the cider has been reduced by half. Stir in the butter, cinnamon, salt, and ½ cup powdered sugar until everything is combined and there are no clumps. To thicken, add the remaining powdered sugar. Keep in mind the glaze will thicken as it cools as well.