Breakfast Muffins + Scones

roasted apple scones with ginger

The month of September is usually a space of transition for me. So many times it has started out that way: grade school, college, moving, marriage, new jobs, more moving, and third trimesters. I usually look forward to this season of life, eager for something new, something different. Maybe it’s the time of year – summer and autumn intertwine for a few short weeks; the leaves are starting to get lazy high up in their trees; they are itching to let go, let the wind take them. There are apples to pick, new routines, less time in the day. There is a faint humming: everyone chanting change under their breath, picking up pace, moving so fast.

But this time round I’ve just felt stuck. There was a glimmer of change, but it is still hovering around on standby, and I’m not really moving anywhere. Oddly enough it makes me feel rather rebellious as I watch everyone starting fresh, going forward. I want to chant my own words, things like slow down, and just be, and don’t try so hard. I don’t want to keep up; I’m overwhelmed at this fast-paced culture as it is. Right now I’m just trying to figure out how to be grounded.

So I’ve been looking for anchors. I found them, nearby:
my husband’s arms
my son’s hand
my daughter singing
baking a pie
cutting my hair
roasting tomatoes
reading a book
holding a door
eating an apple

And there, lost in the crisp, white crunch of a Gala, I realized that while so much of time is spent wrestling and questioning and dreaming and scheming, the simple acts of eating touching holding being connect me to this giant circle we all call home more than anything else. Simplicity keeps these feet steady, balanced. Simplicity takes off the pressure, clears the mind. Simplicity walks us home, brings us to the door we’ve been trying so hard to find.So I’m going to just keep reaching for apples. And I will eat them slowly, bite by bite.

If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable. – Rainer Maria Rilke 

Roasted Apple Scones with Ginger
These scones are definitely more ‘American’: a little extra butter and egg make these more on the cake-y side. But, well, that’s the way I like them. This recipe is tweaked from the Barefoot Contessa; over the years I’ve decreased the amount of butter and eggs, and added a little sour cream.

1 large or 2 small baking apples
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
10 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced very small
heavy cream for brushing
1-2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core the apple[s], then cut them into slices, about 8 [I used an apple corer]. Place them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake them until they are starting to color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes [they will not be fully baked]  Set them aside to cool completely.

When apples have cooled, coarsely dice 1 cup worth.

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl [or food processor]. Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, until butter is pea-sized [or pulse in the food processor]. Whisk together heavy cream, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Pour over the flour mixture and mix until almost combined. Add apples and crystallized ginger, and mix until combined. Turn mixture out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, form into an 8-inch circle that is 1 inch thick. Cut circle into 8 even pieces, and brush tops with a little heavy cream. Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bottom of the scones are golden brown.

  • Reply
    Rachel E Molder
    Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    What a lovely post that is so appropriate for 2020, so happy to have found your book 100 cookies and this blog!

  • Reply
    Monday, June 17, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    I found this dough to be much too crumbly and wish I had trusted my gut and added a bit more liquid before trying to shape and bake the scones. A few came out OK but several crumbled while baking. Anybody else have this issue? I’m usually a pro scone maker.

  • Reply
    Sue Sheriff
    Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I really love roasted apple scones with ginger and I also love homemade food. It is so amazing that it can help me so much. thank for your share. it ‘s very helpful.

  • Reply
    Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 5:49 am

    wonderful words straight into my heart. It’s a bit my current feeling .. looking for simplicity a bit lost in a fast daily life. thank you for this anchor today – xo Susanne

  • Reply
    Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Here’s a link that really helped me. Cheerios, Rose

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 2:30 am

      Hi Rose-
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and links! I will check them out this week. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Yes, September is about transitions….and these scones are about transitions too…bridging two culinary traditions.

  • Reply
    Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 1:54 am

    September does have that transition persona, doesn’t it? I’m sorry you’re feeling stuck, friend. Excited to see where it diverts or uplifts the next parts of your path, though. That unstuck feeling only feels so sweet when we know what the stuck part is actually all about, huh? Keeping you in the light. xo

  • Reply
    Friday, September 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I love love love the photos in this, especially the butter and the egg. Beautiful.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    So, so lovely.

  • Reply
    vanilla bean blog
    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you Charlotte! Being in nature helps me, too. Let me know if you make them!

  • Reply
    charlotte au chocolat
    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Oh, these photos are so gorgeous! I’m struggling to feel grounded now, too. Going on walks and looking at the beauty surrounding me opens my heart to the moment, and helps me anchor myself to the present. Looking forward to trying these scones!

  • Reply
    Jenny @ BAKE
    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I love your ingredient portraits and these scones look delicious!

  • Reply
    la domestique
    Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 2:53 am

    These scones look so good! We’ve had a lot of indecision in our house lately and I’ve been struggling with the unknown, feeling a bit lost. Focusing on the simple things is a good way to stay grounded. Love that quote from Rainer Maria Rilke.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      I really love Rainer Maria Rilke. His words have been so good for me this year.

  • Reply
    lisa heaner
    Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 2:13 am

    anchors. settling in to the gentleness and loveliness of a life lived slowly. yes, please. i’ll bring the tea. you bring the scones.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      That sounds like an OTR song. You be the sea, I’ll be the sky. Almost the same thing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    These scones sound perfect for an early fall breakfast! I’m so excited to see the real apples returning to the markets. 🙂

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I think that society puts so much pressure on us to always be moving forward, to achieve more, to reach the next goal that actually we forget to sit back and just enjoy the journey. Everyone could do with more simplicity in their lives.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      I agree! So much pressure. I do wish for more simplicity.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I’m the same way. The same feeling. The same sense of transition. The same need to slow down and simplify. The same……

  • Reply
    marissa at the boot
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    i feel so at peace after reading your words! the photos are beautiful (understatement) and i love the mantra behind the post: let’s all slow down a bit.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Wonderful post, Sarah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve convinced myself to slow down and just be. More often than not, I’ve been figuring out where time has gone because it seems to move too fast. I want (and probably need) to slow down.

    Also, these scones look perfect.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you, Erin. It’s hard to slow down! I have to convince myself a lot, too.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Your writing and photography are both so beautiful. I am always inspired when I see your work. I have no signs of transition or newness this time of year, but after so many years of change in September I kind of wish for something different this time of year. You’re right, though, it is nice to enjoy things as they are while everyone else is switching gears.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much Anna! I appreciate your kind words.

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Usually I’m all “transition, change, new, wooo!” this time of year, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly stuck too. In a creative rut, like I’m not moving forward/progressing. I know that I’m working too much, so what you say about slowing down is alarmingly true. Time to get lost in the doing and the feeling once more.

    And I would like one of these yummy scones please 🙂

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      I totally feel in a rut, too. It’s nice to slow down and put everything on hold for a bit; just be. And I wish I could share them with you!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

    These look super fabulous! Gotta love apple and ginger 🙂

  • Reply
    Melissa@Julias Bookbag
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 5:23 am

    this was a beautiful post! calm, calm, breathe, breathe — I’ve been telling myself that a lot lately…:)

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you Melissa. Those are good things to chant. 🙂

  • Reply
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Love this. Love that Rilke quote. I know it’s hard, sometimes, to turn off the noise that impels us to always speed up, but I hope that you can, at least for a little while. 🙂

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      Thank you Kimberley. I hope I can, too. I’m sure going to try.

  • Reply
    Local Milk
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:10 am

    We really were thinking along the same lines. I too struggle with feeling overwhelmed by the pace of our culture. Sometimes it’s paralyzing. I think it’s one of the great human struggles to stay present in the moment and not get caught in the riptides of the past/future… I believe those riptides are the sole source of stress, worry, and feeling over whelmed. So yes, being grounded. Always trying to stay grounded. Baking is good for that. The best, I think. Ok. Enough philosopiesing (ha! pun achieved! sorry, i couldn’t help myself. it’s like a tick…)

    Egg photo. Ginger photo. Scone on tray photo. Awesome. The latter kinda reminds me of a mug shot. But of scones. Seriously. Great work. And nice transition into fall… apples.. ginger… pastries. I wish it was breakfast time all the time. Me & Ron Swanson.

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you, Beth. And the fact that you love Ron Swanson makes me like you even more. 🙂

  • Reply
    leaf (the indolent cook)
    Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:04 am

    I like the minimalistic photos of the ingredients. The scones look delicious – can’t go wrong with that flavour profile!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you! And yes, apple + ginger is a good combo. 🙂

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