I glanced at the digital clock on the stove: 4:15 pm. With just over an hour before our road trip to the city for sushi and crêpes with my mom, I laced up my raspberry red running shoes and shook the leash at our dog. “Want to go for a walk?”
Strapped inside her harness, she trotted down the driveway with her tongue hanging out and her ears perked up like little periscopes. She stopped to sniff every single leaf at the park and on neighbors’ lawns—no easy feat, now that fall finally hit—and I constantly chided her to hurry up. Come on. Let’s go!
At 15 pounds, our Little Lady’s legs can only walk so far before plopping down to rest (or sunbathe), so I hustled to start another longer loop around the bike path after dropping her off at home. Only a quarter-mile into it, a bony chestnut-colored dog bounded up to me and nuzzled my leg. No owners in sight, I sat on the street with the dog, scratching behind his long curly ears while dialing the number on his tag.
I reached the SPCA.
(A little soapbox speech to dog owners: please please please put your cell phone number on your pooch’s tags! Not the vet, the kennel, or your home phone. If your dog escapes while you’re on vacation and the sitter isn’t staying at your house, your cell number will be much more useful!)
I next called my favorite number, and a few minutes later, my guy appeared with our Little Lady’s leash. The moment I clipped it onto Ol’ Chestnut’s collar, he sprinted off down the street, practically pulling my shoulder out of its socket as he went. (And he was only 20 pounds!)
After a few houses, I picked a random door to knock on, and the gentleman explained that Chestnut Charlie lived at the two-story place to his left. I returned my new friend to his slightly scatterbrained owner, who then closed the door and offered him a milk bone treat.
At least, that’s what I want to believe! If I ran around the neighborhood streets for an entire afternoon, I’d crave a snack the moment I started up my driveway. A sweet snack. Full of spices.
Like these Caramel Apple Scones!
The dry ingredients are fairly predictable: all-purpose and whole-wheat flours (for extra fiber and nutrients!), baking powder, cinnamon (don’t skimp!), salt, and brown sugar. I opted for brown sugar instead of granulated because it adds an extra hint of caramel to the dough.
Next comes the butter. Be sure it’s chilled and cubed (about ¼” squares) before cutting it into the dry ingredients! This creates a light, airy texture inside of your scones (and won’t clog your fork tines or pastry cutter). To make these scones healthier, I used very little butter and substituted skim milk plus lots of protein-packed Greek yogurt instead. The Greek yogurt keeps the insides moist, and due to the extra vanilla extract, the scones still taste slightly buttery!
Before baking the scones, you’ll generously brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. The combination of these two creates a crisp crusty exterior, which contrasts with the soft moist interior. And after a sweet drizzle of caramel syrup, your scones are ready to serve!
From start to finish, these Caramel Apple Scones barely take 45 minutes to make: 15 minutes to mix the dough, 15 minutes to bake, and 10-15 (agonizing) minutes to cool for the drizzle. Plus you only end up with one bowl to wash. So simple!
I nibbled on mine in the afternoon with a warm mug of coffee while curled up on the couch, and the remaining scones with their lines of golden caramel tempted me to eat breakfast for dinner later. With that many juicy apple chunks, I still would’ve justified it as a healthy meal!