Some people are snackers, while others make it a policy to never eat in between meals. Of course, some members of the latter group also subscribe to the "six-small-meals-a-day" plan, popularized by Hollywood diet gurus who warned their clients about the dangers of unconsciously over-snacking.
They call it a "small meal." I call it a "scheduled snack." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.
I, for one, am proud to be a snacker, a grazer, a nosher. Since I'm a pretty active person, hunger often strikes at odd hours of the day. And I'm not one of those people who can just ignore my hunger, hoping that it will pass. I need to drop everything and address the dire situation at hand, immediately, if for no reason other than to quiet my very embarrassingly vocal stomach. I might be a snacker, but my stomach is a growler.
My challenge is finding snacks that are both healthy and filling, so I generally stick to a rotation of a handful of options. These include tamari almonds and turkey jerky, sliced carrots and hummus, a mini Golden Spoon fro-yo if I'm out and about, and those 100-calorie Think Thin bars. Most recently, I have become slightly obsessed with those Trader Joe's Wasabi Seaweed Snacks too (feel free to say "Ewww, seaweed." My husband does.) But seriously, they're really yummy, inexpensive, and healthy--the entire package is something like 70 calories. Why, that's a snacking trifecta!
Of course I cannot talk about snacking without mentioning my go-to pre-workout snack, which also used to be one of my favorite after-school snacks, which also occasionally makes a guest appearance as a bedtime snack: apples and peanut butter. I prefer a cold, crisp Granny Smith paired with a salty, natural, crunchy peanut butter (Whole Foods' 365 brand is good), but Honeycrisps and Galas are great too.
Whoever thought up this apples & peanut butter ingredient and flavor combination was nothing short of a genius. Maybe it was an accident, kind of like the old 80s Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercials, where a girl just happened to be walking down the street with an open jar of peanut butter, and the guy was walking towards her with a chocolate bar. And whaddayaknow? They run into each other and then -- eureka! -- awesome new flavor combination. Don't remember that? Here, let me help:
Oh yeah! Those stylin' 80s. Seriously, this has got to be a front-runner for most cheesy commercial ever.
So, anyway, no matter how the apples & peanut butter combination came about, it's one of my favorites. Smearing a tart, juicy apple with some good quality natural peanut butter is not only a nutritious snacking option, it is filling, satisfying, quick, and inexpensive. Why, that's a snacking quint-fecta!
The other day, I was thinking while I was snacking (because I am a multi-tasker.) Despite the fact that apples and peanut butter blend so well together, it is rare that you ever see this flavor combination used in cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other baked goods. Why is that? Does the pairing not translate well to sweet treats such as these? Well, there was only one way to find out.
But what to make? I started to prepare a list of all of the possibilities, which soon became fairly lengthy. In the end, it was between cupcakes and scones. The scones won out, since I already make pretty tasty peanut butter and banana scones, and I was afraid that the cupcake would end up being more of an apple muffin with peanut butter buttercream on top.
Because I have a hard time making scones without adorning them with some sort of topping, I decided to drizzle these guys with a sticky-sweet honey glaze, which just kind of soaks into the top. The scones themselves aren't super sweet, so the glaze was a nice complementary flavor. Technically, you're supposed to allow the glaze to set before eating the scones, but I kept picking at them. That's a good sign!
While these scones probably won't be inducted into my everyday healthy snack rotation, they are definitely up for nomination in the "special occasion" category. Here are a few extra tips for making these two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together treats:
- Tart apples really do work better with the peanut butter and honey flavors. Instead of Granny Smith, you could also use Honeycrisp, which start to become available this time of year.
- The scone dough, once shaped into a disk, can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to 2 weeks or refrigerated overnight. If freezing, thaw the scones overnight in the refrigerator.
- You can also cut the scones into wedges and then wrap and freeze them. That way, you can bake them one at a time!
- If you want to skip the honey glaze, you can use this alternative topping: Before baking, brush the scones with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons buttermilk.) Then, sprinkle the tops of the scones with coarse or Turbinado sugar.
- The scones are definitely best eaten the day that they are prepared!
Honey-Glazed Peanut Butter & Apple Scones
Makes 12 large scones
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ounces cold butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups diced Granny Smith apples
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy -- your choice!)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup honey
About 1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse the mixture several times to blend.
Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse several times, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (you should still be able to see pieces of butter.) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the apple pieces, tossing to mix.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the peanut butter until well blended. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, mixing until just combined and the dough begins to stick together. If the dough is still too dry, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into two rounds, each about 1 1/2-inches thick. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing a few inches apart.
Bake the scones until they are puffed, golden brown, and firm when touched, 20-23 minutes. Allow the scones to cool for a few minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack placed over foil or a baking sheet.
Prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and the honey until blended. Add enough hot water to create a smooth, thick glaze. Whisk in the vanilla.
Drizzle the glaze all over the still warm scones. Allow the glaze to set, at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!