Scones are often, for lack of a better term, boring. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of bad scones out there. Dry, flavorless, chalky things that you can’t swallow without submersing them in coffee first. A sad thing too, because when you stumble upon a truly good scone, it’s as good on its own as with a cup of coffee.
I had such a scone last month when I was invited to visit the Panera Bread test kitchens in New Haven, Connecticut. We (myself and five other talented baking bloggers) sampled a slew of head chef Tom Gumpel’s pastries, from croissants to bread pudding to homemade pop tarts, and I almost passed up the scones completely in an effort to preserve valuable stomach space. But I’m glad I didn’t, because they were perhaps the best scones I’ve ever had in my life. Light and tender on the inside, moist yet fluffy, with a delightful crispy outside. And let’s not forget the fact that a thumbprint scone is downright brilliant.
This recipe is adapted from Tom’s strawberries and cream scone recipe, with apricot in place of the strawberry elements. Unlike scones I’ve made in the past, the texture of these was spot on and is probably what makes these scones stand apart from their imposter cousins who would be better off as hockey pucks than breakfast pastries.
The scone itself couldn’t be simpler, little more than flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and heavy cream, more like a cream biscuit than anything, which could be the secret behind the perfect texture. White chocolate chunks, vibrant orange flecks of dried apricots, and a filling of thickened apricot jam round out this delightful scone.
You could certainly try Tom’s original version with dried strawberries and strawberry jam, or any other jam/fruit combo (thickening a typical jam with a bit of cornstarch gives it added structure so it won’t melt and leak out during the baking process), or you could swap out the white chocolate for chocolate chips, perhaps, or even fold in a bit of cinnamon and some raisins (if you’re in to that kind of thing… me, personally, I’ll stick to the chocolate).
Apricots and Cream Thumbprint Scones
- 1 cup apricot jam
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 tesapoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup dried apricots, diced into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate chunks
- half & half or cream, for brushing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- In a small saucepan, melt apricot jam over medium heat. Whisk cornstartch with 1 tablespoon cool water and add to jam. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add heavy cream, apricots, and white chocolate and stir or mix on low speed until evenly moistened. Dough will be very thick and stiff.
- Using an ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop, portion equal sized scoops onto prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches of space betwen them.
- Make a deep impression into the center of each scone using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of thickened apricot jam into each impression.
- Lightly brush the outsides of scones (not the jam) with half and half or cream. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until bottoms are brown and tops are lightly golden. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe from Panera chef Tom Gumpel.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
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I just made these today (Christmas morning) and they were absolutely delicious! I’ve never made scones before and have been meaning to give them a try, so when I came across this recipe I was intrigued. I, however, made them as regular scones, and skipped the white chocolate and I have to say these were some of the best scones I’ve had! The texture was spot on, they were moist and fluffy. This is going to be my go to scone recipe!
I am so glad you enjoyed them! They really changed my perspective on scones entirely. :) And yes, the recipe is super flexible to turn into just about any flavor you might imagine!
Made these today, and they qualified for the “Super-Yummy” category in my Tried and True recipe index!
This looks delicious!!! I’ll definitely make this recipe some time next week. :D
These look so great – I’ve been wondering about new ways to spice up an ordinary scone!
I love thumbprint cookies (there is something so delightful about them, especially when they are mini ones!). Thumbprint scones? Brilliant! Thank you for sharing!
WOWWWWW. These are fabulous. Just came out of oven. My go to scone was Ina’s cranberry orange which calls for three cubes of butter. They are delicious and moist too. Wasn’t sure how cream fat would be but they are just so perfect!! Helpful hint…I brushed scones with cream before I added jam to avoid touching the jam. THANK YOU LINDSAY!!
I know what you mean about finding a good scone! These look like a winner! :)
I love the idea of having the jam with the scone already! Can’t wait to try them.
Scones are just lovely! These look delightful! I’ve never made thumbprint ones, but I love the idea! That day at Panera sounds like a blast! I never knew it was so close to me!
You’re totally right about scones! They cane be AWFUL and dry and chalky–but when they’re good, oh they’re so good. These look amazing!
A thumbprint scone IS brilliant, can’t wait to make some! Boring, dry scones are such a disappointment, and these look anything but.
Divine scones. Love the apricot jam.
I’m not big on scones, but these definitely look delightful!
Beautiful apricots cream thumbprint scones. Scones are one of my favorite sweets. I eat them as often as possible and make very good scones too. Every time I go to Panera I order the Orange Scone, I love Panera’s sweets, but the scones are insanely good. Next time you get invited to visit Panera, please ask if you can take a plus one, I love eating at Panera.
These are so pretty and truly my kind of cookie.
I have the same feeling towards scones…they are too dry that no amount of coffee or latte can make me enjoy them. But with your easy recipe and delicious flavor combo, I will have to try them out!
I agree that there are so many bad scones out there. But this one looks fabulous. And the apricots – what an awesome idea.
Such a great idea!! And I love apricots, so much! I love the big thumbprint jelly dollops. Oh yes please! These are gorgeous! pinned!
These look so summery and yummy! I plan on making them for the weekend. I have a slight obsession with apricots right now so these are perfect! ; )
As a displaced Londoner I have spent a lot of time lamenting the lack of perfect scones in the USA (while not actually getting up and making any…) – these look utterly glorious, I plan to make and eat them all before my husband gets home!!
There is little in life that makes me as happy as a perfectly tender, fluffy scone, and these look like absolute perfection. I always spread my with jam, but jam thumbprint? Brilliant, per usual Lindsay!
I never would have thought of combining thumbprint cookies and scones, but I’m totally on board with this hybrid! Looks like they would be great with tea!
I bet these taste amazing, Lindsay! I love how simple they look, but still looks amazing! Cannot wait to give them a try. :)
I’m late to scones in my life. They never appealed to me until I had an amazing one! Now I’m obsessed. These look awesome!
These look incredible, Lindsay! The scones we shared with Tom were mind-blowing. I made the strawberry ones the next week because I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Love the apricots. What a fun day, I hope we can do it again!
Mmm… these scones look delicious. I love the idea of that fruity jammy centre
This would be a wonderful start of the day!
These look amazing! I love the apricot jam :-)
i always have a hard time getting the consistency of scones right.