A Pinterest-Worthy Dessert Anyone Can Make

Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Conrad.
This story is from lifestyle blogger Jess Keys of The Golden Girl. You might remember seeing Jess modeling on LaurenConrad.com here and here. Today, Keys is sharing a recipe for Apple Brandy Shortcakes. Enjoy!

It’s Jess here, and today I’m pretty excited to share one of my favorite winter dessert recipes with you. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but this month still feels as sweet as ever. And, with that said, there’s no reason you can’t have your cake and eat it too even though the love-filled holiday is over. That’s where this dessert — with it’s sinfully sweet mix of cinnamon, apples, and a hint of brandy — comes in. Apple cinnamon shortcakes with a brandy caramel drizzle. Swoon.

It’s like the summery strawberry shortcake your mom used to make — but winterized — with a boozy kick. The best part? It’s way easier to make than it looks! Ready to dive in? Here’s how to make it…

Apple Brandy Shortcakes
Serves 6 to 8

For The Shortcakes
Cream scones (slightly modified from America’s Test Kitchen)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream    

For The Apple Topping
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (or more — you can never have too much butter!) 

For The Brandy Caramel Sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

2 tbsp brandy
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract      
Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Conrad.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. 
Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt thoroughly in a large bowl.

2. Cut in butter until mixture is coarse. The easiest way to do this is with a food processor, but you can also mix using your hands. If it’s a bit powdery with some butter lumps, you’re in good shape.

3. Add the cream. (Make sure the bowl you’re using is big enough. If it's not, transfer to a larger one.) Stir with a spatula for about 30 seconds or so, and you’ll notice the dough begin to form. There will still be some dry bits in there, but those are no biggie. Transfer it all out onto a surface covered with flour.

4. Knead dough by hand until it comes together. It should be sticky and rough (not like the smooth cookie dough you’re used to).

5. Form the scones (Admittedly, I did this by rolling it out flat and using the top of a rocks cocktail glass to form them. No shame here. I live with roommates; we don’t have room for things like biscuit cutters!) You can also use a knife and cut the dough into wedges, but I think they’re cuter when they’re round!

6. Place those little lumps of goodness onto a baking sheet, and bake 12­15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure you cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

For The Apple Topping
1. Dice the apples, and heat butter in a large pan. Add the apples, and sauté until they begin to soften.

2. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, and cook on low until the apples are cooked through, but still slightly firm.

For The Brandy Caramel Sauce
1. Bring the sugar and a small bit of water (about 1/4 cup) to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is a deep brown.

2. Turn heat down to low, and add the butter until well mixed. Follow with the cream, brandy, vanilla, and cinnamon, stirring well, another five minutes or so, until smooth and caramel is at desired thickness.

3. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes to cool.

To Serve:
Halve the shortcakes, filling liberally with apples in the middle (add more apples on top, if you’re feeling extra indulgent). Finish with the brandy caramel drizzle. Homemade whipped cream is also highly encouraged.

Prepare for plate licking to ensue. And enjoy!

What sweet treats did you indulge in this past weekend?

Thanks to Jess for sharing!

XO Team LC

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