2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size chunks
1 cup moist dried apricot halves, snipped into quarters
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon apricot essence (see notes)
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon rind
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
6 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, moderately heavy cookie sheet or rimmed sheet pan with a length of ovenproof kitchen parchment paper.
For the dough, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Drop in the chunks of butter and, using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the fat into small bits. With your fingertips, randomly reduce the bits to smaller flakes (this should take no more than 30 seconds). Add the apricot pieces and coconut, and toss lightly to combine. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg, lemon extract, apricot essence (if you are using it), lemon rind, and buttermilk. Pour the whisked mixture over the flour-apricot mixture, and stir to form a dough, using a wooden spoon or paddle. Using your fingers, work the dough to incorporate any drier patches at the bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough in the bowl lightly until it comes together; this should take 30 to 45 seconds.
Turn the dough onto a work surface, and form into a lightly domed 6-inch round. Cut the round into 6 triangular scones, using a long chef’s knife. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 3 inches apart, using a small offset metal spatula for lifting them.
For the finish, sprinkle a little sugar on top of each scone.
Bake the scones in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until risen, set, and light golden on top. The undersides of the scones will be a deeper golden color.
Slip an offset metal spatula under the scones and transfer to cooling racks. Cool completely. Store in an airtight bread or cake keeper.
on baking day, or up to one day in advance, stored in an enclosed container
◊ apricot essence adds a rounded flavor and tantalizing aroma to the quick bread dough
◊ one-half cup of wide-flake coconut adds a soft tropical flavor to the dough, and plays texturally against the apricot segments; if you are using the coconut, add it along with the apricots
◊ never consume raw dough