Cherry-Almond Scones


My good friend gave me a cookbook for Christmas this year (and yes, I opened it already, but with her permission), and there were some scone recipes in it that I just had to try out. The first one, a cherry-almond scone recipe which was pretty good. I didn’t take pictures this time, so you’ll have to just make do with picturing it in your mind. Despite the long list of ingredients, these were simple to throw together.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
10 tbsp cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or non-dairy margarine or butter)
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds, toasted
1 cup buttermilk (or soymilk)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
About 1/4 cup heavy cream (or soymilk), for brushing

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Whisk all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup, combine 1 cup buttermilk, the vanilla and almond extracts and set aside.

3. Add the chopped up, cold butter to the dry ingredients and work in with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Add the sliced almonds and dried cherries to the butter and dry ingredients mixture.

5. Add the buttermilk and extracts to the dry mixture and stir until the ingredients just come together. Then turn out onto a lightly floured countertop, give it another knead so that it sticks together, and flatten into a 10-inch round. With a knife or bench scraper, cut into eight triangles.

6. Place the scones on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and brush generously with the heavy cream. If desired, you can sprinkle some sugar on top.

7. Put in the oven and bake at 425ºF for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking pan, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake until golden brown on top, about 15 more minutes.

8. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Results:
I was pleased with these scones. They were simple to throw together, and had a great taste. A bit chunky what with the almonds and cherries, but not overly so. If I made them again, and I probably will, I would omit the lemon zest. I’m not a fan of lemon, personally, and I could just taste the lemon in there. It didn’t add to the flavor for me, so I would definitely leave that out next time.

Dairy-free Update, 2013:
I made these scones for a friend with a dairy allergy by substituting soy milk and Nucoa for the buttermilk/cream and butter, respectively. They turned out just as good as the dairy version.

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