The other day I sat out on my porch, contemplating the aging process. When you’re a kid, “old” can mean anything from 13 to 100. When you’re a teenager, “old” seems like oh, say . . . 30. And then, suddenly one day you’re sitting on your porch realizing that it’s 7 PM and you’re already nodding. You can no longer eat pizza into the wee hours and slush it down with can after can of Dr. Pepper. You and your friends get together and talk about . . . sickness. haha. You realize that you’d pick comfortable shoes over pretty ones, any day of the week. And that’s when you realize it. Somewhere between lollipops and The Price is Right . . . that crafty Old Age is catching up to you. And you also realize, as you settle more deeply into your comfy chair . . . that it might not really be such a bad thing. 😉
So when the sleepies hit, and you’re sitting there watching Jeopardy in your comfy recliner and you get the itch for a little something sweet with your cup of tea, may I humbly recommend a Cherry Almond scone? Scones are the sweet, reliable snack that you can have for breakfast as you yawn through your coffee, or the perfect little pick me up after a long day. They are flaky but sturdy, with just a kiss of sweet. I don’t think I’ve ever met a scone I didn’t like. And after trying these, I think you’ll like them, too! 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Cherry Almond Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter or margarine, chilled
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Extra white chocolate chips for drizzling, optional
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in cold butter and stir in beaten egg, sour cream, and vanilla. When dough comes together gently stir in white chips, and then fold in cherries as gently as you can without stirring too much. Place dough on a floured surface and pat into a round. Cut into 8 triangles and place on silpat lined baking sheet. Brush each scone with egg wash and top with almond slices (egg wash is 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water– it just helps the almonds to “cement” onto the scone and not fall off after baking). Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until scones are golden brown and pass the toothpick test. When scones have cooled, drizzle with melted white chocolate and allow to dry before serving.
Now, in pictures! ?
Scones are technically a quick bread. Like, if you came to the quick bread family reunion, you would see biscuits, banana bread, zucchini bread . . . maybe even strawberry shortcake sitting at the table, gabbing. Scones are in that family, too– the British cousins. 😉 Quick breads are called that because they are, well, “Quick” to put together, as opposed to yeast doughs which take hours from start to finish. In fact, the whole process is so quick that you *just* might find that you have fresh scones sitting out for breakfast tomorrow morning, and then you’ll snap your fingers and have another batch. You’re so talented. 😉
Start out by whisking together your dry ingredients. This just makes sure that your leavener (baking powder) gets evenly distributed, so that each little scone can have an uplifting day. 😉
Now, let’s talk fat. *looks around suspiciously.* WHO are you calling FAT????
Naw. We are talking baking fat. 🙂 Anytime you make a biscuit/scone type baked good, you want to make sure that your butter is cold when you put it into the dry ingredients. At this point, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Yeahhhh, you could use 2 knives. Or a fork. Or you could use a sword, if you wanted to. It’s a free country, after all.
But I have found, baking so many scones that it’s embarrassing, that nothing “cuts in” butter like the Perfect Pie Blender (get it here). A few pushes with this little baby and your chilled butter is in perfect, pea-sized clumps and ready to shake and bake for you. You’re so welcome.
Next, add in your wet ingredients. This part takes some muscle, because the dough is stiff. I find it’s easiest to use a wooden spoon and make, like, the motion of a horse pawing the ground. You don’t have to completely mix– just basically get the dough together. If you mix the life out of it the scones will be tough. A few clumps of flour are OK.
Next, add in your chopped cherries and white chocolate chips. Anytime you add fruit to a stiff dough, you just basically want to fold the dough over on itself, a few times. That way you don’t crush the fruit too much. Just kind of fold it over and double it a few times, and the fruit will be incorporated enough. Don’t stress.
At this point, dump the whole ‘shebang out onto a floured surface and either pat it into a circle about 1″ tall, or a long rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut out 8 triangle wedges and place the triangles on a silpat lined baking sheet. No baker should be without a silpat. They are like reusable parchment paper– and absolutely nothing sticks to them. I never bake without them.
This part is optional, but I highly recommend it. Make an egg wash.
I’m sorry– what? White wash, I’ve heard of. But egg wash?
Egg wash is 1 egg beaten together with about a teaspoon of water. When you brush baked goods (like, say, pie crust or bread) with egg wash prior to baking, it leaves a shiny, golden brown crust. Yes. If you want your baked goods to look like bronzed supermodels on a Florida beach, then egg wash is your friend.
But another, not as well known trick is that egg wash can also become like a “baking glue.” If you get frustrated that the nuts, or oatmeal, or whatever you want to stick to the top of your bread or baked goods fall off, then brush your dough with egg wash before adding them. After you use egg wash, those pieces ain’t goin’ anywhere. 😉
Brush each scone lightly with cement . . . er, I mean, egg wash, and sprinkle some sliced almonds on top. I lightly press the nuts into the scone, but that’s also optional. This country is so free, that you can make all your own decisions about that. You are FREE to do so. Lovely, isn’t it? 😉
Bake the scones at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and done in the center. You can either check that with the toothpick test, or just press on one. If it’s fairly solid, they are done.
Put the pretty little lovelies on a cooling rack and let them, you guessed it . . . cool. If you want to, drizzle some white chocolate over the tops. It just adds a little extra sweetness which can help if your fruit was a little tart to begin with. *Note drizzling your scones on the silpat is also a great idea, because you can wipe off the mess. No cleanup necessary. I’m telling you. You need a silpat in your life, like, yesterday.
Of course, I *should* tell you to “wait until the scones are completely cool. Don’t burn yourself. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.”
But we both know that would be ludicrous. I mean, is there anything better than a warm scone, fresh from the oven, and a steaming cup of tea? Curl into the couch and watch Alex scorn the Jeopardy candidates who don’t know the answers. Chuckle and pretend you’re smarter than they are. Fabulous, isn’t it? “Scones for $200, Alex?”
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you. 🙂
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