Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cherry-Almond Scones

This recipe came from Mama Hartshorne, aka Peter's mom. For some reason, I think of these as 'Norwegian' scones, not just because she's Norwegian, but also because the almond flavor of these scones remind me of the Norwegian wedding cake that she made for our wedding. This traditional Norwegian wedding cake is made with almond paste and it is so moist and dense and delicious! And these scones remind me of that same yummy Norwegian almond flavor. Hence, I will call these 'Mama Hartshorne's Norwegian Scones'. 

Peter's dad loves to spend mornings at the coffee shop enjoying a good cup of joe and a scone. One of the scones he frequently enjoys are cherry-almond scones. I think this was the inspiration for this recipe; and he is the one that really urged me to try baking these scones that his wife makes :) The nutty, fragrant almond extract compliments the sweet-tart flavor of the cherries in these scones. It is SO good and so easy, now I must urge you to try it for yourself too! 

Recipe (for 4 large scones): 

  • 1 3/4 cups Flour
  • 3 generous Tablespoons Sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Butter, COLD and cut into about 1 cm-squared cubes
  • 1 Egg, cold
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 5 Tablespoons of cold, Fat Free, Half and Half  **(traditionally, this is heavy cream, but I like to use milk or half & half as healthier substitutes. The half & half results in even more dense and rich scones in comparison to scones made with milk that end up a little lighter. However, you can use whichever you prefer: Heavy Cream, Half & Half, or Milk :)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cherries
  • 1 oz. sliced or slivered Almonds for topping
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon skim milk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (this is in place of sifting the ingredients): 

Then take your already cubed butter out of the fridge and mix it into your flour mixture until the butter pieces break down into smaller pieces and your mixture looks somewhat crumbly. 
I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer to make my dough, but I also used a fork here to help cut the butter into the flour better.
**(You want to cube your butter ahead of time and put it right back into the fridge otherwise it will warm and soften if you take it out and handle it to cut it right before it goes into your dough. It is important that the cold ingredients are cold when they go into the dough because this helps the scones to puff in the oven and come out big and flakey.)

After your butter is well combined into the crumbly flour mixture, fit your Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook and add in the egg, then the almond extract, and finally 1 tablespoon at a time of the half & half while the dough is mixing.

When your dough has come together, fold in the dried cherries:

Shape your dough into a circle, slice it into quarters, and arrange them on a parchment paper or silpat covered baking sheet. Paint them with an egg wash (one egg + 1 Tbsp milk) or some of your half & half (like I did this time); sprinkle with some sugar and some sliced almonds

and bake for 20 minutes or so until the top and edges just barely start to golden.

Then transfer to a cooling rack, and drizzle with your almond glaze:

And enjoy with a smooth, nutty cup of coffee (like a nutty Columbian roast) to compliment these rich cherry-almond scones!

And of course we had to deliver a few to Mama and Papa Hartshorne :)

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