Dried Cherry Buttermilk Scones
March 2, 2008
My friend Maggie, who left Chicago for a year (that turned into almost a year-and-a-half, ahem) in London, is about to return to our fair city. So she’s back this week for repatriation, which, so far as I can tell, involves hitting up all her favorite American restaurants and stores and visiting family and friends for 10 days. In other words, I need to look into this repatriation thing.
With Maggie back in town, the weekend was full of festivities. After a boisterous welcome home dinner on Friday night, during which we may or may not have been over-served, we had a potentially ill-conceived brunch slated for Saturday morning. At 9:30. Yes, 9:30. We were all a little bleary eyed (curiously, the apparently jet-lag-immune Maggie was in the best shape of all of us), but the brunch came off without a hitch. Brynn, our hostess, was taking care of the meal (pictures coming soon!), but asked me to bring some sort of a baked good. You know, brunch dessert.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
Blissfully, the recipe I had picked out earlier in the week came together very easily on Saturday morning (thanks to several cups of coffee). But just as I was swabbing the soon-to-be-baked wedges with buttermilk, I realized that I was baking scones for someone who’s been living in the land of scones for over a year. Oops. So much for repatriation.
Luckily, Maggie assured me she wasn’t sconed out. And we all enjoyed these scones, which were buttery, tender and almondy, nearly every bite punctuated by a sour dried cherry. I think they would’ve been lovely draped with a simple powdered sugar glaze. But, frankly, I just wasn’t up for it.
Dried Cherry Buttermilk Scones
1/2 cup buttermilk plus 1/4 cup for brushing the scones
1 large egg
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup dried sour cherries (available at specialty foods shops)all-purpose flour, for sprinkling on the counter
raw sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
In a bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, the egg, the brown sugar, and the vanilla until the mixture is combined well. In another bowl stir together the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt and blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cherries and the buttermilk mixture with a fork until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough.
Knead the dough gently for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface, pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick round, and cut it into 8 wedges. On an ungreased baking sheet brush the wedges with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and sprinkle them with the granulated sugar. Bake the scones in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.