Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cherry White Chocolate Almond Scones

These delicious scones are made with butter, thus creating a wonderful crust and tender, flaky center. Then, they are sweetened with a touch of almond extract (my fave!). Throw in white chocolate chips, dried cherries and almonds to add a sweet, tangy, nutty and wonderful flavor.

Cherry White Chocolate Almond Scones

Cherry, white chocolate, almond scones. Say it three times fast! It might seem like a mouthful, but you won't complain once a bite of these tender, flaky, flavor-packed scones hits your taste buds. In fact, the only thing you will be able to do is stuff your mouth FULL of them.

I became very addicted to scones when I worked in a bakery/ice cream parlor during high school. Thank goodness for cheerleading and the sweet (and missed) metabolism of a teenager. I have no idea how I stayed in shape while eating baked goodies and ice cream for dinner four times a week....

 The local bakery I worked for was a cheat though. They didn't make their scones from scratch. Yet, they were still delicious. However, after experiencing homemade scones from much higher quality bakeries, I became determined to create my own perfect scone recipe.

This wasn't easy. There are endless ingredients and factors that influence the texture of a scone. Finding that perfect balance to get the slightly crisp outside, tender, flaky center, and sweet, sweet flavor was a challenge. Today, I share with you a wonderful scone recipe.

Keep in mind, you can switch out ingredients as you wish. I've made these with macadamia nuts, you could add any fruit you'd like. Just be sure to avoid "over-stuffing" your scone. Keep your "extras" in ratio to what the recipe calls for. Like a cookie, your scone won't be able to hold up to an abundance of extras and will fall apart while baking.

Almonds, Cherries, White Chocolate Chips
  • If you change out the chips, fruit, etc., do not add more than 1 cup (combined), see my ratio. 
  • Freeze your butter, then grate it using the large holes of a cheese grater. Frozen butter is the key to a tender and moist scone. 
  • Avoid handling the dough too much. The heat from your hands will warm the butter, and you don't want warm butter.
  • If your dough seems too sticky or you know the butter has gotten warm while you prepared your scones, pop the dough in the fridge or freezer to firm it up. 
  •  These scones are easy (and great) to freeze. Simply complete the recipe, all the way up to the baking step. Cut apart the scones, in triangle shapes, arrange on a baking sheet, freeze for one hour, then transfer to a freezer bag. When ready to bake, simply place desired scones on lined baking sheet and bake according to directions below. 
  • I always recommend a drizzle of white chocolate on top of these scones, because, well, why not?
  • If you are not serving these scones fresh, I recommend baking them in as one large round (slightly cut), see further instructions below. This will help keep them moist. 
  • Store in an air-tight container with one or two slices of bread (to add moisture) for 2-4 days. 
Cherry White Chocolate Almond Scones

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time:  12-15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), frozen
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Additional 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for topping (optional)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle a cutting board with flour and set aside.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk. Using the large holes of a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon, then use fingers to grind butter into the flour mixture, creating a coarse meal (about one minute).

Step 3: Add cherries, white chocolate chips and almonds to flour mixture and stir to combine. Note, if replacing add-ins, make sure to only add one cup. Using any fresh or frozen fruit may vary the texture and baking time of these scones. 

Step 4: In a small, separate bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and egg until smooth, then add in the almond extract. Make a well in the center of your flour mixture and add the egg mixture to flour. Use a fork to stir together the dry and liquid mixes, the batter may seem dry, then use your hands to full incorporate the the wet ingredients into the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure to stir up the dry ingredients from the bottom. Work the batter with your hands for a minute until a ball of dough forms.

Step 5: Turn dough out onto a floured cutting board. Shape into a flat, round shape, until about 3/4 inch thick. If serving immediately, use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 equal wedges. Separate the wedges and place 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden brown. The centers of the scones should not sink when you lightly press their tops.

If not serving immediately, use knife to score the dough into 8 wedges, but make sure to not cut all the way through the bottom of the dough. Transfer the round to the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

Optional: To make the white chocolate drizzle, simply microwave 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for 1 minute, stir, and microwave additional 30 seconds, if needed. Use a fork or butter knife to drizzle/fling the chocolate onto the each scone. This doesn't have to be perfect. I flick my chocolate onto the scone using a fork.   :)

*Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction
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