Sour Cherry Vanilla Scones

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During a Spring Break in College, I was lucky enough to visit a friend who was studying abroad in London for a few days.  Flights were cheap and I was young, carefree and didn’t mind sharing a twin bed with my bff.  It was a whirlwind trip filled with museums, pubs and (let’s be honest) more pubs.  One of my very favorite memories of that trip was a visit to Kensington Gardens for High Tea.  It was incandescently girly and where I first tasted fresh, hot scones with clotted cream.  It only took one bite, and I was hooked.

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Scones are one of those glorious baked goods that, when homemade and hot out of the oven are a truly glorious melt-in-your-mouth treat that is lightyears better then what you’ll get at your local coffee shop.  You all know my love for dense, cake-y desserts and, get this, it’s socially acceptable to eat them for breakfast!

On the level of difficulty scale, scones are relatively easy.  They’re crumby, moist and infinitely adaptable with both sweet and savory options.  You can make the dough the night before, pop them in the oven as soon as you wake up and then feed them to a fiancé who will immediately wonder what good he must have done in his past life to deserve you.

I recommend you serve them still warm, with a side of butter, jam, honey or all of the above.  Try to limit yourself to just one a day, m’kay?

*recipe from my favorite bake book, Ovenly.

Ingredients

8 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup dried sour cherries

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream + more for brushing

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Turbinado sugar, for garnish

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F

Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and freeze for 10 minutes before using.

Chop the dried sour cherries into finer, even pieces

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, quickly cut or blend the cold butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal.  the butter pieces should be mostly the size of small pebbles, but some larger pieces are okay.

Using a large fork or wooden spoon, mix the dried cherry cherries into the flour-butter mixture

Add the vanilla extract to the heavy cream and mix to combine.  Stir the cream into the flour-butter mixture with a large wooden spoon or fork until the dough begins to come together.  The flour should not be fully incorporated at this point, and do not overmix.

Transfer the dough and any loose floury bits to a floured countertop or pastry board/mat.

Quickly kneed the dough until it comes fully together and then flatten it with the palms of your hands into a 3/4 inch thick mound (the shape does not matter at this point).  Fold the dough in half, give it a quarter turn and then flatten it again.  Repeat this process three more times.

Flour your surface once more, and then shape the dough into a 3/4 inch thick round that is 6 inches in diameter.  Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into 4 equal triangles.  Then cut those in half to make 8 even triangles.  Place the triangles on an engrossed rimmed sheet pan.

At this point, it’s recommended you place the rimmed sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.  This will help the scones firm up and retain their shape during baking.  If baking right away, brush the cream and top with turbinado sugar.  Or, if freezing, brush with cream and top with turbaned sugar just before baking.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the scones comes out clean.  Cool the scones on a wire rack.  Serve warm with butter, jam or honey.

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