One of my favourite things about working at the Haney Farmers Market this year is that every Saturday I have an amazing opportunity to get the first glance at all of the bounty that our local farmers are serving up to the public. Whether it be fresh green onions, crisp kale, sweet carrots or rhubarb, guaranteed the local farmers are serving up the most amazing and organic fruits and veggies you have ever seen. You truly can’t underestimate the value of fresh & local ingredients because they really do make all of the difference in your home cooking and baking.
Because of the gorgeous weather that we in BC have been graced with this spring, the last few weeks our Farmers Market has been full of farmers from the Okanagan offering up a loot of the most delicious early tree fruits you can imagine. This week, the wonderful Okanagan farmers had fresh cherries that were just so beautiful, they could make your mouth water just by looking at them for too long… A-ma-zing.
From the minute I laid eyes on those gorgeous cherries I wanted nothing more than to get my hands on a couple pints, but because It was a super busy market day this past Saturday, I didn’t even have a minute to sneak away to get a carton. So after another successful market, I tried not to cry over the fact that the cherries were completely sold out before I had the chance to snatch some up.
Luckily, before I could get too upset over my lack of cherries, we were treated to a nice fat bag of fresh cherries that Cole’s papa had bought early at the market that day to share with us. What can I say – the man is a fellow cherry lover and he is obviously a genius.
So what was a girl to do with such an amazingly large bag of fresh cherries? Well clearly the first thing for me to do was to wash them and then proceed to mow down on a nice big bowl full 😀 After I had, had my fill of the cherries and my mouth had been stained completely red from eating wayyy too many, I decided the rest would be reserved for baking purposes. Mhmmm – what else?
First up on my list of things to bake with this loot of fresh cherries was these Cherry Almond Scones for two reasons… #1. Obviously because I am a scone-aholic; and #2. Because cherries and almonds are just a match made in tastebud heaven… enough said.
So although I am a scone-aholic, I have actually never tried my hand at making cherry scones – craziness I know – so I whipped up these scones for Cole and I’s breakfast on Sunday morning kind of on a on a whim, making a few tweaks to my usual scone recipe, not really sure what I was doing. This is pretty much the usual story of my baking adventures, but luckily for me – the scones when all was said and done were absolutely to die for!
The scones themselves were perfectly flaky, tender and fluffy, and the flavour from the almond extract in combination with those amazing Okanagan cherries, and finished off with a light almond glaze… honestly they were almost too good to handle. I added a little bit of lemon zest to balance out the sweetness of the cherries, and just a hint of cinnamon and ginger to compliment their amazing flavour. The addition of these few little ingredients were not over powering; rather they just enhanced the flavour of the star ingredients.
Cole was so positively smitten with these scones that when I suggested that we save one or two to give to his dad as a thank-you for giving us the cherries, he was more than a little upset that he would have to refrain from eating any more. This took some serious will power on both of our parts – they were just so darn tasty!
So I think it’s safe to say I have found my new favourite scone recipe for the summer! I can’t wait to whip up another batch of these beauties and share them with everybody at our next Farmers Market on July 4th! But if you are like me and you simply can’t wait that long – don’t worry, I have the recipe for you here 😉
But before you get cracking on this recipe, be sure to check out my tips on how to make the most, buttery, flaky, fluffy, and tender, & all around perfect scones you have ever made here.
Fresh Cherry Almond Scones
Makes: 8 Scones
Things you need…
Cherry Almond Scones
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
2/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup fresh cherries, (pitted & halved/quartered)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp coarse sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
How to make…
Cherry Almond Scones
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees if it is on regular or 375 if you are using a convection oven; Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Wash your fresh cherries and use a pairing knife to cut them in half and remove all of the pits. Leave half of the cherries in halves and cut the rest into quarters. (I like to do this just for blending purposes, but you don’t have to do this) Next, spread your cut cherries onto a baking sheet and place them into the freezer to flash freeze them until you are ready to work them into your dough. This step isn’t 100% necessary, however, when it comes time to work the cherries into your dough, it is much easier to work with frozen cherries, and this will also help to ensure your dough doesn’t turn pink from the fresh cherry juices.
Meanwhile, prepare your scone dough. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, cream, egg, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest; Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger until evenly combined. Add in your cubes of cold butter and lightly toss to coat each of the butter cubes with the flour mixture. Begin working the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers or with a pastry cutter until most of the butter chunks are the size of peas, with a few larger almond sized chunks.
Drizzle the cream & buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and use a fork to gently fold the wet into the dry ingredients until a ragged dough forms and turn the ragged dough out onto a cool lightly flour work surface. Now it is time to begin folding the cherries into the dough.
Dust the dough with some additional flour if needed and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of your prepared frozen cherries. Gently fold the right half of the dough over onto the left half; sprinkle the top of the dough with another 1/4 cup of the frozen cherries and gently press them down into the dough sprinkle with additional flour if your dough is quite wet. Next, fold the left half of the dough onto the right half of the dough; sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of the frozen cherries and gently press them into the dough. Next, gently fold one half of the dough over onto the other half one final time.
Gently pat/shape your dough into a 3/4-1 inch thick disk, and use a sharp knife to cut the disk into 8 equal parts. Place the 8 scones onto your prepared baking sheet; Brush the tops the melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar and slices almonds.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the tops spring back to your touch. Note – your scones will cook a bit faster if you are using a convection oven.
While your scones are baking, prepare your almond glaze. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk, icing sugar, vanilla and almond extract until a thick yet still fluid glaze forms. You may need to add additional icing sugar or milk to achieve the desired consistency.
Once your scones are ready to take out of the oven, remove them and place the tray onto a wired cooling rack. Allow the Scones to cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze over the tops. Allow the scones to cool with the glaze on top for about another 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the scones slightly warm or completely cooled – either way… they will be delicious 😀
These scones are addicting – consider yourself warned. Here’s to kicking off the summer fruit season! I can’t wait to see what kinds of fresh and delicious fruits await us at the next market! I will be back with lots more fresh fruit recipes throughout the summer so stay tuned for more 😀