Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cherry Oat Scones With Almond Glaze

When Pam (the other stew), came last month with her daughter to look at some Boston colleges, I tried to make their quick visit comfortable. The weather was unseasonably warm, well actually hot, so we had the luxury of having breakfast on the patio. Not bad for April in Boston. I thought I'd take Pam's Maple Oat Scone recipe and change it somewhat by using honey instead of maple syrup and adding dried cherries. Since almonds and cherries seem to be a match made in cherry heaven, I made an almond glaze to go on top. They were really very good, but as I've made them a few times again, I realized how small changes affect the overall taste. The next time I made them, I made the circle of dough 9 inches instead of 7. That made them too dry. The wetness of the dough also seems to be fickle. Maybe one egg is a little bigger than another or maybe the air is really damp...or maybe the moon must be in your seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars...I don't know. I do know that too much flour added and overworking the dough will make the scones heavier. I also toasted the oats a little too much one time and didn't like the flavor. Don't be scared away though...these are tips to the process of getting it just right. A lighter scone is achieved with a stickier dough and getting the perfect balance comes with adding more or less flour, as you go. I make them totally in the food processor, so they really are a snap to make and "nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven!"

Cherry Oat Scones

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup dried and pitted tart Montmorency cherries

*you may substitute all purpose flour, if you can't find oat bran flour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread oats on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly colored, about 5-8 minutes. Make sure they don't brown.
Set aside to cool. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the toasted oats.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk the milk, honey and egg together until well blended and set aside. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter to the bowl and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Add the milk, honey and egg mixture and pulse to blend. Add the toasted oats (leaving out reserved 3 tablespoons), and pulse until just mixed. At this point, add just a little flour at a time if the dough is too sticky to handle, or more milk if too dry. Add the cherries and pulse 1-2 times just to mix in.

Dust a work surface with the reserved oats and flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface
and pat dough into a 7 inch round disc. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Transfer them to the parchment lined baking sheet and separate slightly. Bake until golden, but not brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack and then drizzle on the Almond Glaze. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

These are best eaten the day they are made. If storing, place in an airtight container or freeze.

Almond Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Add almond extract to the powdered sugar. Add milk a little at a time until a the glaze becomes thin enough to spoon, but not runny. Add almonds and drizzle onto scones.

Served warm from the oven, they are a cheery cherry way to start your morning!

Written and photographed by Diane.

Cherry Oat Scone with Almond Glaze recipe (pdf)

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