When we lived in midtown, Steve would sometimes stop by Amy’s Bread Bakery on his way home from work and pick up a couple of cherry cream scones. I don’t want to say that I squealed from joy when he entered the apartment carrying the telltale brown bag, but it was pretty close. We loved (and still do) those cherry cream scones. They looked and tasted rustic. They were sweet but with serious tones of something darker. The dried cherries were just tangy enough to counterbalance the richness of the dough and the coarse sugar toping gave a satisfying crunch with every bite.
Well, just like everything else I love to eat, I decided that I just had to figure out how to make them myself. Many tastings had given me clues to the ingredients but they weren’t enough. I had to get the recipe. A quick search online revealed an Amy’s Bread cookbook that was available on Amazon. But I didn’t want to buy it just for this recipe. So, I clicked on the “Click to look inside” link which shows a few pages from a book, so you can sample it before you buy it.
And wouldn’t you know it, there it was: the recipe for cherry cream scones. Except for one problem: Amazon gave me only the first page. That included the ingredients and some of the steps. I decided I could figure out the rest of the steps on my own. Turns out I couldn’t. My first attempt didn’t turn out so good.
So back to Amazon I went and started clicking on “Surprise Me!” which gives you a random page from the book. A good 15 minutes later I landed on the second page of the recipe. Since then, Amazon has changed the pages they show from this book and now the entire recipe is available to anyone that looks at the book on the site.
I have made these scones too many times to count. I have taken them to friends who invited us to their country house for the weekend and I have made them in the middle of nowhere in France where we were spending New Year’s with a group of friends. Every time, they are a hit. And when we moved away from midtown two years ago and had no Amy’s Bread Bakery nearby, we were ok with that. We knew how to make our own.
Cherry Cream Scones – Slightly adapted from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread
These aren’t your typical british scones, all round and perfect, dry and crumbly. They are misshapen and soft inside with a crusty exterior. What gives them their unique taste is the use of only cream (no butter) and only brown sugar (no white sugar).
3 1/2 cups (510 gr) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon (20gr) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (200 gr) light brown sugar
1 1/4 (200 gr) cups dried cherries*
2 2/3 cups (630gr) heavy cream
1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar; if not, you can use regular sugar but you won’t get that nice crunch)
* I buy the apple juice infused dried cherries from Whole Foods. Don’t use dried cherries that have any artificial flavoring in them. If you find dried sour cherries, they would be ideal.
Put racks on top third and bottom third of oven and preheat to 400° F. Line two 12×17 or 13×18 sheet pans with parchment paper.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in brown sugar till evenly distributed (use your fingers to break up any clumps of sugar), then add dried cherries and stir again. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour all the cream in the well. Stir carefully with a spatula first and then with your hands until a soft, shaggy, and slightly sticky dough is formed.
Divide dough in 2 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a round disk, about 2 inches thick. It’s ok if the disks aren’t smooth or perfect. Using a knife or dough scraper cut each disk into 6 wedges. Again, don’t worry about the wedges being perfect. As soon as they hit the hot oven, they will start to melt and fall apart anyway (remember, these are rustic scones, not perfect looking ones). Arrange 6 wedges on each pan. Leave space between them because they will spread and rise.
Mix egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and brush the tops of the scones. Sprinkle the tops of the scones generously with turbinado sugar. Don’t be timid with the sugar. As the scones spread and rise, the sugar will disperse over their surface. You want lots of it to provide a nice crunch.
Place the two pans on each of the two racks and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate top and bottom pans and reduce to 350° F. Bake for another 10 minutes. Rotate pans again, top to bottom, and bake 15-20 min more. They should be dark golden brown and firm to the touch. If you want, you can test with a toothpick, which should come out clean. If they’re browning too quickly, you can turn the oven down to 325 F. Cool on a wire rack.
These scones freeze beautifully. Once completely cool, place them in ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. To have them for breakfast, take out of the freezer the night before and leave uncovered on the countertop overnight.
Makes: 12 scones