January 23, 2010

Cherry-Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

In an effort to keep up with the Vegetarian, who is in a dual-language French-English program at our local public school, I take French class every Tuesday. I'm in the advanced class, which is shocking to me, but would seem normal to anyone who knew how many years of French instruction I've actually had in my life.

In an effort to butter up appease my French teacher, Ria, because I rarely do my homework (old habits die hard) I usually try to bake something for class.

This week it was these scones.

I had some cream that was about to go bad in my fridge. I had dried cherries. I had chocolate chips. I had lots of flour, because I bought a few bags on sale a couple of weeks ago.

I got the recipe from here, but I think it's originally a Cook's Illustrated job.

How'd they turn out? Ria seemed pretty happy. They weren't bad. A tad overbaked, which was my fault, because I was worried about underbaking them and popped them back in the oven for an extra five minutes. I forget that they keep steaming and cooking as they cool.

I like a soft, super-moist scone that is not too crumbly. These fit the bill, particularly if you don't overbake them. If you seriously hate crumbly, try adding an egg. It will make them more cake-like. Which is less scone-like. But some people don't know what they want.

Cherry-Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour (I like a lower protein flour for scones. If I had any White Lily flour left (which I unfortunately don't), I would have used one cup of that and one cup of regular unbleached all-purpose)
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar + more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup heavy cream + more for brushing if you have it

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Place dry ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse two or three times to aerate.
Cut butter into small pieces and add to bowl. Pulse 12 times.
Add cherries and chocolate and pulse 2 or 3 times.
Add cream and pulse 2 or 3 more times, until mixture looks shaggy. DO NOT pulse until mixture comes together in a ball. That would overwork your dough and give you tough, horrible scones.
(You could do the above steps by hand in a bowl and your scones would probably turn out better. But I was short on time and a food processor is faster.)
On a floured board or silpat, turn out dough from food processor and shape into a shaggy rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds like a letter. Pat out into a bigger rectangle and fold again.
Pat out one last time into a rectangle about 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches thick. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. (A dull knife will drag the sides down and give you less lift and fluffiness.)
Brush tops of squares with cream and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
Place scones on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet close together but not touching.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until tops are golden but sides still look a little soft.
Cool on a rack and then eat, or pack up so you can brown-nose your French teacher.

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