Cherry Almond Scones

February: National Cherry Month and National Almond Month

If anyone has noticed through our blog posts over the decade, we eat a lot of scones and enjoy trying out new recipes so we can taste different types for teatime. We had leftover dried tart cherries from another recipe that we needed to use before they expired. So we tried cherry almond scones. We loved the combination of the sweet-tart taste of the fruit and the complementary crunchy texture of the nuts. This recipe is a keeper and is now archived in the Theme Menus scones section! Cherry almond scones are perfect for teatime, breakfast/brunch and snack time and especially during National Cherry Month and National Almond Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries, chopped
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter, cold unsalted, cut into small pieces
  • ¾ cup heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons for glazing
  • ¼ cup almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, raw

Directions

Toast the almond slices by heating them in a small skillet, mixing them until slightly brown. Remove from the skillet and let cool. Chop the dried cherries and set aside. Grind the turbinado sugar with a mortar and pestle until fine. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the all purpose and cake flours, baking powder, salt and turbinado sugar. Add in the pieces of butter and gently mix with a pastry cutter until there are coarse pea-sizes in the flour mixture.

Add the toasted almond slices and chopped cherries in the flour mixture. In a measuring cup, mix together ¾ cup heavy cream and almond extract. Pour this into the flour mixture. Stir gently until a sticky dough forms.

Transfer to a clean, floured surface. Form the dough into a ball and pat down into a 1-inch disk about 8 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges. Place on parchment paper lined round baking pan. Glaze the tops of the wedges by brushing with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream. Sprinkle raw sliced almonds on each wedge.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 20-22 minutes, being careful not to burn the nuts on top. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 days.

Notes

  • If turbinado sugar is not available, use plain cane sugar.
  • If cake flour is not available, use all purpose flour. The original recipe called for 2 cups of pastry flour, which is the equivalent of half all purpose and half cake flour.
  • February 17 is National Almond Day.
  • Search under the Theme Menus tab in our blog for more scones recipes. 

COVID-19 Cake Pops

February 1: National Cake Pops Day

In the early days of the national lockdown due to the coronavirus, we would make a major infrequent trip to the nearest grocery store to stock up on essentials. Most of the shelves were bare as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial soap, cleaning supplies, water, yeast, flour and even chicken were bought up in a panic.

Our closest Kroger was trying to get rid of some expiring baked goods at the time. So Islander placed a discounted slice of red velvet cake in our cart with the idea to make COVID-19 cake pops at home. She already had chocolate and candy melts in the pantry and only wanted to make a small batch dessert. It was a creative culinary attempt to infuse a bit of lighthearted humor during despondent days.

As the world is trying to weather the ups and downs, spikes and second waves of coronavirus cases of the global pandemic, we hope these cute cake pops bring a little sweetness to life, especially on National Cake Pops Day. Hope our readers have negative coronavirus test results and have positive attitudes and hope! Stay safe, everyone!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Slice of red velvet cake
  • Chocolate candy melts
  • Red candy melts

Directions

Scrape off a little bit of the frosting and filling from the red velvet cake slice. Crumble the cake in a bowl. Add a little of the frosting to the crumbled cake and mash with a fork until moist and sticky. Use a cookie scoop and shape into balls.

Set cake balls on waxed paper. Refrigerate to set. Meanwhile, melt some chocolate or dark candy melts according to the package directions. Dip the end of a lollipop stick in the melted chocolate and insert into a cake ball. Refrigerate to set. Dip the cake ball into the melted chocolate. Continue to cover the rest of the cake balls in chocolate. Refrigerate to set.

Melt red candy wafers according to the package directions. Fill a pastry bag with slightly cooled melted red candy. Using a small round tip (#2 or #3), pipe random spikes around the chocolate covered cake ball. Refrigerate to set.

Notes

  • As of this post date, Islander’s brother got his first vaccine and is scheduled to follow up this month. Her parents are also getting the vaccine. We are low on the eligibility list but hope to get it soon. Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy, everyone!
  • Serve these COVID-19 cake pops with a coronavirus cake.
  • Search our blog for other cake pop recipes.

Damper

(Australian Bush Bread)

January 26: Australia Day

We have not had the opportunity to travel to the Land Down Under. But we have friends from there, although they live in New Jersey, where we met when we lived there for a while, too. Gary and Girlie B. even got married on Australia Day! Their wedding reception concluded with fireworks over Sydney’s Opera House (we saw their lovely photo album).

We still visit with each other occasionally and they give us nice Aussie souvenirs, such as the aboriginal cloth featured in our food photo above with a bush bread called “damper”. It is very rustic and simple, traditionally baked with coals in a campfire or oven by drovers, stockmen and swagmen who had bare basic provisions of food supplies in the outback. But damper is delicious hot out of the oven, with its crustry bits and crumbs, and smothered with a little butter or jam, although it is traditional to eat it with golden syrup.

For a quick way to celebrate Australia Day, bake a quick bread from the bush—a delightful damper!

Recipe

(Adapted from Australia’s Best Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (see Notes)
  • 2/3+ cup milk (water is traditional)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour over the flour mixture.

Stir in the milk, adding a little more if the dough is too dry and crumbling. Mix until it sticks together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a round ball. Avoid overworking the dough as it will get too tough. Flatten into a 7-8 inch disk (or leave as a mound shape).

Brush the top with a little extra milk to brown the top when baking. Score some deep lines (and “X” or 8 wedge marks) on the top. Place  on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Slice into wedges and serve. Eat warm with butter, jam, golden syrup or honey.

Notes

  • Some recipes suggest cutting up cold butter pieces and mixing cutting it into the dough with a pastry blender.
  • Feel free to sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the damper or experiment with different spices and flavorings in the dough.
  • Damper does not last for more than a day and is best eaten fresh as it hardens the following day.
  • Search for other bread and Australian recipes in our blog.