Chocolate-Chip Cherry Scones

One of my favorite things to do is bake on a weekend morning. I went on a scone kick last winter when a neighbor told me she wanted to start baking Raspberry White Chocolate Scones instead of paying $1.89 a piece for scone at a local specialty market. Her favorite variety was Raspberry White Chocolate, so I baked many variations and shared the goods with her. In addition to gaining a few pounds we realized the market was using a thaw and bake dough from Pillsbury. Because we don’t have access to commercial bakery ingredients my scones never tasted exactly the same, but we did pretty good.

This thick and hearty scone is quite tasty and even contains the whole-grain goodness of oatmeal. I have a thing for oats, but that’s a story for another day. Take some time early on a weekend morning to bake. If you don’t feel like scones try this yummy coffeecake. Your family will thank you. If you live alone, or somehow sense that your family can’t eat 16 scones, freeze the remaining scones in a heavy-duty zip-top bag or better yet – share the scones with your neighbors. It’s sort of like the new-fangled way to pass a cake over the back fence. Nothing says friendship like delivering a home-baked good to someone’s door.

Note: Dried cranberries can be substituted for the cherries, if desired. For Apricot White Chocolate scones substitute 1 cup chopped dried apricots for the cherries and white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet chips.

Makes 16 scones

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream or milk
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Have ready two large baking sheets covered with parchment paper or lightly greased. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oats in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chopped butter, and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If not using a mixer, use two knives or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of small pebbles. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries. Mix together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and mix just until combined to create a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface that has been dusted with flour. With lightly floured hands, pat mixture into a large circle that is about 1-inch thick all around. Cut into 16 wedges. Carefully transfer wedges to the baking sheets. Brush scones with the cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until light golden brown about 25 to 30 minutes.

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