Cherries and summertime go hand-and-hand, and one of the best ways to use up those ripe, juicy in-season cherries is baking them into scones! Fluffy, tender and perfectly sweet, cherry scones come together in under an hour and are the perfect way to sneak seasonal summer fruits into your everyday baked goods.
Cherry scones are perfect for leisurely summer breakfasts where you want to serve elevated fare or can be made in advance for a quick but delicious snack on the go. They are wonderful alongside sandwiches and cakes at afternoon tea and are an excellent light brunch dessert idea. A truly universal pastry, cherry scones are perfect, anytime, anywhere.
Scones are in the same baking family as breakfast biscuits, and as such it’s very important to use butter and milk that are extremely cold.
To get that iconic scone texture, the butter is smashed into the flour and then flattened with the palm of your hand until little sheets form. Work quickly and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
What You Need to Make Cherry Scones
The majority of the ingredients needed for cherry scones are pantry staples that you likely already have on hand, but the most important ingredient is, of course, fresh cherries.
If you can’t get a hold of in-season cherries, dried cherries work well in their place. If you’re using dried cherries, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to soften them and let them cool completely before adding them to the dough.
This recipe calls for the optional use of almond extract to really make the cherry flavor sing. Cherries and almonds work extraordinarily well together, but only the tiniest bit of almond extract is used so it doesn’t overwhelm the cherries. If you aren’t thrilled about almonds or don’t have almond extract on hand, feel free to omit it.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Butter (very cold or frozen)
- Kosher Salt
- Baking Powder
- Fresh Cherries (pitted and cut in half)
- Vanilla extract
- Almond Extract (optional)
- Demerara Sugar or Other Finishing Sugar
How To Make Cherry Scones
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add in the butter. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, smash the butter into the flour until it resembles wet sand, then use your palm to flatten larger chunks of butter into sheets.
Whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract in a separate bowl until homogenous.
Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture, then immediately add the cherries. Using your hands or a spatula, mix together the contents of the bowl until a dough starts to form. Take extra care not to crush the cherries.
Once the dough forms, turn it out directly onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to bring the dough together, then form into a 1½ to 2-inch thick circle. Take care not to overwork the dough.
Flour the sharp edge of a knife and cut the dough round into 8 pieces. Make sure the dough is completely cut through but keep the scones in the circle so they’re still touching.
Brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle with demerara or other finishing sugar. Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the tops are just starting to brown.
Separate the scones with a sharp knife, transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Can I use frozen cherries?
If you’re in a pinch, using frozen cherries is fine, but it otherwise isn’t recommended. Frozen cherries release more water than fresh or dried cherries, which can make for a soggy scone. If frozen cherries are used, thaw them the night before and drain them of any excess liquid before mixing them into the dough.
What’s the difference between a biscuit and a scone?
Scones are made with eggs and milk or cream and tend to be sweeter, more crumbly and often contain fruit or other fillings. Biscuits generally don’t use eggs and use buttermilk or heavy cream for their liquid component. They are flakier, moister, and are often used in savory capacities.
How do I make fluffy scones?
Use very cold dairy products and handle the dough as little as possible.
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp butter very cold or frozen
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup fresh cherries pitted and cut in half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
- Demerara sugar for finishing
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, and whisk until combined.
- Add the butter to the flour, and use your hands or a pastry cutter to smash the butter into the flour until the dough resembles wet sand, then use the palm of your hand to flatten any large chunks of butter into sheets.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract until the mixture is homogeneous.
- Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour and butter mixture, then immediately add in the cherries.
- Using your hands or a spatula, mix together the contents of the bowl until a dough starts to form, taking extra care to not crush the cherries.
- Once the dough forms, turn it out directly onto the prepared baking sheet, and use your hands to bring the dough together and form it into a 1½ - 2 inch thick circle- do not overwork the dough.
- Flour the sharp end of a knife and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and keep the pieces in the circle.
- Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with demerara or other finishing sugar.
- Bake in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the tops have just started to brown.
- Separate the scones with a sharp knife and transfer to a cooling rack, then let cool for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
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