Chocolate Cherry Scones

I'm not always a huge scone person, but of all the Thomas Keller recipes I've made so far, these are definitely in the top three. They're moist and sweet and packed with chocolaty-cherry goodness!

I baked them last week and brought them as dessert for an impromptu dinner with a group of friends from graduate school. Two of these friends, Josh and Sarah, now live on the East Coast, and our other friend John is now the father of a beautiful baby girl. We went over to John's house after the baby was in bed and sat out on the porch with his fiance and my boyfriend and Josh and Sarah. We ate barbecue chicken and cornbread and marveled at the incredible warmth of this spring evening that allowed us to wear t-shirts and still feel perfectly comfortable.

These are the sorts of activities that have been filling my days ever since I finished interning at Foam Magazine a little over a week ago. I absolutely loved my experience at Foam, but after the past four months of commuting two days a week to the office, writing weekly articles for their website, working four nights a week at a restaurant, and keeping up with this blog, I needed a break in a major way.

So, I've been gratuitously lazy -- sleeping in late, watching marathons of Glee,enjoying late-night dinners with friends, and falling way, WAY behind on my blogging schedule. In truth, I'm so behind that I wasn't sure how to even begin this post. I was scheduled to make Palet D'or, a rather labor-intensive chocolate cake, but I didn't. I also skipped out on croissants, and this week I'm feeling inclined to try a recipe for Fig Challah Bread in Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, as opposed to baking whatever it is I scheduled myself to make months ago.

I think I may just do that. And allow myself some flexibility in this project, which is supposed to be fun after all, and not quite so arduous! Before I go totally rogue and re-vamp my whole baking schedule, I would actually love YOUR input. Please take a look at my baking schedule and let me know if there's anything you definitely want me to keep on there.

(Note to my friend Kay: I know you're dying to learn how to make croissants, so we'll be rescheduling those for sure!)

In the meantime, enjoy the following scone recipe. I promise it's a keeper :)

Chocolate Cherry Scones
(Adapted from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook)

* This recipe has three parts: macerated cherries, scones, and cherry glaze. The macerated cherries need to be made the day before so they can sit in the fridge overnight. Also, Kirsch is a special cherry brandy made in the state of Washington. You can buy a tiny, 50 ml bottle of it at BevMo, which is perfect for this recipe.

water                    118 grams, or 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar   105 grams, or 1/2 cup
Kirsch                   20 grams, or 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp.
Vanilla paste          1/2 tsp.
Dried tart cherries  105 grams, or 1 cup

All-purpose flour         332 grams, or 2 1/3cups
Baking powder            6.5 grams, or 1 1/3 tsp.
Baking soda                4.5 grams, or 1 tsp.
Kosher salt                  2 grams, or 3/4 tsp.
Cold, unsalted butter   133 grams, or 9 Tbsp.
Heavy cream               178 grams, or 3/4 cup
Chocolate chips           105 grams, or 1/2 cup

Powdered sugar                          100 grams, or 3/4 cup    
Reserved strained cherry syrup    70 grams, or 5 Tbsp.
Heavy cream                               30 grams, or 2 Tbsp.

To make the macerated cherries, combine water, sugar, Kirsch, and vanilla paste in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the cherries and return to a simmer, then remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer the cherries and their liquid to a Tupperware container and refrigerate overnight.

To make the scones, Set a mesh strainer over a measuring cup and drain the cherries. Reserve 5-6 tablespoons of the liquid for the glaze.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and Kosher salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into tiny pieces and add it to the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the whole mixture is crumbly and evenly combined. Pour in the cream and mix together with a wooden spoon, or with your hands, if it's easier, as the batter will be thick and heavy.

Next, add the chocolate chips and drained cherries, then transfer the dough to a floured work surface and use your hands to shape it into an elongated square, about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into nine little squares of equal size. Next, divide the squares in half by cutting them diagonally across into little triangles.

Set the triangles on cookie sheets lines with parchment paper and then put the whole cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 minutes.

To make the cherry glaze, Whisk together the powdered sugar and 5-6 tablespoons of reserved cherry syrup in a small bowl. Slowly add the cream, and add any additional cherry syrup to maintain the consistency of the glaze, or to add more flavor.

When the scones are finished baking, take them out of the oven an immediately brush them with several coats of glaze. Cool completely and eat any time of day -- even for dessert!