I like Ann Burrell's Food Network show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, but sometimes I wish she'd do more to live up to the title.
Take these scones, for example, which appeared on her "Secrets of Brunch" episode. She tells us that her pastry chef makes the dough for scones ahead of time, then freezes it. At brunch time at the restaurant, they pop the scone dough in the oven and bake them -- which is a great do-ahead secret. The only problem: she doesn't tell us the time or temperature for baking them from frozen. But I did make her dough, cut out the scones, froze them, and then baked them. They were really delicious, so that was a good secret. I had every intention of noting how long they took to bake, but because I was baking them for company and had other stuff going on, I forgot to make a note of it. Next time, maybe.
I make scones fairly often -- in my experience, they are much more forgiving than muffins -- so I'm going to share with you a couple of my own secrets for these scones:
1. This recipe calls for toasted almonds. You can toast the almonds in the oven while it is preheating. Use your nose -- when you smell them, they probably are close to being done.
2. If you like digging in dough with your hands, do it the way Burrell does. I almost always make scones in the food processor. As a result, I've revised Chef Burrell's recipe to do it in the food processor, and here it is...
Dried Cherry Almond Scones
Adapted from this recipe by Ann Burrell
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
The zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup heavy cream
Turbinado sugar, for garnishing (also sold as Sugar in the Raw)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Pulse a few times to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Add in the cherries and almonds and pulse a few times (this process will give you smaller pieces of nuts and dried cherries, which I prefer). Add the heavy cream and process until the dough comes together -- do not overmix.
Form the dough into a 1-inch thick disk. Sprinkle the dough generously with the turbinado sugar and press lightly so the sugar adheres. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Space them several inches apart -- they will spread! Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, turning the pan halfway through.
Ann Burrell serves them with honey butter, but I think they are perfect on their own.