Bar tricks seem to showcase the most awkward of feats. For instance, placing the stem of a maraschino cherry in your mouth so you can tie it into a knot with your tongue. I think accomplishing this is genetically programmed because no one has ever put the instructions on the internet for me to follow. (I can't even talk in complete sentences some days, let alone do tongue tricks!) And so, when doing my usual "hunt and invent" ritual one evening in the kitchen, I discovered a near empty bottle of cherries and thought about another trick. This one could be achieved by tying flavors together...that I can do.
I can't say why the bottle had so few cherries at the bottom. I don't recall using them AT ALL. But the aroma was so sweet, and formal, and I knew that combined with a little cardamom they would sing in a batch of scones. I needed a treat to take to a photo shoot. I wouldn't have time in the morning. However, I could bake and then freeze these that evening, and no one would be the wiser that I had discarded the stems unceremoniously before even beginning the recipe.
I am a traditionalist when it comes to cutting cold butter into flour. I do not use tools, nor a food processor. I rely on the feel of the butter between my fingers. I like the fact that manually bringing the butter to its correct size allows chunks of it to remain large, while others are small enough to disappear. I think the scones are more amazing this way. And I love to make scones.
Now let's get to the happy hour part. And next time I make these I swear I will serve them in martini glasses. The secret is adding a bit of Amaretto liquor to the butter cream frosting, or glaze actually. And no, it isn't too sweet. It actually works amazingly well! You just can't put these down, or saying, "MMMMmmm!!!" I like to think this is the best bar trick of all: being blissfully happy with what goes on your tongue!!!
RECIPE: Maraschino Cherry Scones with Amaretto Glaze
Makes 18 - 20 Scones / Click here for printable version
2 C all-purpose flour
½ C unsalted butter
½ C sugar
1 T baking powder
½ t kosher salt
¼ t cardamom powder
¾ C heavy cream
1 ½ t vanilla extract
1/8 t almond extract
1/3 c chopped maraschino cherries
1 C confectioner’s sugar
2 T amaretto liquor
½ t kosher salt
1 t vanilla extract
Cut the cold butter right from the fridge into small pieces, about 32 squares, and put the butter in the freezer while you measure out other ingredients. No more than about 5 minutes. In one bowl place the flour, sugar, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Mix well with fork. In another small bowl add the cream, almond extract, and the vanilla. Remove the butter and cut it into the flour mixture. I like to use my hands, rubbing the butter between my fingers until the average size of the butter pieces are lima bean sized. Some will be smaller, some a bit larger. Now using a spatula, add most of the liquid, leaving some to add at the end if needed. Mix well but don’t over blend. Now fold in the cherries and a little more cream if needed. Batter should be moist and just at the edge of sticky, but not sticky. (If your dough is too dry, just gently fold in cream about 1 T at a time and blend gently.)
Empty onto a floured surface and gently form into a ball, pushing it together and rolling it until it is nice and smooth. At this point you can roll the circle out to about a 2 inch thickness and form into a square. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Place on a light buttered baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool until set, about 5-6 minutes. Remove.
In another bowl mix the ingredients for the glaze, adding more or less milk to make it a very runny glaze. Drizzle over scones and serve!
NOTE: You can freeze these immediately after cooling and then frost when you use them. Will stay good frozen for 3-4 days.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.