In the wide world of baked goods, maybe one sweet treat in every twenty is worth baking (or eating!) again. Oftentimes, we bakers cover our “sins” in sugar, which easily becomes the dominant flavor in whatever we bake. These sweet and sour cherry scones are anything but basic sugary fluff. Fortified with oats and moistened with buttermilk, these barely-sweet scones offer tart cherries where others might offer chocolate chips. This is not your average baked good, people. This scone is the stuff of legends, and makes for a breakfast of similarly epic proportions. There’s really no word for them better than “hearty;” so if that’s not your bag (and I get it, it’s not everyone’s bag) then you may want to check out this recipe for decadent chocolate cake instead!
I find I have best results when I soak my cherries in water before baking. That’s them relaxing in a jar full of water in the upper right corner.
Why Soak the Fruit?
Those who fail to soak may end up with a drier overall baked good, as the cherry will draw moisture from the dough during the baking process. If you want your sweet and sour cherry scones around for more than one day, moisture becomes even more precious–not to mention the cherries have a much more enjoyable texture when still plump and juicy after baking. So, soak your cherries anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
Are These Sweet and Sour Cherry Scones Good For Me? If So, Are They Boring?
The short answer to the first part is, all things considered, for a sweet treat yes, they are relatively healthy. There’s no shortage of butter, but hey, these scones have lasting power that may save you some calories down the road. Plus they’ve got fiber from the oats and vitamins C, A, and K, antioxidants, and several minerals from cherries to boot. It’s not as good for you as taking a supplement, but is, perhaps, tastier, and, perhaps, more comforting.
This brings us to the “are they healthy and therefore uninteresting” part of the posited question. If you like textural juxtaposition in your mouthfeel experience when eating, feeling nourished and also like you’re getting away with something at the same time, and eating cherries in any capacity, then chances are these scones probably won’t bore you. I have probably made these scones dozens of times and still reliably crave them. But if, being a reasonable and sophisticated adult, you already think healthy and delicious don’t have to be mortal enemies, then you probably won’t take much convincing about these scones…fiber content aside.
If you have a pastry cutter at home, now is its moment! But if you are one of those who takes pleasure in the tactile, you may enjoy incorporating the cold butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers. Somewhere, I have a pastry cutter that is feeling neglected…
Flatten your dough into a disc about an inch and a half thick, slice into eight relatively uniform triangles, and bake until golden brown. Something to consider: the more you incorporate your ingredients, the tougher your scones will be. Every time you push and pull on your dough, you are participating in forming a gluten network. While this is great for breads, most folks tend to prefer a tender scone. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until everything just comes together.
Best when shared (but you already knew that)! These scones last, at best, for two full days but really are best when eaten the day you decide to bake them. You can always freeze them in a freezer-safe bag if you think eight scones is too much to enjoy or distribute.
Hearty McQueen Scones
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 Tbs butter, (salted is fine)
- 1 cup whole oats
- 1/3 cup dried cherries, soaked in water at least 30 minutes to overnight
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Add butter in small cubes, and combine using a pastry cutter or fork.
- Add oats, cherries, and buttermilk, mixing after each individual addition. After adding the buttermilk, mix until just combined.
- Shape dough into a disc about an inch and a half thick, using a floured surface and your hands.
- Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut the dough into eight triangular pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Keep in an airtight container up to two days.