Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summertime: Sour Cherry and Chocolate Scones

I'm popping in with a quick hello.  And, can someone please tell me how August has pulled into the action already?  July went by in a flash, and I hope you managed to check a few things off your summer bucket list.  I managed to zip to the lake for Canada Day weekend, and it was everything you want a summer weekend to be.....hot, but not too hot, barely any bugs, and an overflowing snack drawer.  We ate super well, with all of the lake necessities: s'mores, burgers and beer.  Canoe rides were had, loons were heard and I sat on the dock, watching the sun go down.  With half of summer over, it's time to do all the things you want to do before it's too late.  Go on that Ferris wheel ride; bury your toes in some sand; take your mom on a road trip and stop for ice cream along the way; eat a peach so juicy that all the juices run all the way down your arms, chin, chest; lay on your back, gazing at the stars, wondering if someone, somewhere is gazing at the same stars as you.

And eat all the good things!  Especially seasonal stuff like sour cherries.  My friend messaged me last week and asked if I wanted to pick some sour cherries from her trees.  I practically jumped at the offer, for I love sour cherries so.  Hers were fantastic quality, hanging there just like grapes.  It didn't take long for my 2 pails to fill, then home I went to do the pitting, which is decidedly the worst part about sour cherries.  But, after an hour, they were pitted and I was ready to bake.  Most went into a pie, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know how pretty it was.  I did save a few for scones, because I was craving that glorious chocolate + cherry combo.  These almost land in dessert territory, but if you like dessert for breakfast as much as I, you know that isn't a bad thing.  I made these with fresh sour cherries, not frozen, though I suspect the only thing that would change would be an increase in the baking time.  Use nice chunks of chocolate you like to eat.  I chopped up a Lindt sea salt bar, and I'm not sorry.  Be sure to add a few chunks to the tops of the scones after they are cut and ready to go into the oven.   That puddle of melted chocolate is so dreamy.

My mom and I ate a good portion of this batch when she was last here for a visit.  She approved.  A few more are tucked away in the freezer, ready for a lazy summer morning and a good cup of coffee.  I'm hoping I'll get a chance to go pick cherries again, but time is a ticking.  Before you know it, the cherries, like the summer, will be fading fast.

Before I share the recipe, I want to tell all my Saskatoon area friends that I'm hosting an All the Sweet Things pop-up pot-luck! I thought it would be lovely to gather on a sunny summer afternoon, eat cake and sign my cookbook! It is a pot luck event, so please bring a baked good you whipped up from All the Sweet Things cookbook, a friend and your sweet tooth! I will provide beverages and utensils.  This is a great event for those who missed any of my cookbook signings in the spring, or if you came to one of my signings and we didn't get a chance to chat long enough!  I will also have signed copies of All the Sweet Things available for purchase.
A note about the setting: Bergheim Recreation Centre is located about 20 minutes east of the city. It is also known as Bergheim School. It's a lovely old schoolhouse, surrounded by trees and big blue sky. You might want to bring a folding chair or two. There is less than a half mile of gravel road to reach the school, other than that, it is good highway, and ideal for a Sunday drive.
To get to the location:
exit Saskatoon on Highway 5 East.
Make a left turn at SK-41 (signs for Melfort), Drive for 8.8 Km
Make a right turn onto Township Rd 374, Drive for 750 m
Make a right tun onto Betker Rd/Range Road 3040, Drive for 850 m
location will be on the right.

This is a free (and kid-friendly) rain or shine event. But hopefully it shines!
Hope to see many of you there!

There is a Facebook Event on my Sweetsugarbean page, if you are interested. 


Sour Cherry and Chocolate Scones 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cup half and half cream
1 large egg
1 cup fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, saving some for the tops
1/4 cup cream, for brushing the tops
coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour-salt).  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or use your hands.  Leave some chunks of butter the size of peas.  In a small bowl, combine the cream and egg, then pour over the dry.  Stir a little then add the cherries and the chocolate, stirring until a dough comes together.  If it is too dry, gently mix in more cream.  
Dust a counter lightly with flour and shape the dough into a circle about 1-inch thick.  Use a sharp knife and cut into about 8-12 wedges, depending on how big you want your scones to be.  Place the wedges on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the scones.  Brush with cream, top with chocolate chunks and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and set.  Serve warm.  The scones also freeze very well, for up to 1 month in a resealable plastic bag.  Recipe adapted from Out of the Orchard, by Julie Van Rosendaal (TouchWood Editions 2016).  

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