Sour Cherry Chocolate Scones

Cherry Chocolate SconesIn the “American” scone category, this one’s going to be tough to defeat. The epitome of a Yankee scone – large, slightly crumbly, buttery, chocked full of good stuff and baked with a sugary crust – it needs neither butter nor reheating to enjoy.

Sour Cherry Chocolate Scones
Adapted from “Baked” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 16 large scones

1 Large egg
¾ c. + ¼ c. Buttermilk or 1 c, whole milk + 1 T. White vinegar
1 t. Vanilla extract
1 Zest of lemon, finely grated
4 c. All-purpose flour
½ c. Sugar
1 T Baking powder
½ t. Baking soda
½ t. Kosher salt
1 ½ c Unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
¾ c. Dried sour cherries, softened in hot water, drained and chopped
½ c. Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
¼ c. Sugar (use raw sugar if you have some on hand)
¼ c. Semi-sweet chocolate
1 t. Shortening

Chill a large bowl in freezer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg, ¾ c. buttermilk, vanilla extract and lemon zest. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add cubed butter and pulse until the butter is pea sized. Transfer flour/butter mixture to the chilled bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients slowly and gently knead until the dough just begins to come together. Add the cherries and chopped chocolate and gently knead to fully incorporate (but overwork the dough!). Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into two disks about 1 ½ inches high. Freeze disks for 10 minutes.

Cut each disk into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto to baking sheet, brush each with remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time) or until scones are golden.

Cool on cooling rack completely. Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave and stir until smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over each scone and allow chocolate to set.

Beginning to See the Light Granola

I’ve been going through an interminable five month depression, primarily brought on by a work schedule impossible to maintain. Work has finally slowed and I’m beginning to come up for air – sixteen pounds heavier, toxic and worn out. In an effort to find my health again, I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer last week. After eating a full bag of Pepperidge Farm Maui cookies on Monday and three quarters of a bag of Newton’s blueberry Fruit Thins on Wednesday, I decided my diet needs an overhaul, too, but any willpower I may possess is melted by crispy, crunchy, chewy, buttery sweet carbs. Pastries make me happy like Prozac. In an effort to channel my love of a good cookie into something a bit more healthful, I whipped up a batch of granola this morning, capturing the flavors and textures without all the wheat, sugar and fat.

Granola

Beginning to See the Light Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups assorted nuts and seeds (unsalted and unroasted, if possible)
½ – ¾ t. salt
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cardamom
¼ t. ginger
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup or agave syrup)
1 t. vanilla
1 cup dried fruit, chopped if needed (unsweetened and unsulfured, if possible)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine oats, nuts and seeds in a large bowl (I used chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I also used about ¼ cup toasted flax seeds, but added them at the end since they were pre-toasted). Add salt and spices. Add oil, sweetener and vanilla. Stir until moistened and combined. Turn out on to a Silpat covered sheet pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, stirring at the following times: 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, and 35 minutes. Chop and measure fruit while granola bakes. If you use coconut, add coconut at the 20 minute mark. Add dried fruit (and any toasted nuts) to the hot granola. I used coconut, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and apricots and also added the flax at this time. Cool granola and store.

Note: I like to pour almond milk over the still hot granola to make a tummy-warming snack to nibble while the rest of the granola cools.