Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cherry Whole Wheat Scones

This is, quite simply, a scone for fans of the traditional, not-terribly-sweet scone and whole grains. Since my discovery of whole wheat pastry flour I've found almost no need to use all-purpose flour. Nearly every time I've used whole wheat pastry flour where all-purpose would traditionally be used, I've found I liked the result much better, and these scones are no exception. Chewy, slightly tart dried cherries play beautifully with the nutty whole wheat flour under a dusting of crunchy cinnamon sugar in these scrumptious scones. The more I bake with whole grain flours, the greater appreciation I have for the taste of the flour itself and using it to add flavor, instead of just serving as a blank canvas, as all-purpose flour does. Whole wheat pastry flour also gives baked goods a much more tender, flaky texture so I just can't think of a reason to go back to the bland days of AP flour. I'll admit that my taste buds were trained to like whole grains from a young age, but I think nearly everyone can not only adapt, but learn to really enjoy whole grains as well, although most people probably won't ever become as fervent about them as I am.

Although I've faithfully transcribed this recipe, you'll notice that I obviously didn't cut my scones into wedges as instructed. With this soft, sticky dough I found it far easier to simply divide the dough into equal pieces and make round drop scones, but that of course, is up to you. I have no particular allegiance to either shape, and as long as there's a tender, flaky center and crisp crust on the outside, I'm happy. If cherries aren't your thing, there's no shortage of other dried fruit that would work beautifully in this recipe-currants, blueberries, cranberries or pretty much anything your heart desires. As with most scone recipes, extras will freeze nicely for breakfast-on-the-go during the week, although they will never be as delicious as they are fresh out of the oven. A freshly-baked scone, hot cup of coffee, and newspaper is my ideal way to start my Sunday, allowing myself a few moments to relax and refresh before tackling the errands of the day. Even if it isn't quite the same meditative process for you, these scones are still a tasty and nutritious way to fuel up for the day and well worth a place in your recipe collection.

Cherry Whole Wheat Scones
from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
yields 8 scones

1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a baking sheet or clay baking brick.

2. Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the cinnamon in a cup and set aside. Sift the remaining sugar,t he flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. If any of the bran remains in your sifter be sure to add it to the flour  mixture. Add the dried cherries and stir well.

3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Reserve 1 tablespoons of the beaten eggs for later. Beat the oil and milk into the remaining eggs. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the egg mixture, and stir until just combined: The dough will be soft. Turn it onto a floured surface and pat in into a circle about 8 inches across and 1/2 inch thick.

4. Cut the circle into eight pie-shaped wedges. With a spatula, lift each wedge and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet or brick so that they're not touching. Push any errant cherries back into line. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.

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