Friday, May 31, 2013

Fresh Strawberry and Toasted Almond Scones

This weekend was Strawberry Festival in downtown Vista, a suburb of San Diego County.  A little known fact about Vista is that it was once considered the "Strawberry Capitol of the World" and still has quite a few strawberry fields. While Vista is no longer as well known for its' strawberries, Strawberry Festival was a great time to get out and celebrate one of Summer's best fruits.
I decided to celebrate Strawberry Festival by making these delicious Strawberry and Toasted Almond Scones. This is definitely one of my new favorite scone recipes. Normally I like to shape scones into neat little triangles, but these scones have a more rustic, homemade look which I think makes them even better (and easier to make!).
Wherever you live, I hope you'll take advantage of strawberry season this summer and give this recipe a try.

Fresh Strawberry & Toasted Almond Scones
Makes 8 large Scones
Scone Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (place the sliced strawberries on paper towels to soak up some of the moisture while you prepare the dough)
* Cream and course sugar for topping
Glaze Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)
** do not skip toasting the almonds, it enhances the flavor of the almonds
Preheat oven to 400f
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat.

Pour the cream into a measuring cup, add the almond extract and stir to combine.
Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the cold cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives until mixture resembles course crumbs.
Create a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the cream/extract mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold just until the dough is moistened.

Gently fold in the sliced strawberries.
Using a large cookie scoop, place 8 heaping scoops of dough evenly spaced apart onto the prepared baking sheet.

Brush lightly with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake until lightly golden brown, approximately 15 - 20 minutes depending upon your oven.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Make the glaze:
Place the powdered sugar, almond extract and cream in a medium size bowl. Whisk to combine. Adjust to desired consistency.
Drizzle glaze on scones and top with a sprinkle of toasted almonds. Press the almonds very lightly into the glaze to help them adhere to the glaze.

** Tips for successful scones:
1. Use cold butter and cream.
2. Don't over mix or over handle the dough.
3. Scones are best served the day they are made (preferably within a few hours of baking) and generally do not store well especially if they are made with fresh fruit. Scones made without fruit or with dried fruit, store better.
4. If you need to bake your scones ahead of time (a few hours before serving them), do not glaze them until just before they are served. The glaze can make the scones soggy if they sit for too long.


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