Fresh cherries are only available for a short time in Canada. What I usually do is buy a small amount (as they’re expensive!) and bring them home. In the evening, I put them into a small bowl and bring it onto the balcony so I can eat them while reading a book. I sit in a lawn chair in the middle of my apartment garden, basil and kale growing in containers. The scent of the tomato plant fills the air. The cherries are dark and sweet, and even though it is after 6pm, the sun is still shining. It’s the perfect end to a long day.
I upheld that summer ritual for the past three to four years. This year, I no longer have a balcony. We have not finished landscaping the backyard, either. I’ll admit that I feel a bit sad that I can’t follow through with my usual tradition. Since I can’t do much about it this year, I decided to try something different with the cherries – bake them into scones! Maybe this will become a new tradition. Maybe next year, when the backyard is ready to use, we can bring out a plate of cherry scones to enjoy on a sunny weekend morning.
I had not baked with cherries before, so it surprised me to pull the baking tray from the oven and see pieces of them – still firm and perfectly shaped – embedded in the dough. Usually when I add berries (such as strawberries) to baked goods, they become soft and mushy. Not so in this case! The texture and flavour of the baked cherries is practically the same as fresh ones.
Everybody loved these scones.
The base recipe comes from Isa Chandra’s Vegan With a Vengeance. I made up my own variation by using almond milk and almond extract with the cherries in an attempt to make an almond-cherry flavour. I’m not sure if I succeeded or not, so for that reason I’m going to just call these Cherry Scones. Feel free to substitute the almond milk with any other milk you like.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3/4 cup almond milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, combined in a cup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pits removed and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp white sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with oil, or line it with parchment paper.
Mix the 3/4 cup of almond milk with the apple cider vinegar in a cup and leave it to thicken.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl combine the oil, almond milk, extracts, and the milk+cider mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the cherries.
Drop onto the cookie sheet using a 1/4 cup scoop. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.