I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Food 52. Food 52 sends out email posts a few times a week and I always find enticing recipes and reviews of gorgeous kitchen tools that make me want to whip out the credit card. When I read about a recipe by Judith Rae for Almond Scones I knew I’d have to make them one day. Then to seal the deal Monica, from Playing with Flour, posted these scones and turned them into peach shortcakes – which was totally brilliant! I couldn’t stand it any longer – so I popped my almond paste in the freezer and grabbed a bag of fresh cranberries and boy was I happy with the results!
Almond extract is one of those flavors I can’t get enough of. In fact … I get a little rush of excitement when I open the bottle and take a whiff of that amazing extract. It’s pure love!
These scones are made with almond paste, almond extract and topped with sliced almonds. Is it almond overload? Not at all. The cranberries compliment the almond flavor and don’t overpower the scone. The almond paste is frozen then grated on the large whole side of a box grater. This method creates a wonderful soft, fluffy crumb with bursts of almond flavor.
Cold butter is cut into the flour mixture, then the grated almond paste is folded in. Buttermilk, an egg and almond extract are blended together then added to create a tender dough.
To be more seasonally festive, and to use up my cranberries before they spoil, I folded in a heaping 1/2 cup of fresh ripe cranberries.
The scones are cut into 2 1/2 inch rounds then brushed with a water and egg mixture. Topped with sliced almonds and generously sprinkled with coarse sugar they are then baked for about 20 minutes.
The scones are not overly sweet so be generous with the sugar topping. The flavor is truly amazing.
Tart cranberries are just enough to add a layer of flavor without overpowering the almond party.
Airy and light with pockets of almond deliciousness, these are the perfect Christmas brunch sweet bread.
- 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces (1 stick)
- 7 ounces almond paste, frozen (I used Odense Almond Paste) grated using the large-hole side of a box grater
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (I used Nielsen Massey Almond Extract)
- ½ heaping cup fresh cranberries, whole small or cut larger cranberries in half
- 1 egg
- 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water
- Coarse sugar for topping
- Sliced almonds for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Using a pastry blender cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some larger pea size chunks of butter still remaining.
- Fold in the grated almond paste using a rubber spatula.
- In a large measuring cup combine the buttermilk, almond extract and 1 egg. Blend with a small whisk until combined.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and butter mixture. Fold together using the spatula until a dough starts to come together. Do not over mix.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead gently to combine. Press the dough out and sprinkle the cranberries on top. Fold the dough over a few times to incorporate the cranberries.
- Press the dough into a ¾ inch thick round and cut into scones using a 2½ inch biscuit cutter.
- Place the scones 2 inches apart on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush each scone with the egg and water mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, then sliced almonds, then a little more coarse sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool.
PIN to your favorite Holiday Baking Board!
I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday or very Merry Christmas. We look forward to spending time with our children and their spouses and our grandson. I don’t know about you but I’m actually looking forward to getting back on a reasonable diet without tons of temptations around every corner. New Year’s resolutions are on the top of my list this year! Blessings to you and your family and thanks so much for stopping by!