Tipsy Cherry Scones (Dried Cherry Scones with Kirschwasser)
These Tipsy Cherry Scones are studded with Kirschwasser-soaked dried cherries, and drizzled with pink cherry glaze. They are perfect for Valentine's Day breakfast, Mother's Day brunch, and any day in between.
⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoonsKirschwasser(cherry brandy)
4ounces(1 stick) unsalted butter,cold and cut into cubes
¼cupbuttermilk or heavy cream,plus more for brushing
Red food coloringoptional
Add dried cherries and ⅓ cup Kirschwasser to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes until the cherries are plump and all but a teaspoon or two of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
If mixing by hand:
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter cubes to the flour mixture and work the butter into the flour mixture, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles coarse pea or dime-size crumbs. Be careful not to overwork the mixture or the butter will soften too much and the resulting scones will not be flaky. Add the cherries and residual liquid and toss well. Then add the egg, 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser, and the buttermilk to the flour mixture and mix until just combined, kneading lightly (but don’t overwork it), just until the dry bits are absorbed into the dough.
If using an electric mixer:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until just mixed. Add cold butter cubes to the flour mixture and turn on mixer to medium for a few minutes until mixture resembles coarse pea or dime-size crumbs. Add cherries and residual liquid and turn on mixer again on very low just until the cherries lightly combine into the flour/butter mixture. Add the egg, 2 tablespoons Kirschwasser, and buttermilk to the flour mixture on low until just combined or mix in by hand, kneading lightly (but don’t overwork it), just until the dry bits are absorbed into the dough.
Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a ¾-to-1-inch thick circle. Don’t overwork the dough, as you want the butter inside to stay as cold as possible until the scones head into the oven.
Use a bench/dough scraper or knife to cut 6 wedges (like a pizza) from each round. Flip each cut scone over and place upside down on the parchment lined baking sheet (the bottoms are flatter and will look prettier as the tops of the scones), spacing a couple inches apart. At this point, the scones can be refrigerated or even frozen and baked later. Frozen scones can be baked from a frozen state; just add a little extra baking time, as needed.
Lightly brush on top of the scones (but not the sides) with a little buttermilk, milk or cream (whatever you have). Bake scones for 18 to 22 minutes until lightly golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow the scones to cool on the pan while you prepare the glaze.
Stir together the confectioners’ sugar, Kirschwasser, and milk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add a sprinkle more confectioners’ sugar. Too thick, add a drizzle of Kirschwasser or milk. If desired, add a drop of red food coloring to achieve a nice pink color. When scones are cool, drizzle the glaze over the tops. Allow the glaze to set briefly and then serve the scones at room temperature.
Cut each dough round into 8 wedges instead of 6 to yield 16 smaller scones.
I like to measure the buttermilk or heavy cream in a measuring cup, then top it with the 2 tablespoons of Kirschwasser and the egg right in the measuring cup. Then I whisk it together in the measuring cup with a fork or small whisk. This way it's all combined smoothly, and you can easily pour it over the dry mixture ensuring it will mix evenly.
If you have trouble finding Kirschwasser ask your local liquor store if they will do a special order for you. I have found this to be the case locally. Not every liquor store may carry it, but not only would you use kirsch in these scones, it is a necessary ingredient if you want to make Black Forest Torte. Some liquor stores may be willing to order a bottle for you if you ask :)
You can also make your own Kirschwasser from cherry brandy essence (20 ml). Pour the contents of the bottle along with 280 grams of granulated sugar into an empty one liter bottle. Add 770 ml of neutral vodka. Then shake very well until the sugar has completely dissolved.
*Variation* Substitute the dried cherries with dried cranberries and/or substitute the Kirschwasser with Amaretto in both the scone dough and glaze for a mild spiked almond flavor. Omit the red food coloring in the glaze.