To call Amy’s Bread a New York City institution is to understate the importance of this craftsman baking establishment. The breads and goodies at Amy’s three stores are relished by an army of admirers. You can go by Amy’s store on 9th Avenue almost any time and immediately recognize it: there’s always a line out the door.
Amy’s original bread baking cookbook was a classic and was updated earlier this year. For me, it’s Amy’s middle book that counts: The Sweeter Side Amy’s Bread: cakes, cookies, bars, Pastries and More. If sweetness is your goal, then every recipe here will tempt you.
Like the first one. Literally, the first one for Cherry Cream Scones. Scones just may not be your thing. Most of the time, the scones by buy are hard or dry or hard and dry. They are best used as paving stones, unless you like visiting your dentist.
These scones are different. Soft. Sweet. And delectable. Why? Well, I think all the cream helps. Plus you make these scones traditionally by forming a well of the dry ingredients and gently mixing in the cream. No mixer, less gluten.
These are fabulous for your Sunday breakfast. The recipe calls for dried cherries, but there is a suggestion below for using fresh cranberries. This weekend, we’re experimenting with fresh blueberries, too.
You’ll never have a better scone — unless you crash that line on 9th Avenue.
Cherry Cream Scones
Yield: 12 large scones
- 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups dried cherries
- 2 ⅔ cups heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two sheet pans with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar until evenly distributed, then add the dried cherries and stir again for even distribution. Make a deep well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the cream into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed. It should be completely moistened and soften up to form easily into a disk that will hold its shape without spreading. If the dough does seem stiff, add a little more cream to soften.
Weigh the dough and divide it into two equal pieces – or divide it equally by eye if you don’t have a scale. Gently shape each piece into a round disk about 2 inches thick. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut the disc in half and then cut each half and cut each half into three wedges. You should have a total of 12 wedges when you’re finished cutting. Try to cut the wedges as evenly as possible so all will bake at the same rate. Arrange six wedges on each prepared baking sheet, leaving as much space as possible between the pieces to allow for spreading. Remember to leave some space around the edge of the pan, too. In a small bowl, mix one egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the top of each going generously with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar.
Place one pan on each oven rack and bake for seven minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and rotate the pans from top to bottom. Continue baking for another 10 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom again and continue baking for 15 to 20 more minutes, until the scones or dark brown and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in center the scone should come out clean. The oven may be turned down to 325°F if the scones are browning too quickly. Remove them from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature. Storing leftovers in an airtight container. Their best eaten within two days.
To use fresh cranberries instead of dried cherries, coarsely chop 2 ½ cups whole cranberries and mix them with ½ cup light brown sugar. Let the cranberries macerate while preparing the other ingredients. Then add them as you would the dried cherries.
Source: Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree