Cherry and Almond Scones

Is there anything more comforting than a warm scone topped with butter? Jam and cream are a fantastic addition, of course; but to be honest, I find that the best scones - like many things in life - are the simple ones. There aren't too many flavours, and there is the right carb-to-fruit ratio. (An incredibly important thing. I've been disappointed a number of times by a lack of fruit in my scones!)

Thankfully the majority of scones here in Northern Ireland are pretty good. They've definitely gotten bigger recently, though - sometimes you could almost get away with eating one for lunch! A scone is usually a fail-safe option in most cafés. 

I had planned to post this earlier, but somehow it never got off the ground. For some reason I've become rather disillusioned with blogging lately. It seems as if everyone has a blog now and you have to be a 'professional' blogger in order to succeed. I think it's great that people can make money from their blog; but for me, blogging is just a little hobby. 

Every time I've sat down to write a post over the past few weeks, I have felt dull and uninspired. The words don't flow well; what I think are my deepest thoughts look cluttered and messy; and then there's that question of how much do I reveal? It troubles me, and I'm not sure what to do. Perhaps it will involve a break from blogging. Perhaps it will result in less frequent posts. Perhaps it will change this blog in style, content or layout. Maybe a good spring clean is just what I need!

These are all questions that will hopefully be answered over the next few months. This time next week I will just have one more exam left, and then I am free from school for almost three months - plenty of time to sit, think and ponder meaningful questions!

For now, I'll leave you with a recipe that brought joy to my heart. I know scones aren't the healthiest of foods; but they're not unhealthy either.  Maybe if you put enough cherries in you could work your way up to a full portion of fruit!

*The secret to light and fluffy scones is not to overwork the mixture. Stir it with a knife until it just comes together, then gently press it together with your hands. When shaping the scones, you don't need a rolling pin - just flatten (softly!) with your fingertips. They will only rise a little bit so make them nice and chunky! *

Cherry and Almond Scones (Makes 6 - 7 large scones)
225g self-raising flour, sifted
40g butter
150ml buttermilk (use ordinary milk if you don't have any)
1 tbsp caster sugar
25g flaked almonds
25g glacé cherries
a little milk and a handful of almonds, for decorating

1. Heat the oven to 220°C. Prepare a large baking sheet by dusting flour over the surface.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut the butter into little chunks, add to the flour and rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, cherries (halved) and the almonds. 

3. Slowly add the milk to the mixture. Take a knife and use it to stir the ingredients together. Once it has come together, use your fingers to press it together gently, picking up any little bits of flour from the bowl. - You may not need to use all of the milk.

4. Turn onto a floured work surface and gently pat down into a circular shape. Take a large circular cutter, lightly flour it and cut out the scones from the dough, pressing down firmly and not twisting the cutter. 

5. Set the scones onto the baking tray. Brush with a little milk and sprinkle a few flaked almonds over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Cool slightly on a rack and eat as quickly as possible! 

- Scones taste best when fresh but they will keep in a container for a few days. You can also freeze them.