Almond scones...and almond peach shortcakes

It is pretty well established that I love things made with almond paste - cookiescakescupcakesbreadscroissants, you name it!  And now, I get to add scones to the list.
Almond scones made with almond paste
It wasn't until last November that I made scones for the first time.  I converted/educated myself and my family by trying that recipe and we've been enjoying those orange-chocolate-vanilla bean scones fairly regularly ever since.  My husband and I never thought we'd be oohing and ahhing over scones but we've been doing just that when we eat those.  So needless to say, I pay far more attention to scone recipes now and when I spotted one for almond scones on Food52 - ones that use almond paste - I've been itching to try it!
I love the deep, aromatic, sweet flavor that comes from almond paste.  The best part might be the chewiness it lends to things, scones included, as I've now discovered.  

These scones have grated almond paste distributed within them.  Grating almond paste on a box grater is a technique I learned recently while making the tri-color cookie cake.  It seems to be a great way to disperse the almond paste evenly into the batter. 
Freeze canned almond paste for 15 minutes and grate it easily using the large opening
Thanks to that almond paste, the scones bake up with a signature almond flavor, with a center that's a little bit chewy.  That chewiness is my favorite part and the thing that keeps me going back for more!  I do love all things almonds and I'd gladly eat these almond scones any day.

Peach shortcakes with almond scones

I thought I'd make these scones go double-duty and I used them to assemble some shortcakes.  Just like I used some of those lighter buttermilk biscuits to make strawberry shortcakes a while back, I decided to take these almond scones to make simple peach shortcakes (let's take advantage of some good peaches while they are readily available)! 
It's as easy as slicing open an almond scone and filling it with some slices of slightly-sweetened ripe peaches (I tossed them in a little sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice).  You could even add a small splash of liqueur (like amaretto) if you like.  Spoon the juices right over and let it seep into the scone...the scones were made to absorb that extra moisture.
A little whipped cream and your almond scone for breakfast (or afternoon tea) subs in for dessert. How fun is that!


When it comes to making scones (like biscuits), I could really use some pointers and more practice! The dough always seems a little too dry to pull together and I'm really tempted to add more buttermilk but I know I probably shouldn't.  It's that delicate balance of just-enough moisture that's key, right?  And I also worry about over-handling the dough as I try to work it together. Luckily, I think things are generally more forgiving than we fear and I believe the almond paste in this recipe makes it a little more forgiving since it provides chew and moisture in the finished product.
Coarse sugar (I used turbinado) and almond slices add a really nice top layer of crunch and sweetness to these scones
Once your dough comes together in a round 3/4-inch thick disc, you could slice into wedges to avoid waste.  I would have done that but I think these almond paste-scones are special enough to call for the round pastry cutter.  And if you plan to make shortcakes like I planned on doing, you'll want that round shape.
I hate to see any of my precious almond paste go to waste though so I did pull my scraps together to cut out an additional scone.  I divided the recipe in half so I ultimately ended up with 7 scones in my case (you will still have some waste unless you really want to get aggressive with the re-rolling).  Just so you know, the "scrap scone" might not have baked up as nicely (no flaky sides and generally more "lumpy" looking) but surprisingly - it tasted fantastic!  I'm thinking the almond paste adds chewiness and moisture so that the extra handling isn't as big a detriment.
When all's said and done (and eaten), I've now found myself another great scone recipe...
...and a way to enjoy seasonal peaches!  This was really fun.


Recipes:

Almond Scones
Recipe from Judith Rae via Food52.com

- Approximately twelve 2 1/2-inch round scones (I divided the recipe in half with good results) -

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
7 ounces almond paste, frozen (I use the canned kind and prefer this one; remove almond paste from can before freezing for about 15 minutes)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water (for egg wash)
Coarse sugar, for topping (I used turbinado sugar)
Sliced almonds, for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.

Place flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir with paddle attachment to combine.  Add cold butter pieces and cut butter into the dry mixture.  If there are any chunks of butter remaining, you can break them up with your fingers.  You're looking for the texture of coarse meal, with some pea size pieces of butter still in the mix.  (Alternatively, you could do this process by hand in a large bowl and using a pastry cutter and your fingers to work the butter into the flour.)

Grate frozen almond paste on the large-hole side of a 4-sided box grater.  Stir this into the butter and flour mixture.  

In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk, almond extract, and egg together.  Add this into the other ingredients, stirring until just combined.  

Turn dough out onto a slightly floured surface.  Knead gently a few times until dough comes together and is just smooth.  Lightly pat the dough out to about a 3/4-inch thickness.  Cut out scones using a 2 1/2-inch round pastry cutter and place on to baking sheet.  (If you're like me and don't like waste, you can pull the scraps together - with as light a touch as possible - and cut out 2 more extra scones.  These won't bake up as nicely with flaky sides but will still be very tasty.)  Brush the top of the scones with egg wash and top with coarse sugar and sliced almonds.  

Bake until golden brown, about 16-18 minutes.  Let scones cool on a rack and serve.    

To freeze: Scones freeze very well.  Place scones you plan to freeze (without egg wash or other toppings) on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Freeze until solid then wrap with plastic wrap and foil, and place in a freezer bag.  To bake, place frozen scones on lined baking sheet, brush on egg wash and add toppings, then bake immediately as directed, adding an extra couple of minutes to the bake time.  


Almond Peach Shortcakes 
Based on almond scone recipe from above

- For 2 shortcakes -

2 small to medium ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 almond scones, recipe above
1/4 cup lightly whipped cream

Place peaches into a bowl and toss with sugar and lemon juice (you could even add a splash of liqueur, if desired).  Set aside and let sit for about 15 minutes.  

For each shortcake, slice an almond scone across horizontally.  Place the bottom of the scone on to a plate. Spoon half the peaches on top of it, drizzling some of the liquid from the fruit over it.  Add a generous dollop of whipped cream and top with the remaining half of the scone.






36 comments:

  1. I LIVE for almond croissants- and these look like something somewhat similar that I can make at home! Yum! Great idea...

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    1. I once made a 'knock-off' of almond croissants by simply stuffing a little almond paste (and chocolate) into puff pastry. Anyway, I hear you...love almond-anything! :

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  2. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL scones, Monica!

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  3. Oh my goodness, these are beautiful scones Monica! I am a sucker for almond pastries and it sounds fantastic paired with the peaches. Love that these are jam packed with almond flavor and thanks for the tip to grate frozen almond paste. Yay, way to go on no added waste too with the extra scone too :) Happy Friday!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. Things with nuts are always so much more interesting to me...texture and flavor thing, I suppose. I find that you don't really need to freeze the almond paste too long to get it to grate easily...even if not frozen, it works but is just a bit stickier. Have a great weekend!

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  4. YUM! These scones look so delicious and I love the toppings! I love almonds and need to try these out. The shortcakes are so cute!!

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. I really liked the topping and would not skip it (it crossed my mind weather the sugar was necessary)...it adds a nice extra crunch. And I agree, little cakes are always cute. : )

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  5. Monica, these drew a gasp when I saw them!! Such a great idea to include the almond paste and the sliced almonds on top look divine. Add the peaches, so perfectly seasonal. Have a great weekend :-)

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    1. How sweet of you, Jo. I am sure you are an expert on scones...I have lots to learn. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend (and summer)!

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  6. First sight of those grated almond paste, I thought they were grated cheddar!! The almond paste I get over here isn't golden at all. Those scones look beautiful, Monica.

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    1. Yes - I absolutely think it looked like cheese lying there! : ) The almond paste isn't really quite that golden...it's a little bit of a trick of the light, I think.

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  7. I love a good scone as a breakfast treat! And you know I cannot resist anything with almond! These look fantastic. And the peach shortcake with some whipped cream?? That sounds amazing. Have a great weekend Monica!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley. I have totally come around to the idea of scones...and I like these buttermilk ones. Seems a bit less heavy than cream scones. Of course, I go and plop on whipped cream to make a shortcake out of it so...

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  8. these look awesome, you can never go wrong with a good scone!

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    1. I'm starting to understand that now! : )

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  9. HI Monica, love these kinds of scones, will be making this recipe as soon as I get my hands of some almond paste, did not know it can come in a can, very interesting.

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    1. Glad to hear it, Cheri! I'm not a big fan of the almond paste that comes in a tube...Aside from Love 'n Bake, I also use the Solo brand (also in a can) and like it.

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  10. Yay for almonds! I don't know what I would have done if there were no almonds in the world. These treats look fabulous.

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    1. I am in total agreement with you. If I am not baking/cooking with almonds, I am snacking on it.

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  11. I have a deep love of almond paste-infused treats as well...so I'm totally intrigued by these! Very interesting that the almond paste is grated so you get little bits in every bite!

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    1. I do love baking things with almond paste. It makes things so chewy and flavorful. : )

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  12. My goodness Monica - this is a wonderful recipe! I have homemade almond paste in the freezer waiting for a delicious recipe to come along. Hope you don't mind but I'm making this one soon! The peaches the almond, the soft scone - heavenly!!!!

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    1. I was just thinking it's funny how much I love almond paste but have never had the inclination to make my own almond paste. I hope you share the recipe. I love the convenience of opening the can, I have to admit, but I'm sure homemade is better since it almost always is.

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  13. Such a great idea!! I love scones and I love peaches. Together = Best dessert ever!!

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    1. I thought I might as well make the scones go double-duty. It works really well. Thank you.

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  14. Great idea Monica...love it with fresh peach and a whipped cream...beautifully done.
    Enjoy you week :D

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    1. The shortcakes are fun - thanks, Juliana!

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  15. I just love how flaky and delicious your scones look. Yum just layers of deliciousness. Almond paste is not something I work with very often and this is brilliant. Just slathered with peaches and cream and perfect with my morning cup of tea. Fun post! Take Care, BAM

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    1. Thanks so much, BAM. I love those flaky edges, too...and then I have the contrast of a moister, slightly-chewy interior to these scones. You could also just spread the center with butter and honey, of course, but the shortcakes are fun.

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  16. Mmm, these scones look great. I love how they look flaky like biscuits...and of course I love the almond flavor :) How clever of you to make a peach shortcake with them! Such a summery dessert.

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    1. Thanks, Amy! I'm not called "clever" very often and I am basking in it right now. haha
      I love you love almonds/almond paste like I do. : )

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  17. Mmmm honestly, I've never considered myself a big scones fan, but I think it's because I haven't yet had a chance to try out a truly delicious home-baked scone recipe. I love the idea of almond paste in almost anything, and it sounds like you found yet another great way to incorporate almond into your recipes ;) The chewiness factor definitely sounds alluring.

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    1. Until so recently, I never even had a scone. Making the chocolate-orange ones changed everything. Scones can be utterly delicious; my husband was/is shocked. The chocolate-orange ones are probably still the favorite but these are really great and I love using them as shortcakes. : )

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