Growing up, my sister and I loved to throw tea parties (ok, let's be honest...what little girl doesn't?!). We'd brew some tea (in our polka dotted tea pot, of course), gather snacks from the kitchen (Ritz cracker-and-raspberry jam "cake" was a popular menu item), gather our stuffed animals to join the party, and get all dolled up in our playroom-costume-box best. It was an all-out affair that we absolutely relished in. Over time, the oversized peach-colored 80's dresses with puffy sleeves have become crisp, cool outfits, the cracker cakes have become actual baked treats, and the stuffed animals have been replaced by girlfriends. While those tea parties of my younger years are something I'll always remember fondly, the girls lunches and coffee dates I get to have now are just as fun.
As Michelle and I were preparing for our NYC summer staycation guide (coming at you June 10th!), one of the companies we partnered with, BaubleBar, offered to have us video chat with a SWAT stylist once we realized their NYC store was no longer open (such a bummer, but thank goodness for technology, am I right?!). So, of course, what else would we do but turn a meeting into a girls afternoon tea! Michelle provided the beverages (dirty iced mocha chai tea drinks that are kind of out of this world! Trust me, you'll regret it if you don't get her recipe!) and I brought the snacks, these chocolate cherry almond scones, because nothing screams "Pair me with tea!" more than scones. Shopping for baubles, sipping on dirty chais, biting into ridiculously decadent scones.....yup, I'd say adult tea parties, er meetings, are just as fun as 5-year-old ones! And if you think otherwise, well, clearly you haven't seen tea at The Plaza....
P.S. Whatever you do, don't miss the last two pictures in this post, because do you see those drawings?! Michelle made those. I know, right?!! I mean......is she talented or what?!
CHOCOLATE CHERRY ALMOND SCONES
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Zest of one lemon
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted or untoasted
- 1/2 cup milk (I use 2% or whole)
- 1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- Additional heavy cream or milk for the chocolate, optional
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and lemon zest. Using your fingers, two forks, or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Mix in the cherries and the almonds.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the milk, almond milk, and the lemon juice.
Stir the milk mixture and vanilla extract into the batter with a spatula, just until it comes together. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead the dough together until it is smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated, making sure not to over-mix. The dough can be very sticky so don't be surprised if you end up using another 1/2 cup-1 cup of flour while you are kneading everything together.
Pat the dough into a circle that is about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 8-12 wedges, depending on how large you would like your scones.
Put the scones on a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Watch them carefully at the end so as not to over-bake them.
Remove from the oven. Let cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly. If the chocolate is too thick or having trouble melting, add just a tiny splash of milk or cream (I would add it in increments of 1 teaspoon). Once it is melted, use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate across the scones. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.