These Cherry Almond Scones are a sweet treat but have absolutely no sugar in them, just a touch of stevia! They’re easy to make and quick to pull together. They’re delicious any time of the day, and you can feel good about eating something that tastes so good and is good for you, too.
If you’ve made my classic Scones recipe, then you know how much I adore scones, and I will spare you the long ode to scones that I love to partake in.
Once you have a good solid scone recipe, then the variations are endless. The recipe for these Cherry Almond Scones is inspired by a recipe in Sarah Clelland’s excellent and very thorough The National Trust Book of Scones.
These Cherry Almond Scones remind me of granola or a Bakewell tart with the combination of cherry and almond flavor. They’re delicious plain, but it never hurts to put your favorite topping on a scone whatever it may be – fruit-sweetened jam, buttery spread, real butter, clotted cream. Whatever you love best.
It took many tries to get these scones to turn out right. Clelland’s recipe calls for glace cherries and a lot of icing, which I’m sure would taste amazing but would give me a migraine and leave my whole family itchy and grumpy. Plus, I don’t personally like glace anything.
I tried making these scones first with fresh cherries, because, aside from scones, one of my other #1 food loves is cherries. But the fresh cherries added too much moisture to the scones and they gave the scones a very unappealing blue-green color. Ditto for the frozen cherries.
Then, I did some research and figured out that fresh cherries don’t really bake well. I need to use dried cherries, but NOT the sweet ones. For baking, it’s best to use dried sour cherries. They are tangy when eaten raw (and I actually really like them like that), but when they get baked, they turn sweet – and just sweet enough. The “sweet cherries” bake up way too sweet. They’re better just for snacking on or putting in trail mixes or granolas.
Once I had my cherries picked (hahaha!), I wanted to see if soaking them in hot water really did make a difference, and the answer is, yes. Soaking them first in hot water before adding them to the your recipe is a very necessary step.
The rest of the recipe follows the same process as my classic Scone recipe. Don’t overwork the dough. Pat your disk out nice and thick. Don’t twist the scone cutter.
The only additional tip needed in this recipe is that you might need some additional liquid because we’re adding so many cherries and almonds. It’s in the notes below, but just a heads-up.
What are you waiting for? Get baking!
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- Perfect scones that are completely sugar free
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Quick to make
- An easy recipe to make with kids
Ingredients for Cherry Almond Scones:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- baking powder
- Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- egg yolk
- liquid stevia
- almond extract
- coconut milk
- dried sour cherries
- slivered almonds
Notes on Ingredients:
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour – Scones have a lot of flour. That’s what makes them dense and crumbly in all the right ways. I have tried a lot of different mixes of gluten free flours over the years, and I have found that Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour works the best. It’s easy to find and easy to use, and I’m always one for efficiency.
Baking powder – What gives a scone those distinctive layers and the incredible rise is a ton of baking powder. Too much, though, and it can turn your baked goods bitter. A lot of British recipes call for “Self-Rising Flour” which has baking powder already mixed in. That’s not available in the U.S., so I need to add the baking powder separately from the flour. I have found that 6 teaspoons is just the right amount.
Salt – Salt not only gives baked goods flavor, but it brings out the flavors of the other ingredients. It’s like the best back-up singer in the pantry.
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks – These vegan buttery sticks have a very neutral taste and work perfectly for delicate, tender scones. They’re also lower in cholesterol than most other fats which is a win-win.
Eggs – Eggs are the binder in this recipe, and they’re also providing fat, creating those biscuity layers of delicious, fluffy delight.
Egg yolk – It was truly a revelation when I figured out that just adding one extra egg yolk would give the scones enough binding and structure to hold them together without being stiff and stodgy. This one egg yolk makes the scones work without any added sweetener aside from stevia.
Liquid stevia – This is the only sweetener in this recipe. It’s all that’s needed.
Almond extract – The almond extract complements the flavor of the cherries and also brings out the flavor of the slivered almonds more.
Coconut milk – Coconut milk works best of any liquid I have tried for this recipe. Coconut milk has a high fat content, and fat makes baked goods more tender. That’s what we want here, because without that extra fat, there’s a risk of scones being too dry. With the right amount of fat, the result is a scone that is tender and soft but still just crumbly enough.
Dried sour cherries – These are the dried sour cherries that I used. You want to use “tart cherries,” not the ones labeled “sweet cherries.” The dried sweet cherries are good for snacking; the dried sour cherries are the ones you want for baking. They’re more tangy in their natural form, but once they’re baked, they take on just the right sweetness. Please check labels and make sure that the cherries you’re using are pitted and unsweetened. I couldn’t find them in any stores near me and had to order them online.
Slivered almonds – Please use slivered almonds and not just chopped up raw almonds, because the slivered almonds are more tender and have a higher ratio of the inside part of the almond to the skin. If you just chop up a bunch of raw almonds, they’re going to have more skin – which is dry and coarse – and that is going to make your scones more dry and coarse and not as pleasant to eat.
How to Make Cherry Almond Scones From Scratch
First of all, preheat your oven to 425 F. It’s a higher temperature, because scones fall into the same category as pie crusts for me. You want those beautiful layers. The layers happen because of the steam released from the butter (or butter substitute). I think it’s important to think of scones like pie crust for when we get to handling the dough later, too.
Before you start mixing the dough, soak your dried sour cherries in a small bowl of hot water. This will soften them up and make them perfect for baking. They should be soft after about 10 minutes, but they can soak for longer, too, and that’s okay.
In a large bowl, use a whisk to mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Next, you’re going to rub the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks into the flour mixture. You can use a pastry cutter, but I’m all for simplicity, and I prefer to use my hands. Rub the Earth Balance in until you don’t see large chunks of it anymore and the flour mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.
Next, add the dried sour cherries (strain them first, please!) and the slivered almonds, and mix them into the flour until well distributed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the 2 whole eggs, the 1 egg yolk, the liquid stevia, the almond extract, and the coconut milk. Set aside 2 Tbsp. of this liquid mixture to use as the egg wash later. Don’t forget to do this, because it really makes a difference.
Now, pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and use either a mixing spoon or your hands to incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. I usually start with a spoon and then switch to my hands. You really just want to mix everything together until it’s just combined. You don’t want to overwork the dough. Even though we’re not using a flour with gluten, we still don’t want to the dough to be overworked. Easy does it.
Since we put so many add-ins into this dough in the form of the dried sour cherries and the slivered almonds, you might need to add a little more liquid. I added 1 Tablespoon of cold water at a time until the dough held together better and wasn’t so crumbly. For me, I needed 2 Tablespoons of water.
Put a handful of gluten free flour on a cutting board and turn the dough out onto the cutting board. Add just enough flour so that they dough holds together and you can form it into a disk.
This is very important. Don’t make the disk too thin. Gluten free dough will NOT rise as much as regular flour with gluten. So if you want a nice, tall scone, you have to make the disk tall, too. I make my disk about 2 inches thick. Make the sides even and tall, too, so that you get the most scones you can out of the first cutting. Each time you have to reshape the dough, you will lose some of the layers, so it’s ideal to cut as many scones out in the first round as possible.
*Pro tip: Do not twist the cutter at all or you will lose the crenellated edges and you will squish the layers. Just press the cutter down and pull the cutter straight up again.
Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with the milk mixture that you set aside earlier. This will give the scones a shiny golden top and also holds the top of the scone together so it doesn’t crack too much in the oven.
Bake the scones in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
These scones are delicious while warm, so once they’re cool enough to handle, enjoy them.
Scones will keep for about 2-3 days in an airtight container on the counter.
MORE SUGAR FREE & GLUTEN FREE SCONES RECIPES:
- Classic Scones - Sugar Free Gluten Free Dairy Free
- Lemon Scones - Sugar Free Gluten Free Dairy Free
- Hazelnut Chocolate Scones - Sugar Free Gluten Free Dairy Free
Cherry Almond Scones – Gluten Free Sugar Free
- 450 g Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 6 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 75 g Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup dried sour cherries, soaked in hot water and drained
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- In a small bowl, soak the dried sour cherries in hot water for at least 10 minutes. Then, strain the cherries.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery sticks and rub it into the flour with your finger until the dough resembles coarsesand. Add the cherries and slivered almonds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, liquid stevia, almond extract, and coconut milk. Set 2 Tablespoons of the egg mixture aside to use as an egg wash.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the dough just holds together. Add 2 more Tablespoons of water if the dough is too crumbly and is not holding together.
- Lightly flour a cutting board and turn the dough out onto the board.
- Shape the dough into a thick disk about 2 inches thick.
- Use a scone cutter to cut out the scones. Do not twist the cutter. Just press straight down and then lift straight up again.
- Place the scones on the baking sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each scone with the egg wash.
- Bake for 15 minutes.