This recipe for American-style chocolate cherry scones is sure to be a hit! Soft and fluffy cream scones packed full of fresh cherries and rich dark chocolate chips. The perfect upgrade to tea time!
Why you'll love them
- Buttery rich dough - these are an American-style cream scone. The heavy cream gives them a rich flavour and a soft texture.
- Fresh cherries - this is a fun and easy recipe for using some fresh cherries. Whether it's cherry season or you've found some in your fridge that you need to use up! Plus, baking with fresh cherries allows you to add a vibrant flavour and colour to these scones without any food dye.
- Dark chocolate - rich dark chocolate pairs best with cherry, just look at the classic black forest gateaux.
- Easy one bowl recipe - no need to deal with stand mixers, multiple bowls, or strange tools. This recipe can be whipped up in one large mixing bowl!
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour work best here. You can use bread flour, however, this will lead to drier scone dough and may require additional cream to bring it together.
- Sugar - either granulated sugar or caster sugar.
- Light brown sugar - firmly packed. This gives the scones an additional richness to the flavour with notes of molasses.
- Baking powder
- Dark chocolate chips
- Cherries - I use fresh dark cherries in this recipe, stems removed, pitted and then cut into quarters. You can also use frozen cherries here or even dry ones, though the dried will offer a different texture to the recipe (a bit more like adding raisins or sultanas).
- Heavy cream - or double cream. This should be chilled and kept in the refrigerator until ready for use. A lot like pasty, keeping the dairy cold before adding to the dough is key to a successful scone.
Why Use Heavy Cream in Scones
Heavy cream is used in these scones in place of milk and butter.
The fat content of the heavy cream helps to add a buttery richness to the scones without needing to rub cold butter into the dough. This gives them the perfect soft and fluffy texture, with fewer ingredients and less mess.
Preparing the Cherries
I prepare my cherries by pitting and quartering these. You can leave these cherries as halves if you want larger chunks, though this may result in fewer pieces distributed per scone. You can also cut them smaller if preferred. This will not impact the rest of the recipe.
My recipe is for fresh cherry scones, however, you can also substitute dried cherries into this recipe if these are more convenient.
Substituting with Dried Cherries
Dried cherries will not add as much moisture to the bake, and therefore you will need to keep in mind these tips:
- You may find that you need additional cream to bring the dough together.
- As a dried fruit, they will also bake a bit more hard and crisp - like raisins or currants.
- You can soak them first in water, orange juice or (for an adult version of these scones) kirsch. This will plump them up and soften them a bit, adding moisture.
Substituting with Frozen Cherries
For using frozen cherries, I'd typically suggest:
- Allow the cherries to defrost first - this will make them easier to add to the dough and prevent uneven baking through having frozen pockets of fruit in the mixture.
- Add the heavy cream slowly. Frozen fruits once defrosted can seep out more liquid than their fresh counterparts meaning you might not need as much cream to bring this dough together.
How to Make the Best Chocolate Cherry Scones
My fresh cherry scones with dark chocolate chips are an easy American-style cream scone. The recipe and process here are loosely based on the New York Times recipe for Cream Scones.
This is a one-bowl recipe for cherry chocolate scones. It couldn't be easier! Simply follow these steps:
Step 1: Mixing the dry ingredients together
Simply mix the dry ingredients together - this is the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and spices. To thoroughly incorporate these ingredients, its best to whisk these or use a table fork.
Step 2: Adding the cherries and chocolate
It is best to add these in to the dry ingredients to ensure these are distributed throughout the dough. If you were to try adding at the end, the dough would be too thick to incorporate these well. This would result in the dough becoming overworked and the cherries mashed.
Step 3: Adding chilled heavy cream
Slowly add in the heavy cream. This is best done by forming a small well in the middle of your dry ingredients and pouring about half of the cream in. Stir this with a knife and then continue adding the liquid small amounts at a time, mixing with your hands until a dough forms.
You do not want to over-add the liquid or overwork the dough. So, avoid too much kneading while you are bringing this together. You can expect to have between ¼ cup and ½ cup of the cream leftover.
Once the dough as formed, reserve the remaining cream for later.
Step 4: Cutting American-Style triangular scones
American-style scones are different from British in a few ways - one them being the way they're cut. While British scones are usually circular, American scones are generally served as triangles.
This is an easy shape to achieve, using either a sharp knife of a dough cutter. Follow these steps:
- Once you have your dough, turn this out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead once or twice lightly and form a round, roughly 7" or 8" wide and about 1" thick (image 6 below).
- Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to slice in half (image 7 below).
- Then slice perpendicularly across, forming four equal wedges.
- Slice each of these in half to form eight triangular scones (images 8 and 9 below).
To make the cutting process easier, use some flour to dust your blade between cuts. This will prevent the dough from sticking.
Step 5: Baking the scones
Once your scones are sliced, transfer the slices to a prepared baking sheet. They will expand a bit in the oven, so space these about 2" apart.
Brush each with the reserved cream and add any optional toppings. Demerara or coarse sugar will add a bit of extra texture to the top and no one says no to a bit of extra chocolate!
Bake in the centre of a preheated 400°F oven for about 15 minutes. The scones should be golden on top, but be careful that the tips don't catch!
Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and eat warm or save for a teatime snack!
These American-style scones can be made plain or you can add a little extra finesse with a fun topping. Some easy options for giving these a decorative finish:
- Before baking, press a few dark chocolate chips or some extra pieces of chopped cherries on top. This ensures you'll have some of these on the surface of your bake, not just inside the dough.
- Also before baking, sprinkle some coarse brown sugar (like demerara) over the top. This will stick to the glaze and give a light crunchy texture as well as pretty almost sparkly finish once baked.
- After baking, these scones can be complimented with a drizzle of icing - a quick mix of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk will go great with them!
My top tips for success with this recipe are:
- Make sure that your cream is well chilled. Working with room temperature or warm cream can result in too easily adding more than you really need. This will give the dough a denser texture.
- Try to avoid overworking the dough. You want it to come together, but, just like pastry, working it too much will mean it may become a bit more dense and cake like.
- Press straight down when slicing the dough and avoid dragging the cutter through it like a knife. Cutting straight down will give a cleaner shape to the scones and it will help them to keep a fluffy texture as they rise better in the oven.
Looking for the perfect accompaniment to these scones? Try:
These cherry chocolate scones are always best warm and freshly baked! Conveniently, they're also super easy to prep in advance.
You can make the dough and shape them the day before you want them. Simply keep them wrapped in the refrigerator overnight for baking the next day. The baking times may vary slightly if you are baking them chilled, keep an eye on them but expect an extra minute or two.
Once you've baked your scones, you may have some leftovers. Not to fear! While I'll always maintain that nothing quite tops a fresh baked scone, these stay good for a few days if you've got some leftover.
Allow them to cool completely and then wrap well or place in an airtight container. They're best stored at room temperature, however, the precise storage may be impacted by any toppings you've added. If you've used a heavy cream or cream cheese based glaze or frosting, these will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
If you double (or scale further) this chocolate cherry scone recipe, it is best to form multiple rounds. If you have doubled the recipe, form two rounds of the same size and cut each as directed. This will ensure you make the appropriate number of scones of roughly equal sizes.
These scones stay fairly fresh for several days in an airtight container at room temperature. If you are making them for a particular event, I would recommend making fresh on the day as nothing beats a warm scone! But, leftovers will remain good for about 3 or 4 days.
Yes, these are easily frozen. You can freeze the baked scones, in freezer bags for about 3 months.
Looking for more chocolate and cherry inspiration? Try:
- Chocolate Cherry Brownies
- Cherry Panna Cotta
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Rolls
- Cherry Bakewell Blondies
Chocolate Cherry Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour or plain flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar or caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips or solid chocolate finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh cherries about 10 medium-sized cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1½ cups heavy cream or double cream
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200C/180C Fan) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugars.
- Add the chopped cherries and chocolate chips, stir through the flour mixture.
- Slowly add the heavy cream, a little at a time until the mixture comes together into a dough. You will likely need between 1 and 1¼ cup. Reserve the remaining cream to brush the top of the scones before baking.
- Once the dough has come together, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly once or twice to form a round. Press this into a circle, roughly 8" round and 1" thick.
- Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut this into 8 triangles (like pizza slices).
- Place these a couple inches apart on the baking sheet and brush with the reserved heavy cream. Top with extra chocolate chips and/or coarse brown sugar (optional).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.