A buttery scone is usually a perfect match for jam, which adds some extra sweetness and flavor to the rich breakfast pastry. I typically serve the jam on the side, but these Buttermilk Cherry Thumbprint Scones have the jam baked right in! Cherry preserves are piled into the center of these scones before baking, giving you a sweet center surrounded by buttermilk and vanilla-kissed dough. The scone dough is moist, tender and not-too-sweet on its own, which is why it balances so well with the jam filling. The filling also gives these scones an eye-catching pop of color that really lets them stand out on a plate of pastries.
The scones are made much the same way that thumbprint cookies are, using your thumb to make an impression in the dough that can be filled with jam. The difference between these scones and cookies is the size, since the scones are quite a bit larger than your average cookie. You might need to wiggle your thumb around slightly to make a larger impression for jam, or the back of a large spoon/kitchen implement to make your “thumbprint.” Make your thumbprint deep, so that the jam has a place to settle and won’t just sit on top of the scone during baking. Thicker jams made with big chunks of fruit are going to give you the best looking and best tasting results.
These scones are best on the day that they are made, when the outside of the scone is still slightly crisp and the interior is moist and tender. The recipe makes a dozen relatively small scones, which is the perfect amount for a family brunch, but might be too big if you’re not baking for a crowd. You can always cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch if you only want a few, since it is much tastier to eat fresh-from-the-oven scones than two-day-old ones.
Buttermilk Cherry Thumbprint Scones
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup cherry preserves
coarse sugar, for finishing
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse several times to combine.
Add in cold butter, buttermilk, vanilla extract and almond extract and pulse until dough comes together into a ball. (This can also be done by hand, by rubbing the butter in with your fingertips and stirring in the buttermilk and extracts.) If dough is too dry, add in an additional tablespoon of buttermilk and pulse until dough is uniform.
Divide dough into 12 even balls (approx 2 1/2-inch balls; an ice cream scoop is an easy way to portion the dough).
Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches between each to allow for spread. Use your thumb to make a deep impression in the center of each scone. Fill with approximately 2 tsp cherry preserves. Sprinkle scones and cherry jam generously with coarse sugar.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until golden brown. Allow scones to cool on a wire rack for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.