A delicious recipe for soft, light and fruity gluten free Cherry Scones. Made with fresh cherries and a hint of almond, my Bakewell Scones are perfect for a seasonal afternoon tea. Optional dairy free.
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Originally posted 22nd September 2018. Updated 26th July 2022
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Gluten Free Cherry Scones – An old recipe updated and improved
These Gluten Free Cherry Scones are a treat. Made with fresh cherries, they are naturally fruity, yet light, fluffy and perfect for the best of cream teas… Just as scones should ALWAYS be.
Actually… This is an old recipe, that dates back to 2018 on the blog. But after recent upgrades in my scone-making and the development of my amazing gluten free Blueberry Scones with Lemon, I have decided to update the post with an IMPROVED recipe.
Actually, the original recipe post was titled Cherry Bakewell Scones. But I figured that since not everyone likes almonds, it would be better to make the title more flexible. And yes… the added almond extract is optional. I have also removed the ground almonds from the ingredients list, so my Cherry Scones can also be made completely nut free!
Why use fresh cherries to make Cherry Scones?
Look on the internet and there are hundreds of recipes for Cherry Scones. But strange as it may sound, there are hardly any made with FRESH cherries. Most recipes use glacé cherries.
So why do I choose to make fresh cherry scones? Well…
- They are naturally fruity with juicy bites of summer-red deliciousness
- It makes the best of the cherry season
- Fresh cherries don’t add extra refined sugar to the bake… All the sweetness is natural and fresh
- I just LOVE cherries…
But bear in mind that it’s not as simple as throwing some fresh cherries in any old scone recipe… Cherries are super-juicy and that will always affect the moisture levels and ultimate result of the bake. I have tested and tested again this particular gluten free Cherry Scone recipe to get a good balance, that will (hopefully) take the guesswork out of the equation.
Using cherries out of season
Cherries are of course a seasonal fruit! And that means that when they are not in season, they can be difficult to find. I always buy loads of cherries when they are available and freeze them (pitted) so they are there when I want them. However, you can also buy cherries commercially frozen in many supermarkets and these are still fine for making fresh Cherry Scones. Just make sure they have been completely defrosted and drained of any excess juice before adding to the scone mix.
Can I make gluten free Cherry Scones with glacé cherries instead of fresh?
If you can’t source fresh or frozen cherries, then it’s possible to make this recipe using glacé cherries instead. However, to compensate for the lack of natural juice from the fruit, add an additional 20 ml/g of milk to the recipe. And remember to rinse the sugar syrup off the cherries before using.
It’s fine to use supermarket glacé cherries (the dark Morello glacé cherries are perfect and always seem plumper). However, I would absolutely recommend making your own, using my Glacé Cherries Recipe (obviously when the cherries are in season). They are easy to make, super moist and store for months.
Cherry Bakewell Scones – The full Cherry Bakewell experience… but in scone form!
If you want the full Cherry Bakewell experience, then I absolutely recommend adding plenty of almond extract to the scone mix for the best ‘Bakewell’ hit. Cherry and almond is one of my favourite flavour mix-ups. Indeed, it can be found in several recipes on the blog… From a Cherry Frangipane Tart and a Cherry Chocolate Battenberg…To Cherry-Almond Ice Cream (made with coconut milk) and even a Cherry Bakewell Cocktail.
It’s no surprise therefore, that I have a Cherry Bakewell Scone recipe too… Or that I think it’s super-delicious. But don’t take my word for it… Give the recipe a try for yourself to find out!
What can I add instead of almond extract?
If you are someone who isn’t over-keen on the flavour of almond, that’s fine. Simply leave it out of the recipe altogether, or sub with one of the following…
- Vanilla extract
- Orange or lemon extracts
- Orange blossom water
- Rose water
- A hint of ginger, cinnamon or cardamom powder
All work well alongside cherry.
Are these Cherry Scones safe for Coeliacs?
Yes. Because my recipe for Cherry Scones has been developed with only gluten free ingredients (and using a gluten free flour blend), they are made to be safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac Disease). However, it remains important (as always), to check all ingredient labels for any risk from hidden gluten or cross-contamination…
Can these gluten free Cherry Scones also be made dairy free?
Again, yes! Cherry Scones are easy to make dairy free, as long as you substitute the butter and milk for good, dairy-free alternatives. Remember however, that the butter has to be ‘rubbed in’ to the flour… And this means that it is essential to use a dairy free BLOCK alternative. I recommend either Stork Baking Block or Flora Baking Block, for their comparable texture and creaminess.
The dairy free milk used is flexible. For the recipe, it will be mixed with lemon juice to make ‘buttermilk’.
Is it possible to make this recipe for gluten free Cherry Scones vegan?
While it is possible to also make vegan, gluten free Cherry Scones, it is not something I have tested myself. I would suggest that if you want to try… Switch the egg for a flax egg. And if you do, please let me know how it turns out.
Gluten free Cherry Scone dough is not the same as wheat dough.
Making gluten free scones is not the same as making ‘normal’ wheat scones. The dough will (and should) be wetter and stickier, so that you get the best moisture levels for texture and shelf life. Bear in mind however, that this also means the dough feels ‘different’ and (to the uninitiated) not as easy to handle.
As such, Cherry Scone dough will be loose and ‘shaggy’. If it feels sticky, that’s exactly right!
Do not overwork and cut tall…
It is also essential that the dough is not ‘over-worked’… Lightly compress (rather than ‘knead’) before rolling and cutting. And make sure to cut tall! Gluten free scones will never rise as easily as wheat scones. So compensate by cutting rounds that are deep… About 5 cm in height.
Other tips for making scones…
Given that I have already written extensively my advice for making the best gluten free scones elsewhere (both in terms of ingredients and process), I’m not going to repeat again here… However, I strongly advise you to read my previous tips and advice as outlined in my other post. This will help you to get the best out of the Gluten Free Cherry Scones recipe shared below.
Either way, please FOLLOW THE RECIPE. It’s your road map for getting the most delicious scones. The ingredients and method are as they are for a reason.
Ready to make gluten free Cherry Scones with Almond?
You can find my recipe for gluten free Cherry Scones if you scroll down a little further. But as mentioned above, I would encourage you to read the previously published scone tips and tricks to help you if unsure.
If you do make them, please let me know how it goes. You can do this by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post, or by contacting me through Social Media. You’ll find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
For everything else, head over to our Gluten Free Recipe Index. With hundreds of gluten free recipes waiting to be explored, you’re sure to find something to inspire.
More unusual scone recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Cherry Scones (with Fresh Cherries and Almond)
- sharp vegetable knife
- measuring jug
- flat-bladed knife
- pastry blender optional
- 350 g gluten free plain flour blend Tested with Gluten Free Alchemist Blend A (white) and B (wholegrain) – see NOTES
- 2 tsp xanthan gum (or 2½ tsp psyllium husk as preferred) – If using a commercial flour blend already containing xanthan gum, reduce this addition to ¼ tsp only.
- pinch fine sea salt
- 4 tsp baking powder gluten free
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
- 40 g caster sugar superfine sugar
- 100 g butter or dairy free block alternative – cold and cubed
- 170 ml milk preferably full fat. Optional dairy free.
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2½ tsp natural almond extract (or 1½ to 2 tsp for less almond flavour)
- 1 large egg UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 100 g fresh cherries de-stalked and pitted
Egg wash and rolling
- Extra flour for dusting and rolling
- I egg + a little milk to glaze beaten together
- caster sugar to sprinkle (superfine sugar)
- cherry jam or alternative red jam of choice
- clotted or whipped cream
- Prepare the cherries by removing the stones (pitting) and cutting into smallish pieces.
- Set aside. If the cherries have been frozen or are releasing a lot of juice, place in a sieve over a bowl to drain off the excess juice.
- In a large mixing bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar, until all lumps are broken down and the mixture is well-blended.
- With finger tips (or a pastry blender), rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse sand. (for hot hands see NOTES).
- If possible (although not essential), chill the rubbed-in mixture in the fridge for half an hour or so.
- When ready to finish making the scone dough, mix the milk with the lemon juice. Stir and leave to stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to make homemade buttermilk (It should become grainy/lumpy).
- Meanwhile, base-line a large baking sheet with baking paper and place in the oven to pre-heat.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Add the almond extract and egg to the buttermilk and beat with a fork until blended.
- Add the liquid to the flour mix.
- Gently stir the mixture using a flat-bladed table knife until it has become evenly damp and clumpy. Be careful not to overwork. It should be a very 'shaggy', very loose dough.
- Lastly, add the fresh cherry and very gently work through the dough, trying not to squash the cherries too much (to avoid releasing excess liquid).
- With lightly-floured hands, carefully bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not over-work or over-condense). It should still be quite sticky, however if very wet, very lightly dust with a little extra flour to make it easier to handle.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly-floured surface.
- Gently press the dough down to flatten slightly and (if necessary) very lightly sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- Roll the dough out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about 5 cm.
- Using a round pastry cutter to the size of scones you require, cut the dough into rounds, by pressing straight down.
- As each scone is cut, set them to one side until ready to bake.
- Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used, trying hard not to 'work' the dough too much as you go.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of each scone with a little egg-wash.
- Sprinkle the tops with a little caster sugar
- When ready to cook, carefully take the pre-heated baking tray from the oven and (either by hand or with a spatula) quickly transfer the dough-scones to the tray, ensuring about 3 centimetres space around each one for an even bake.
- Using oven gloves, put the tray back in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes for medium-sized scones (or 15 to 16 minutes for large scones) until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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