I’ve called these Scollens – a cross between a scone and stollen. Quick and easy to make and infinitely adaptable to your own dried fruit likes and dislikes. I would say though that if you dislike the flavour of almonds, they probably aren’t for you.
This amount made about 15, easily halved
450g self-raising flour
40g golden caster sugar
200g ground almonds
150g very cold butter (I put it in the freezer for half an hour before I start)
100g mixed dried fruit – I used cranberries, cherries and blueberries
1tsp almond essence
2 large eggs, beaten
about 100ml milk
a little extra flour
Preheat oven 180c/gas mark 7
Put the flour, sugar and ground almonds in a roomy bowl and mix together thoroughly.
Take the butter out of the freezer and use the coarse side of a box grater to grate half of the butter into the flour mixture then use a kitchen knife to cut and mix the butter into the flour. Try to do this lightly and coat each strand in flour – ideally you want to avoid compressing the butter into lumps. Repeat with the rest of the butter.
Then do the same thing with the marzipan but I would do this bit in three or four goes to prevent the marzipan from clumping together too much.
Once that is in stir in the dried fruit.
Whisk together the eggs, almond essence and about half of the milk. Then use the kitchen knife to cut and stir the liquid into the dry ingredients. Now get your hands in the bowl and start to bring everything together adding extra milk as needed. The dough should be a bit claggy and there will probably be a few scrappy bits in the bottom of the bowl. Worry not.
Tip everything onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and quickly to bring everything together. This is not bread dough so only knead enough to ensure everything is more or less sticking together. The less you handle it the lighter your scones will be.
Pat the dough into a circle. I never ever roll out scone dough, just pat it into shape keeping it 4-5cm deep. You can very lightly use a rolling pin to level the top if you wish, but lightly – no flattening!
Use a 5 cm cutter to stamp out the scollens, dipping the cutter in flour between each one to stop any sticking, then place them on a baking sheet. When you use a cutter try to push it straight down without twisting and then shake the dough out without prodding too much. This ensures the end results rise more evenly in the oven. Glaze with milk or a beaten egg if liked then bake for 15-18 minutes until nicely risen and golden brown.
These are gorgeous served warm with butter. Or clotted cream. Or black cherry jam. Or indeed, all three.