San Francisco & Cherry Almond Sourdough Scones

IMG_3671Ever since I posted about Alcatraz, I’ve had one thing on the brain:


clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. For me, a trip to San Francisco isn’t complete without it!

Each time I visit the city, I walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf,


a popular tourist destination still home to the city’s fishing fleet. Family-owned restaurants and stands line the pier selling Dungeness crab, other fresh seafood, and chowder in sourdough bread bowls.


Everyone has a favorite chowder vendor and I like the excuse to walk over to Pier 39, a fun shopping and entertainment center on the edge of the wharf, to buy a bowl from Boudin Bakery.


Being at the Pier not only provides a delicious lunch with a scenic marina backdrop


and great views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, but also the opportunity to see the California Sea Lions!


The sea lions have made the dock their home since 1989 and, in turn, captivate visitors with their playful swimming, sunning, and barking.

After lunch, a visit with the seals, and some boutique shopping, I’m always thankful Ghiradelli Square is around the corner,


offering sweet treats and ice cream sundaes.

Ghiradelli Square has been on the National Register of Historic Places for over two decades, so I know it will always be there when I return. But since a trip to San Francisco isn’t on my travel docket in the near future and my craving isn’t waning, I was inspired to get a sourdough starter going and make these Cherry Almond Sourdough Scones!

I began with a simple sourdough scone recipe from and made modifications to create a treat worthy of any San Francisco bakery.


Click Here to Print This Recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 1/4 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For Garnish (optional)

  • milk
  • coarse sugar
  • chopped almonds


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whist together flour, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar, and lemon zest.


  • Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cherries. Add sourdough starter, heavy whipping cream, and extracts; mix until dry ingredients are incorporated and a soft dough is formed.


  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; form it into a 1/2 inch-thick rectangle. Cut rectangle into 8 squares; cut each square into 2 triangles. Place scones onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart.


  • Optional: Brush tops of scones with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar and/or chopped almonds.


  • Bake until scones begin to turn golden brown, approximately 13-15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.




9 responses

  1. As I’m waiting this morning to have breakfast, I’m reading your blog. Guess what I have an urge for now? Scones! I’m getting my coat on and running up the street to Burrini’s to buy one. The only disappointing thing is that I know it’s not going to be a good as yours!

  2. Sourdough scones?! This is so intriguing, and sounds delicious. Last time I flew through the San Francisco airport I bought a huge loaf of sourdough and carried it lovingly on the plane all the way back to Bangkok – that stuff is so good.

    • The cherries and almond are a great counterbalance for the sourdough, making the flavor subtle enough for scones. I was pretty apprehensive about tackling a sourdough starter, but it wasn’t nearly as challenging as I was expecting and made for a fun science experiment. I recommend putting Frank on sourdough starter duty (he’s had lots of practice at science. lol.) and turning some sourdough bread out of the Bangkok kitchen! :)

  3. Sounds like a great way to combine two favorites, sourdough bread and scones. Dried cherries and almonds/almond extract added in – delicious and different.

    • That was my exact question when I first started searching for recipes! Never having delved into breads, I had no idea what a sourdough starter was… You can buy kits, but it’s as simple as putting yeast, flour, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and bottled water into a glass bowl or jar and waiting for it to rise and ferment. I’d be happy to share the proportions with you if you want to give it a try. Otherwise, you could easily make these scones without it by doubling the heavy cream. You’d lose the sourdough flavor, but they would still be delicious!

  4. Your photos bring back great memories. Scones are a breakfast treat in our house, but cherry almond sourdough are not available in this area. They sound like a not-to-be missed delight!

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