Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into smaller pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you have various sizes no larger than peas. Add the chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg and vanilla until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour cheese mixture into it. Using a light hand, bring the edges of the flour mixture up and over the cheese mixture turning the bowl each time. Continue to mix in this fashion until there are no dry bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl.
Using your hands, squeeze the dough together until you can bring it together into a ball. Do not over mix at this point or you'll end up with scones that are too dense. Just bring it together into a cohesive ball. We still want bits of butter visible in the dough. They'll help the scone puff up when it bakes.
Place a couple of large sheets of plastic wrap on your work surface. Empty your dough onto the plastic wrap and form it into a square about 3/4-1" thick. Wrap it in the plastic wrap and freeze for about 30-45 minutes until dough is firm.
While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove dough from freezer, unwrap and using a sharp knife, cut into 8 triangles. (See photos in blog post.)
Place each scone at least 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until scones have risen and edges are lightly golden. (Take care not to over bake or you'll risk having dry scones.) Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Take the stems off 4 cherries, cut each cherry in half and pat dry with paper towels.
Place the confectioner's sugar into a small mixing bowl. Add vanilla and water, milk or cherry juice until you reach your desired glaze consistency. You'll probably need 2-3 Tablespoons of liquid, but add it a little at a time, stirring after each addition.
Working on one scone at at time, spoon glaze over and spread to the edges. Place a half of a cherry in the middle of each scone and sprinkle chopped pistachios over all. Allow glaze to set. Serve.
*I buy Tillen Farms maraschino cherries because they're all natural. No food dyes, no artificial preservatives, all natural ingredients. And while we didn't need them for today's recipe, they also come with the stems on which is extra pretty when topping desserts. I buy mine at Whole Foods.
*If you want a sweeter scone, increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Just remember that you have the glaze to add sweetness as well.
*If you want more chocolate chips, increase that to 1/2 cup as well.
*Ricotta cheese often has liquid that collects in the container. Either stir the ricotta to incorporate that liquid before measuring, or pour it off and discard. Either way is fine.
*Remember, if you overwork the dough, it will be overly tough and too dense. If you over bake the scones they will be dry.
*I made a thin glaze, but if you want a thicker glaze, just use less liquid. If you want more glaze, start with 2 cups of powdered sugar and add liquid to desired consistency.
*You can use more cherries, chop them up into smaller pieces and scatter them over the entire top of the scone in the same manner as the pistachios.
*My pistachios were roasted, but unsalted. I think I might have preferred the hit of salt on top of the sweet glaze. I'll probably try that next time.
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