Make the macerated cherries:
Place cherries and rum in bowl. Stir and let stand, uncovered, for 2 hours.
Make the scone dough:
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in butter until small, pearl-size bits form, using pastry blender. Whisk together heavy cream, eggs and vanilla extract in another small bowl. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients with soaked cherries and rum mixture and coarsely chopped chocolate. Stir just until mixed. Dough will be slightly sticky to touch.
Turn dough onto floured work surface and knead briefly 6 to 8 times. Pat dough into 9-inch round disc. Cut into 12 wedges. Place on baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm as is, or cool scones on baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.
For Dipping Chocolate: (optional)
Place chocolate in microwave-safe cup. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth and let cool.
Dip one corner of each scone into melted chocolate. Place chocolate-dipped scones on sheets of waxed paper. Let stand until chocolate has set. Serve scones same day they are made.
Makes 12 scones.
Date: June 2, 2003