Cranberry Orange Scones
It is a sure sign of fall when the first bags of fresh cranberries hit the store shelves. I have no idea why, but I cannot resist the ones that are packed in the red, mesh bags! Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be complete without a bowl of crimson, whole-berry cranberry sauce. As we decorate for Christmas, memories of stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands surface. Visiting a cranberry bog would make a great foodventure, don’t you think? Sometimes I just need a taste of that tartness mixed with a little sweetness, and that is when I make these Cranberry Orange Scones.
Two things will improve your chances of scone success: cold butter and the right amount of flour. Cutting cold butter into the dry ingredients creates small lumps of butter that, when baked, will create mini air pockets resulting in the desired light and airy texture. The scone dough should not be too sticky or too dry. Most of the flour is added in the first mixing steps. The additional flour is incorporated into the dough just before forming the discs. When the dough is transferred from bowl to floured surface, it will be sticky. Gently roll and fold the extra flour into the the sticky dough just until the dough stops sticking to your hands. Work with floured hands when dividing the dough and forming into discs.
The scones in this picture would have benefitted from a little more flour … but, guess what? They’re delicious!
Cranberry Orange Scones
I think another reason I love to make these scones is the aromatherapy session that transpires. When zesting the orange, take a second to just inhale. This is free (almost) essential oil bliss. If you haven’t ever grated your own nutmeg, I highly recommend it. Just look at the beautiful interior of the nutmeg seed! Did you know that nutmeg is a seed from a particular evergreen variety? Also, the nutmeg seed covering is the source of the spiced called mace.
Even though cranberries are not very fragrant, the color alone is sure to brighten spirits … at least until you get that first bight of tartness.
Blueberry Lemon Scones
This recipe is easily adapted for a spring/summer version. Fresh blueberries and lemon are a perfect combination. Do not try to chop the blueberries … they are too juicy to handle this. Tossing the blueberries in a teaspoon or two of flour before incorporating them into the dough will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the scones while baking. Also, while allspice is a great flavor for colder seasons, ginger is a better accompaniment for the blueberry/lemon combination.
More Cranberries Please
Can’t get enough cranberries this time of year? You might want to try this recipe for Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti!
For now … get in there and make some scones!
- 1/3 cup cold butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour divided
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4-1/3 cup half-n-half
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- turbanado (raw) sugar
- Preheat oven to 400⁰.
- Cut butter into small cubes and return to refrigerator. See note below.
- Whisk 1 3/4 cups flour, spices, baking powder, sugar and salt together.
- Cut in butter until crumbly. Use your hands to work the flour mixture into the butter. Work quickly to avoid "melting" the butter cubes. A fork or pastry blender works well too. Small lumps of butter should remain.
- Slightly beat eggs with a fork and add enough half-n-half to make 2/3 cup liquid. Add zest.
- Lightly stir egg mixture into dry ingredients until about half incorporated.
- Grind cranberries in a food processor or chop by hand; fold into dough. Dough should still be sticky.
- Sprinkle remaining flour on a cutting board or countertop. Transfer dough to floured surface and gently work the flour into the dough.
- Divide dough into two portions.
- Pat each portion into a circle about 6” in diameter on ungreased cookie sheet.
- Cut each circle into 6 wedges.
- Brush with half-n-half and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake at 400⁰ for 15-20 minutes, or until nicely browned and set in the center.