Sunday Scones | Fresh Cranberry Orange Cream Scones

18 Mar

Last weekend, we needed to come up with a sweet baked brunch treat to bring to our friends’ house for a long awaited get together. Little did we know, whatever we brought had to compliment yummy savory quiches (2 types!), a fresh fruit salad & perfectly slow brewed coffee (Stumptown in a Chemex…more on that in a future post). We made scones & it was, after all, a delicious & adorable visit (complete with a baby AND a pup!).

I don’t make scones often but know that they’re best when baked & enjoyed the same day. That said, I couldn’t imagine getting up at 5:00 AM on a Sunday to bake two batches of scones. Yes, that’s right, TWO batches. (We couldn’t decide on which recipe to bake so I took a quick poll at work one afternoon. The response was split down the middle. That was it, my mind was made up — I’d definitely make both.)

I searched the interwebs & our library of baking/cook books for information about making the dough in advance and found tips for freezing unbaked scones but very little information about refrigeration. Now that I’m thinking of it – I should have consulted our dear friend, Cobrina – pastry chef extraordinaire. Silly me! Note to self for next time…

Ok, so here are a couple of helpful tips I found in my scone research:

  • As with most pastry recipes, very very cold butter yields the best results
  • Brown sugar is a nice substitute for granulated
  • The brand of all purpose flour matters (really! some are higher in protein than others which can affect the end consistency of the scones)

What did we do?

Well, since we’ve had good luck refrigerating similar types of dough, we figured that refrigerating the cut & prepared scones overnight couldn’t hurt.  So…we made the dough for the two recipes, cut the scones & put them on cookie sheets, covered them & popped them in the refrigerator (precariously balanced on containers of milk and pickles and stacked Chobani yogurt). We tossed them in a preheated oven the next morning. They took a little bit longer to bake (just a few minutes) but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Today, I’ll share our favorite of the two recipes with you.

(Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Fresh Cranberry Cream Scones with Candied Ginger)

Recipe makes 6 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold & cut into cubes (I froze it for a couple of hours first)

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup heavy cream, cold

1 heaping cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries (I had some in the freezer from our late fall trip to Cape Cod to visit my dad – I defrosted them & then cut them each in half)

1 tsp orange zest

1-2 TBS cream (for brushing scones)

For the glaze

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approximately 1 medium orange)

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 TBS honey

Steps

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.

2. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Give a quick pulse to mix the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter & process until the butter is well incorporated in the flour mixture. Some butter bits will be the size of peas & some will be as small as oat flakes. Don’t panic, this is exactly how it should be. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and heavy cream. Add the cream mixture all at once to the flour mixture in the food processor and process until everything comes together & forms a ball. Do not over mix! It will be very obvious when it happens — the ingredients suddenly combine to form a ball – it’s a little magical & less messy (no kneading required…yay!).

4. On a floured work surface, divide the dough in half and press each into a roundish disk.

5. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with orange zest. 

6. Press the zesty cranberries onto one half of the dough & then place the other half of dough on top. Congrats! You’ve made a zesty cranberry filled dough sandwich…mmm!  Fold the stacked cranberry dough in half a couple of times to combine the cranberries. It will seem like there are a lot of cranberries poking out. It’s okay. You don’t want to over knead the dough.

7. Pat the dough into a 1 ½ inch thick disk.

8. Cut the disk into 6 wedges.

9. Place the wedges 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and brush tops with a little cream. (If you aren’t going to bake them until the next day, skip the cream for now, cover with plastic wrap & toss them in the refrigerator. Brush the tops with cream right before putting them in the oven & note that they might have to bake a few minutes longer because they’ll be really cold.)

10. Bake for 15 minutes until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.

11. As the scones are cooling, in a small bowl, combine the O.J., confectioner’s sugar and honey with a fork or whisk.

12. Once the scones are cool, place a baking sheet under the cooling rack (for easy clean up!). Use a tablespoon to drizzle a little glaze on top of each scone. Let the glaze set before placing the scones on a plate or wrapping them up (this will take about 10-15 minutes).

 Serve at room temperature or warm them slightly in the oven before serving. Scones are best when served the day they are made, but these will last well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 The result: A tasty scone with really great texture (not too dry & not fluffy or biscuit-like). The tart cranberries & bright orange zest perfectly balance the sweetness of the sugary glaze. We only wish the recipe made more! 

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3 Responses to “Sunday Scones | Fresh Cranberry Orange Cream Scones”

  1. Laurie March 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    and they were DELICIOUS!

  2. Laurie Davis March 19, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    these look so good. will definitely try this recipe!

  3. addie March 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    yum!!!! 🙂

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