Cranberry Orange Scones

by Sara on February 19, 2009

Cranberry Orange Scones

At some point during the past year, scones bypassed bagels and muffins as my favorite “treat” breakfast for a lazy weekend morning. Often on my way home from the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings I would stop to pick up a blueberry scone.

Then travesty struck. I discovered that my favorite blueberry scone had an ingredient list that included sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. In a scone?!?! Scones hardly have any sugar in the entire batch, yet this place seemed to think a scone needed three different sweeteners?

So Panera, your scones have been banished from my breakfast menu forever.

That presented a slight problem though. The biggest reason I liked stopping for a scone was so I could get just one. I don’t want a big batch of scones, they really aren’t any good the second day (or third, or fourth…). I decided to roll out my dough, cut my scones, and wrap each individually in plastic wrap. They are all now happily residing in my freezer, so I can bake them off on weekend mornings when I need my fix.

Cranberry Orange Scones Cranberry Orange Scones
Cranberry Orange Scones Cranberry Orange Scones

If you haven’t had Ina’s Cranberry Orange Scones, you’re in for a real treat. I have made these before, and they are absolutely delicious, with and without the icing. You may want to add a touch more orange zest to give them a little more orange flavor, but it’s up to you.

Cranberry Orange Scones
adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Ingredients
4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough.

Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

Notes: I used a MUCH smaller biscuit cutter than the recipe called for. Instead of the 14-16 scones that Ina’s recipe yields, I cut about 40 scones from my dough (after re-rolling the dough a few times). Scones may not have much sugar, but you saw how much butter and cream goes in these…you won’t want a large portion here. Baking time is closer to 15 minutes fresh, 20 minutes frozen.

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