One of the best things about the holidays is catching up with friends and family, especially while sharing a meal together. These cranberry orange scones are perfect for a holiday brunch with family or afternoon tea with the ladies.
Cranberry + orange is a classic flavor combination and does not disappoint in these scones. As for the scones themselves, they are true to their name — firm on the outside, soft and crumbly on the inside. They aren’t overly sweet, either, with just two tablespoons of sugar in the recipe.
The idea of baking scones from scratch can be intimidating, especially if you’re a recreational baker like me. Rest assured that you don’t need any special culinary skills to make these, and I’ll walk you through the process. Here we go!
Start by washing and drying an orange and then zesting about half of it. My palate is probably not as sophisticated as Ina Garten’s and so I boosted the cranberry and orange goodness from her original recipe. You could substitute orange extract, but you’ll lose the texture that comes from the grated peel. I think the result is worth the trouble of zesting a real orange.
Next, dice up cold unsalted butter into small cubes. I don’t own a pastry cutter, but my hard-working husband bought me a gorgeous copper stand mixer and so I use that to cut the butter into the flour mixture. (Before I had a stand mixer, I used a food processor with fine results.)
Scatter the butter cubes on top of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until it becomes crumbly and resembles coarse cornmeal.
Next, combine eggs and heavy cream in a measuring cup and slowly pour into the bowl with the mixer on low speed just until combined. The dough will look lumpy. Mix in the dried cranberries.
Now here’s the hardest part of baking scones from scratch.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it 3-4 times until it comes together. You can add up to 2 Tbsp of flour if it’s too sticky, but tread lightly as too much flour will dry out baked goods.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle about an inch thick. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into eight triangles. Space them out, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake until golden.
Ina tops them with an orange glaze, but I like them plain or with a simple sugar icing. Combine powdered sugar and half and half in a bowl and drizzle on the top of each scone.
Not so intimidating after all, right?
I hope you’ll give it a go because they are totally worth the effort. And after you’ve made these cranberry orange scones, try out my recipe for pumpkin spice scones, too. Enjoy! — v.