Monday, January 24, 2011

Cranberry-Orange Scones

I LOVE Saturday mornings. But previous to this weekend, Peter and I have been out of town or unavailable for the last 6 Saturdays in a row! So this weekend was our first Saturday morning at home in a long time. We woke up early and went for a long walk along the seashore. On our way back, we walked along Pacific Coast Highway where we passed a luring smell that pulled us nose-first into a little bakery. It smelled amazing! So amazing in fact, that Peter didn't want to leave and my stomach started grumbling. "That's it," I said, "I'm going home and making scones for us!" When we got home, Peter waited (with a debatable amount of patience, haha) while I quickly researched a bunch of scone recipes.  I borrowed bits and pieces from each to come up with this great Saturday morning scone.

2 cups Flour, and extra for flouring the work surface
3 Tbsp Sugar, and extra for sprinkling on top
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
12 Tbsp Butter (or 1 1/2 sticks), in small cubes
2 eggs
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup dried Cranberries ('Craisins')
(one additional egg and 1 Tbsp milk whisked together for egg wash)

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed OJ, from the orange you zested

**Technique Tip: First thing of importance is to keep all your scone ingredients cold; So after I took the picture of all the ingredients, I quickly put the butter, milk, and eggs back into the fridge until I was ready for them. When the oven's heat meets the cold ingredients, they will melt and then leave pockets and flakey layers that are so desirable in baked goods, like scones!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and start makin' your dough! Mix all your dry ingredients together, then stir the orange zest into the dry mixture.

Now for the cold ingredients. Add the cold butter cubes and mix (or use a pastry cutter or two forks). 'They' say to mix the butter until it becomes the size of peas in the dry ingredients.... but I never really see the 'pea size' that 'they' are talking about. So I just mix until it is like a crumbly but very dry apple crisp topping (if that helps you), so that it looks like this: 

Then, whip the cold eggs and milk together, and mix that into your bowl. 
You can't see it in the picture, but in your dough you will see a ton of beautiful bright orange specks of zest throughout your dough. Oh, it is so pretty!

Next, fold the craisins into the dough....

...and turn it out onto a floured work surface.
Gently incorporate the flour into the dough until it just loses its stickiness. But beware not to overwork your dough because the more you handle it, the warmer it will become. Keeping that in mind, quickly shape it into a 1 inch thick circle: 

Now I transfer the whole circle to my silpat-lined baking sheet. Then with a floured cutting edge, divide the circle into 8 scones (kind of like cutting a pizza).
Paint it with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar. When the scones come out of the oven, the egg wash and sugar leave them with a very appealing glossy appearance and a sweet little crunch.

I like to keep mine in the circle like this because it eliminates the process of transferring each cut scone one by one. But more importantly, I like this technique because I think it keeps the scones a little more moist. However, if you like your scones a little more dry and crumbly (like Peter does) you may want to separate each scone to increase the surface area that will be exposed to the heat while they bake.

Pop your scones into the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Let your scones cool just a little bit, about 2 minutes, so that it's still very warm but the glaze won't melt right off when you drizzle it on top. During that two minutes, mix together your glaze. With a fork, mix together the fresh OJ and the powdered sugar. It makes a pretty peach colored glaze (you could even add a little orange zest to the glaze for some extra flavor and color). 

Take your glaze and go to town on your scones:




And it gets even better, literally.... like a bottle of wine, these get better in time- so save a few for leftovers. Peter and I both thought that these scones were even better the second day with a light toasting to warm them up.

They also make perfect treats to package up and send to the office with hubby 
...or for a good friend's birthday morning... :)
Happy Birthday Adam!

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