Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Cranberry-Orange Scones

For my first post of the new year, it's appropriate that I post a new rendition of an old recipe: Cranberry-Orange Scones. 

The original one on my blog is slightly more light fluffy as opposed to these ones. In the original version I used milk instead of ff half & half (which yields a more dense scone). I also made that dough more wet as opposed to these scones, that's because I wasn't into the big puffy scones back then. I used to think that traditional scones were too dry and crumbly. But I've found that homemade scones are much better than the kind that sit behind the glass at a the corner store. When homemade with love, these scones are moist on the inside, golden on the outside, and have buttery flakey layers all throughout. Now I much prefer the puffy, flakey traditional scone :) 

The cherry almond scones (that I posted some time ago) really were the biggest influence on my conversion to become a true scone-lover. So I fashioned these cranberry orange scones to be very similar to those ones. If you've got a good thing going... keep goin' with it!

Last week, Peter and I were out in Palm Springs visiting his Grandparents house for a belated Christmas with them. It was so fun out there. Grandma Joanie made a delicious Christmas feast and had her house all decked out with garlands and christmas lights- indoors and out! However, when you stepped outside it felt like anything but winter. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and the fruit trees were bountiful! Grandma Joanie gave us a pair of clippers and some bags and sent us into the backyard to lighten the load on the branches of her citrus trees. We came home with enough oranges and grapefruits to last us 'till summer! With all of these fresh oranges, I figured it was a perfect time to bake some cranberry orange scones. 

Recipe (for 4 large scones): 

  • 1 3/4 cups AP Flour
  • 3 generous Tablespoons Sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Butter, COLD and diced into small bits
  • 1 Egg, cold
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Orange Zest, (the zest of about 1-2 oranges, 1 is fine and 2 gives a much stronger citrus flavor; so it's your choice :)
  • 1/3 cup COLD Fat-Free Half & Half (or regular half & half, or heavy cream, or whatever you prefer... I like to use fat free half & half)
  • 1/2 cup dried Cranberries (or 'Craisins')
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (this is in place of sifting the ingredients): 

Then take your already-diced butter out of the fridge and mix it into your flour mixture until the butter dices break down into smaller pieces and your mixture looks somewhat crumbly. 

After your butter is well combined into the flour mixture and it looks somewhat crumbly, switch your Kitchen Aid attachment to the dough hook and add in the egg and the orange zest until well combined. Finally, add the half & half while the dough is mixing. Continue to mix until all the dough is just moist and then add in the cranberries. Allow to mix until all is combined but not over-worked (you want tender flakey scones not tough ones, so don't over mix that dough here or else the gluten in the flour will get overworked and yield tough scones)

Shape your dough into a circle, slice it into quarters, and arrange them on a parchment paper or silpat covered baking sheet.

 Paint them with an egg wash (one egg + 1 Tbsp milk) or some of your half & half. Sprinkle the tops with granulated or turbinado sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top and edges just barely start to turn golden. (while your scones are baking, use this time to make the glaze)
Transfer scones to a cooling rack, and wait a few minutes before drizzling with your orange glaze. If you don't wait for them to cool a little bit, then the heat from the scones will make the glaze melt right off! So try to wait at least a few minutes.... it's okay if you can't wait, it'll still taste good :)

Coffee is always good with scones, but hot cocoa is especially good with these ones because the chocolate complements both orange and cranberry flavors :)

*on a side note, isn't that the cutest mug! My friend Laurie got it for me for Christmas. I love the mug's little 'pot belly'... good for holding lots of coffee or tea or cocoa :)

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