This post was originally posted this past April. With the Christmas season in full swing, I can’t think of a better breakfast treat that tastes of the season than cranberry orange scones. Enjoy these with good friends, a good cup of coffee and you can’t go wrong!
I plan to have one of my good friends over for breakfast and coffee today in celebration of her birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!
I’m making my all-time favorite pastry: cranberry orange scones. She wasn’t available for consultation when it came down to figuring out what to make for breakfast.
Besides, even if she hated scones, she’d still eat them because she’s my friend. Because that’s what friends do. Fixes the tag on your shirt, hints that your bra strap is showing, uses your chocolate coffee creamer because it’s all you have in the fridge, even though she hates it, and doesn’t tell you that she only drinks french vanilla…
I haven’t always been a pastry-making-momma. I don’t have one of those pastry blender thingies that recipes say to use, so on my first pastry recipe I tried using two forks. Fail #1. On the second recipe I tried using a wisk. Fail #2. For the third, two knives. Fail #3 and a “you win” to the butter. For years I avoided all recipes involving a step to “cut in the fat” and that was just fine with me. Having to “cut in the fat” was scary and intimidating!
Until one day when we ran out of Bisquick and my husband REALLY wanted biscuits. Running out to buy Bisquick (or Pillsbury or ANY instant biscuit for that matter) wasn’t an option. I begged and I pleaded – please don’t make me cut the fat! I can’t do it! I’m SO BAD at it! I got the puppy eyes in return and caved. Fine. I’ll cut the fat.
I knew that forks, wisks and knives were no match for this cold butter, so I had only one option left: my bare hands. I squeezed and squished the butter, quickly and carefully tossing it with the flour in order to follow the “don’t create a paste or let the butter melt!” order that recipes barked at me. A couple minutes later yielded me with a mixture that resembled breadcrumbs – SUCCESS!
The biscuits were delicious (and by far the best biscuit EVER according to my husband) and I had overcome my fear of cutting in the fat. Take THAT butter! Ha HA!
This recipe is absolutely delicious and suitable for both those who are cutting-the-fat-challenged, and those who have mastered it. I always use fresh cranberries (frozen and leftover from Thanksgiving) and orange juice concentrate (because it’s easier to have on hand than orange zest). Serve with fresh hot coffee and enjoy!
Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces*
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup heavy cream*
1 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
2-3 tsp cream or milk
cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Drop in the pieces of cold butter and working quickly, mash the butter in your fingers while coating the pieces with the flour mixture. You want the pieces to be small, but you don’t want to make a paste. Squishing, dropping and coating seems to be the method that works best. If you’re fancy or got skillz, feel free to use forks, knives or a pastry blender.
When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add in the cranberries and toss to coat with flour. Wisk the egg, cream and orange juice concentrate together in another bowl and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix gently with a spatula until it becomes gooey, then form the mixture into a ball using your hands and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl (5-10 times or so), taking care not to squish too many cranberries in the process. You want a good looking ball of dough in a bowl that’s fairly clean.
Break off a small fistful of dough, shape into a ball and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Leave about 2-3 inches between each ball for expansion. Brush the tops with cream/milk and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges.
* If you’re challenged at cutting in the fat too, leave out the butter and egg and increase the heavy cream to 1 1/4 cups.