Being a huge fan of scones, I can tell you that these Cranberry Orange Scones are fast becoming one of my favorites in the sweet category. They can be warm and ready to eat in an hour and have a fantastic flavor and texture.
- 2 ¼ cups (315g) pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (65g) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of ground cinnamon
- Zest of 1/2 an orange
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup whole milk, very cold (or use 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup sour cream)
- Preheat oven to 375ºF / 190ºC.
- Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the food processor: in the bowl put flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Process a few seconds just to mix.
- Scatter butter over this mixture and add orange zest. Pulse a few times until the butter is the size of peas or chickpeas.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- By hand: in a large bowl lightly mix the dry ingredients.
- Add the butter pieces and orange zest, and cut or incorporate it with your hands or a pastry cutter. The butter should be the size of peas or chickpeas.
- For both: add milk (and sour cream if using both) and quickly mix with a fork, until most of it is moistened.
- Add the cranberries and mix a few times. The dough should come together if pressed but appear lumpy.
- Dump this shaggy mass onto the kitchen counter or smooth surface and quickly give it a few turns to avoid very dry spots. Some dry parts might remain and that is OK. The more you touch it and mix it, the tougher the baked scones will be.
- Pat the mixture into a round, about 2-inches high.
- With a kitchen knife or dough scraper, cut scones into 6 triangles and arrange them on the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until tops are golden and risen.
- Eat warm.
- You can freeze the unbaked triangles and bake directly from the freezer.
My 3 tips for making the best scones:
Very cold ingredients. I’m not kidding when I say frozen butter, or at least very cold. And don’t take the milk and sour cream half an hour before you start mixing the scones. They all belong in the fridge until you need to scatter and pour them.
Don't work the dough much. It should come together but might still feel like it has floury patches. You don’t need to work it until it’s smooth, like a pie dough for instance. It is an uneven dough with noticeable butter pieces, and that’s good for flakiness later.
A rather high oven. They need that extra heat (and baking powder) to rise however they can in spite of all that butter and cream. And if by any chance you forgot to turn the oven on before you start with the mixing, please don’t leave the baking sheet with the cut scones waiting on the counter. Put them in the fridge or freezer the ten or fifteen minutes it takes for the oven to reach its temperature.
Keywords: cranberry scones, cranberry orange scones