I love the delicious combination of tart cranberries and bright fresh oranges in this Cranberry Orange Scone recipe. They are the perfect addition to a fall Sunday brunch party!
My grandmother started teaching me how to bake when I was about 6 years old. We always went to her house for our birthdays and when it was our birthday we got to pick what kind of cake we wanted her to make. We also made cookies and pies and other sweet treats. with her. Thanks to her, I actually learned to bake before I even learned how to cook!
I developed my love of scones during the years when I used to make frequent business trips to England. Our client was on the Eastern outskirts of London, so we stayed in what I’d describe as a quaint local hotel. In the afternoons, when the weather was decent and we were not in meetings, we would sit in the courtyard and have tea (or Pimm’s) and scones.
Of course, when you are in England, clotted cream is always served with scones. I don’t know that I’d classify these as true English scones, however when I brought them to my office for taste-testing I did get a nod of approval from one of my British co-workers, so feel pretty good about that!!
What’s the secret to great scone dough?
A good scone is light, tender and buttery with crumbly edges. But sometimes they can be hard to come by. So, what’s the secret to making scones that are light and flakey? Cake flour!
Cake flour is a fine-textured, lower protein flour. This means less gluten forms when you mix the dough, resulting in a lighter dough and ultimately light and flakey scones!
Another key to achieving a light, flaky scone is using very cold butter. Just like in pie dough, the cold butter melts as the scones bake, creating little pockets of air that result in that wonderful flaky texture.
You also want to make sure you don’t overwork the dough. Too much mixing and you’ll end up with tougher dough and dry scones. That’s why I use a food processor to mix the flour and butter. You only need to pulse a few times, just until it’s mixed together and forms a coarse, crumb-like mixture. When it comes time to add your wet ingredients less mixing is better. You want to fold them in gently until everything is just combined to form a soft dough.
And what is clotted cream?
Clotted cream is a thick cream that’s made by scalding full cream cow’s milk and letting it cool slowly, which caused the cream to rise to the surface and form clots. It’s traditionally served with scones in England and is a wonderful tasty topping.
Unfortunately is nearly impossible to find in the United States and takes hours to make so I decided to come up with a substitute, which I think nicely balances the sweetness of the citrus glaze.
Enjoy the bright flavors of these scones at brunch or even as an afternoon snack!
things you may want for this recipe
Scone Pan – While certainly not required for this recipe, if you get really into making scones a special pan will help get the job done more quickly and ensure that your scones are always an even shape and size.
Cake Flour – Cake flour is available in most grocery stores these days,
Non-stick pastry mat – It’s fine to estimate or use a tape measure or ruler when rolling out various doughs, however it can get frustrating if you are newer to baking as sometimes you’ll be off by enough to make you have to do it again. This pastry mat solves that problem by giving you the measurements right on the mat. I always recommend rolling dough on a pastry mat to ensure less sticking and make for easy cleanup so why not get one that makes life even easier by including the measurements!
These Cranberry Orange Scones are perfect for a Sunday Brunch party!
For the scones:
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons chilled butter
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup frozen cranberries, slightly thawed
For the glaze:
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the cream:
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Adjust the baking rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife. Place both flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times. Add butter, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the orange zest and juice, egg and milk until completely combined. Add the flour butter mixture and mix until ingredients are just combined and a soft dough forms. Gently fold in the cranberries.
- Form the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface. Press into a 9-10″ circle or if using a scone pan, press into the pan. Transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, score the circle into 8 wedges, being sure not to cut all the way through the dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
- While the scones are baking, mix the orange juice and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.
- To make the cream, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. You are looking for whipped cream consistency. Fold in crème fraîche, sugar and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, drizzle scones with the glaze and serve with cream on the side.
Keywords: Sunday brunch
Originally published in March 2015. Updated August 2017.