Lolly has been on me lately to make her scones for weekend breakfasts. Scones are basically the Brit version of buttermilk biscuits, so it’s a simple enough matter. Last week I made them with cinnamon and raisins, but she kept pestering me to use cranberries and oranges instead. I developed this from a base recipe for plain, bland, tasteless scones – which they generally are unless you add some flavor components to liven them up a bit – and made the necessary modifications.
Here are the ingredients to make 8-10 very yummy cranberry-orange scones, depending on how large you cut them:
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp. whole milk
- 1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 6 tbsp. chilled whole butter, unsalted
- Zest of 1 medium orange
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg yolk
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
We’re going to start by making an impromptu buttermilk, in part because I don’t like to buy a big jug to use only a small amount, and in part because I want this one to be specially flavored for the dish. Squeeze one tablespoon of fresh orange juice into the milk and let it sit out at room temperature for about an hour. The acid in the citrus juice will clabber the milk, and voila, you have buttermilk. This works even better with lemon juice, but I wanted the orange flavor here.
When your buttermilk is ready, preheat the oven to 400°, and lightly grease a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes, taking care not to let it get too warm, and add it to the flour mixture. Work the butter through with your fingers until you end up with a sandy texture to the mix. You’ll know you’re getting there when you can’t feel any butter chunks between your fingers anymore.
Next, add the orange zest, cranberries and one cup of the clabbered milk, and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed and pulls together into a rough ball shape. Turn your dough out onto a floured work surface and pat it gently into a rectangle shape of about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife and a firm downward motion (as opposed to a back-and-forth or sawing motion), cut the dough into 8 to 10 triangular wedges. Arrange them on the baking sheet about an inch apart.
Now whisk together the egg yolk and remaining tablespoon of clabbered milk to make an egg wash, and brush it onto the tops of the wedges. Lastly, give them a little sprinkle of granulated sugar, and they’re ready to go into the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes until you see some light browning. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. After 5-10 minutes of cooling they should be ready to enjoy with some butter or fruit preserves.
Aside from preparing the buttermilk, this whole exercise should take less than 30 minutes to get to the delicious results. These were a big hit with my whole fam (my kids were visiting too), and we all munched them down with a big happy grin on our faces. Hope you’ll try them and enjoy them just as much. Until next time: Eat well, my friends!