This recipe changed the whole shape of my last year. Before making these great scones, I’d spend a large part of both weekend mornings cooking, usually something sweet one day and something savory the other. It made for a nice breakfast category here, but it wasn’t the best way to relax on the weekend.
Not anymore. I still often cook something one morning, but on the other, it’s all about scones. I make the dough early in the week and freeze it, then on a lazy weekend morning, I just have to bake them, make coffee (or, more often, wait for Dave to), and sit down to flip through a cookbook. It’s become one of my favorite times of the week.
These pictures? They’re from when I made the scones last winter, but it was way past cranberry season, so I’ve been holding onto this blog entry for months and months.
It’s time. Cranberries are showing up in stores, and there is no better way to enjoy them. These are so tender, have just the right sweetness, and make for a stress-free weekend breakfast, even with guests. Even after a year of making scones, these are still one of my favorites.
One year ago: Warm Chickpea and Butternut Squash Salad
The recipe originally calls for (Meyer) lemon zest, but orange – or tangerine, which I’ve also used – is such a great partner for cranberry that I couldn’t resist using it instead. I also like increasing the cranberries a bit (already reflected in the recipe).
I’ve baked this recipe at high altitude (at least 5000 feet) with good results. They weren’t quite as pretty, but the taste and texture weren’t affected.
I always flash-freeze scones, then bake them straight from the freezer, adding a couple extra minutes to the baking time.
Makes 8 scones
1½ tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (3.5 ounces) sugar plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1½ cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse (I usually do this in the food processor)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a small bowl, toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar. In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg and yolk, then stir in cream.
3. In a food processor, pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. (You can also just smoosh the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers instead of using a food processor.) Stir the cranberries into the flour mixture. Then gently fold the egg mixture into the flour until just combined.
4. On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). With a 2-inch round cutter or the rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling the scraps as necessary. (Or cut the circle into wedges, which is my standard method.) Arrange the scones about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool about 10 minutes, then serve.