The season of tinsel, mistletoe, eggnog, and peppermint has arrived. Also, the season of cranberry and orange, like in these tasty scones.
I spent a recent Saturday night with a woman I frequently refer to as “my high school best friend” because it’s the easiest way to explain her, but like any friend that saw you from embroidered vests and a unibrow to contact lenses and an actual (sometimes) hairstyle, she’s so much more than that. I spent a lot of time at Lauren’s house from 1994 until we graduated in 1999, and my love for her and her parents is deep, true, and pure. Just like when I was in 8th grade and getting a high score in mock trial, I know they cheer on my every victory and encourage me when I need support…up to and including that recent Saturday, when I called in tears to let them know I’d be late for our visit because I’d been in a minor car accident.
Thankfully, the snowy roads and blemished bumper didn’t totally ruin our visit. There was still plenty of time to catch up, and for a batch of simmering mulled wine and these tart, citrus cranberry orange scones!
I love my Nordic Ware scone pan, but you could make these as drop scones or shape the dough into a circle and separate it into wedges (barely pulled apart) on a lined baking sheet. I loved the citrus flavor and thought the texture was perfect — just moist enough on the inside but with a slightly crisp outside, made extra crunchy with the addition of coarse sanding sugar.
The older I get, the more sentimental the holiday seem. I try to cram in as many traditions and special moments as possible during those handful of weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and while I certainly take pleasure in writing out my Christmas cards while watching “Home Alone” each year with tomato soup and grilled cheese, nothing beats a cozy gab-fest with my oldest friend while Burl Ives serenades in the background.
And oh yes, these festive holiday scones.
Cranberry Orange Scones
Adapted from Simply Scones by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment, or grease your scone pan.
- In small bowl, stir together the cranberries and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Let stand about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2″ cubes and distribute them over the flour. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, juice, vanilla and peel. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently until just combined. The dough will be sticky.With floured hands, knead in the berries and nuts.
- Pat the dough into a 9″ diameter circle on the prepared baking sheet, or on a floured surface if using a scone pan. For extra shine, brush the top and sides with a mixture of 1 egg white and 1/2 t water. For extra crunch and sparkle, add coarse sanding sugar.
- With a serrated knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges. If using a scone pan, transfer the wedges to the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.