I love this time of year when fresh cranberries start to appear in the grocery stores. I’ve always thought that fresh always beats dried cranberries when it comes to baking, although it seems that so many recipes call for the readily available dried instead. With a refrigerator stocked with several bags of fresh in-season cranberries, I set out to create a fresh cranberry scone.
Tender scones packed with fresh cranberries, orange zest and drizzled with a delicious orange glaze. These scones are incredible and like all scones, taste best the day they are made. If you plan on having a house full of guests over the holidays, these scones can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to bake. Simply freeze the unbaked scones on a baking sheet until firm, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in a ziploc freezer bag. When ready to bake just pop into the oven straight from the freezer (no need to thaw)….just add 3 to 5 minutes to the baking time.
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Moist and tender scones packed with fresh cranberries.
Yield: 8 scones
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place flour, baking powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process with six 1-second pulses.
Remove cover of food processor and sprinkle the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with 12 1-second pulses.
Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 cup heavy cream, orange zest and vanilla extract to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll dough into a 12-inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle cranberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush tops with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
While the scones are cooling, make the glaze by mixing the confectioners sugar and orange juice together until smooth. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving.
To Make Ahead: Freeze the unbaked scones on a baking sheet until firm, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in a ziploc freezer bag. When ready to bake just pop into the oven straight from the freezer, no need to thaw….just add a few more minutes to the baking time.
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