Sunday, October 24, 2021

Cranberry Orange Mini Scones

Plate of Cranberry Orange Scones
Recipe by Robin

You say teatime, I say scones. Tea with scones is the perfect pick-me-up combination: slightly sweet, lightly fruity, and caffeinated. Both festive and easy to make, scones can be created in endless varieties. You can freeze them either before or after baking, and they taste perfect after a short time in the oven. I’ve blogged Classic Currant Scones and Chocolate Chip Orange Scones. For our recent Virtual Tea I wanted smaller scones to match the scale of the other foods, plus a richer flavor. So I made cream scones using heavy cream and egg, and divided the dough into 16 scones instead of 8. More scones, more treats for later.

Scones Rolled Out and Cut into Wedges
Circular Guide Makes Rolling Out Easy
I hasten to add that these are American style scones. I have yet to recreate the light, fluffy round scones I enjoyed in Tenby (Wales) with clotted cream and preserves. These scones are denser, with more butter and sugar. Glazed and loaded with fruit, American scones are typically served on their own. Because they’re cut into wedges instead of rounds, they’re easier and quicker to make, with less chance of overworking the dough, ensuring scones come out tender.

Freeze these either before or after baking. Before baking, place them on a plate without touching one another, and freeze for 1 hour. Then load them into a freezer dish or double freezer bags. Thaw in freezer overnight and bake and glaze as usual, or bake while still frozen and add a few minutes baking time. To freeze after baking, simply load cooled scones into freezer dish or double freezer bags without glazing. To thaw, bake at 300 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or put in fridge overnight.

I recently discovered that adding orange extract to both the scones and the glaze boosts the orange flavor without being overpowering, in a way that orange juice cannot. Orange extract has an oil rather than alcohol base. So it’s safe for kids and A.A. members, and also tastes better in frostings, glazes, and anything uncooked. It’s way cheaper than vanilla. I plan to experiment more with it as the holidays approach.

Six Scones on a Plate
Six of Sixteen Scones Baked, Ten Frozen
Cranberry Orange Mini Scones
makes 16 small scones*

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 heaping cup frozen cranberries
  • Flour for shaping dough
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. cream
  • 2 tbsp. coarse raw sugar (for sprinkling)
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • ¾ tsp. orange extract

Whisk together flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.

Set up a workspace for dough by flouring a board or nonstick surface.

Remove butter from freezer and grate with box grater. Immediately add to flour mixture, and rub in butter with your fingers till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

In a medium bowl, beat egg till foamy and consistent. 

Stir into egg: ½ cup heavy cream, 1 tsp. orange extract, vanilla extract, and orange zest.

Drizzle wet ingredients over dry, and add frozen cranberries. Fold ingredients together till flour is barely incorporated. Do NOT overmix! (See photos below.) You can always mix it more in the next step.

Turn dough onto floured board. Flour hands and work gently into a ball, incorporating any flour not mixed in the bowl. Add a tiny splash of cream if needed. Divide the ball in half with bench scraper or large knife. You will bake the two halves individually.

Shape half of dough into a 5-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges with bench scraper or large knife, and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Then shape second half of dough into 5-inch circle, cut into 6 wedges. If you want to bake them right away, transfer to second parchment-lined baking sheet, and store in refrigerator before baking (you might have to remove first tray to bake). 

Or, to freeze the second half and bake another day, place the scones on a parchment-lined plate and put into freezer for 1 hour. Then, remove scones from parchment and store in double zip-lock bags. This two-step process prevents scones from sticking to one another.

Remove baking sheet of scones from refrigerator. Brush with 1 – 2 tbsp. heavy cream. Sprinkle with coarse raw sugar.

Place baking sheet in center of preheated oven. 

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or so, until lightly browned on tops. Remove to cooling racks and allow to cool before glazing.

To make glaze: in small bowl, stir orange juice and ¾ tsp. orange extract into confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle or brush over scones.

Serve immediately, or store up to 3 days at room temperature.

*To make 8 regular-size scones, pat the entire dough evenly into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 pieces with a bench scraper. Bake in one batch, or freeze some scones for later baking. Baking time will be about 22 – 25 minutes.

Grated Butter in Flour Mixture
Rub Grated Butter into Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients, Dry Ingredients, and Frozen Cranberries
Add Wet Ingredients and Frozen Cranberries to Dry Ingredients
Scone Dough Lightly Folded Together
Fold Together Lightly with Rubber Spatula
Scone Dough Turned Out to Knead
Turn Out Loose Dough onto Working Surface
Scone Dough Patted into Circle
Shape Dough into Circle
Scones Ready for the Oven
Cut Wedges, Brush with Cream, and Sprinkle with Raw Sugar
Scones Baked and Glazed
Bake, Cool, and Glaze

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