Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

It's fall, or so they say.  As desert dwellers we have few of the telltale signs of fall that other regions see... no cooler weather (it was 90 degrees yesterday... true story), no changing leaves (as far as I can tell, the palm trees are still green and the cacti are still pointy).

I did have a short jaunt to Chicago last week for work and was positively beside myself with excitement as the plane descended into O'Hare and I saw the bursts of bright yellow, red, and orange.  I'm pretty sure the guy sitting next to me thought I was a complete lunatic as I pressed my forehead against the window in an attempt somehow to be closer this breathtaking marker of the changing seasons.  I travel quite a bit for work, and generally pull off the whole nonchalant/blase 'too cool for school' business traveler attitude pretty well, however any semblance of cool composure was quickly abandoned at this awe-inspiring menagerie of colors.  Cool is overrated anyway.

With fall comes all things pumpkin and the food blogs are abuzz this week with pumpkin delectables.  And I'm pretty sure I'll do pumpkin-something at some point this season, but being hardwired for deviance I bucked the trend this week and decided to work with a couple other distinctly fall flavors: oranges and cranberries.  I know I did scones a few weeks ago, so maybe this is cheating (there goes that deviance again...), but orange cranberry scones are my favorite.  This had to happen.  It just did. Don't judge. Next week I promise you something brand spanking new.

And while we're on the subject of non-judgment, I also have to tell you that I made this a-ma-zing cinnamon pull-apart bread from Joy the Baker last week, but due to technical difficulties it didn't make it on the blog (read: we ate/gave away all of it before I photographed it).  You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that it was beautiful and tasted like it had been flown in directly from heaven by a fleet of angels.  Needless to say, I'm making it again-- and I'll make a concerted effort to photograph it prior to consumption and to share it with you.

This brings me to my next topic: photography.   Most of the pictures on this blog up through today, with the exception of Lemon Scones in October, have been taken with the ridiculously awful camera on my Blackberry.  You've noticed, right?  It's okay, I understand.  Personally, when I read food blogs, the photographs a crucial part of their appeal and definitely what keeps me coming back.  I want you to come back and I want you to have pretty and compelling images to enjoy alongside my writing.

I don't own a DSLR camera so I've been contemplating a remedy for the lack in quality (and quantity) of photographs for this blog.  My plan is to buy a DSLR at some point in the not-so-distant future and to take a photography class so I'll actually know how to use the dang thing. In the interim, I'm borrowing a DSLR camera and playing around with it.  I do not have a clue what I'm doing.  I repeat, not. one. clue.  I'm fiddling with camera settings and lighting and such, taking a zillion pictures and trying to figure out what works.

Starting with today's entry, I'm going to experiment with a format that includes more "in process" photos.  So... onto those scones

Zest that orange!

A food processor takes this from a quick recipe to a super lighteningfast recipe!

Add the heavy cream, orange zest, and dried cranberries.

Mix it up!

Cut. it. out. 

Make the glaze.



2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 teaspoons fresh grated orange peel
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl and whisk together
  • Alternatively, if you wish to use a food processor, place the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

3. Place the small butter pieces in the bowl of dry ingredients and "squish" the butter pieces into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter is almost fully incorporated into the dry ingredients- a few small lumps are okay, but do your best to work the butter into the dry ingredients.
  • If using a food processor, drop the small butter pieces onto the mixed dry ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the butter is fully incorporated. Once complete, transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

4. Stir in heavy cream, dried cranberries and grated orange peel with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Flatten the dough out by hand or using a rolling pin until the dough is roughly 1/2 inch in thickness.  Use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds out of the dough.  Place the rounds onto the parchment covered baking sheet. 

6. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

7. Mix together confectioner's sugar and orange juice for the glaze.

8. Apply glaze to scones by either dipping the tops of the scones into the glaze or by spreading the glaze on the tops of the scones using a knife or small spatula/spreader.

9. Allow glaze to dry and enjoy!

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