Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cranberry-Orange Scones

This is another recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) geniuses. They have many, many scone variations so I decided to use what I had on hand to make my first scones! What’s great about these is you can use any mix-ins you have. Plus, you can freeze the scones instead of baking them right away and have warm, bakery style scones whenever you want them!

I chose the cream scones as a base because I wanted a creamy, yet flaky breakfast (or any time of the day, really) treat. Then, I also decided to do the “cakey scone” variation. This adds an egg and slightly reduces the butter and cream. I loved the overall texture and cakey-ness of the scones. They would have turned out much more biscuit-like had I not gone this route.

Also, I loved how easy shaping these scones were. Using the cake pan and pressing the dough to form a disk made cutting perfect scones so simple! They look really impressive but are truly simple to pull together.

Cranberry-Orange Scones

2 C. all purpose flour
1 T. baking poweder
3 T. sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. salt
4 T. very cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 C. dried cranberries
3/4 C. heavy cream, plus more for brushing – about 1 Tb.
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. orange zest
Juice from 1 orange

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Zest an orange and set aside 1 tsp. to use later. Place cranberries in a small bowl. Juice the orange over the cranberries and allow them to plump up while you work.

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process with six 1-second pulses, until combined. Sprinkle the orange zest and butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Process with twelve 1-second pulses.

Drain the cranberries. Add them to the food processor bowl and pulse together with one quick pulse. Stir in the egg and heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough and any remaining dry flour bits to a countertop that has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead the dough by hand just until it comes together – do not over knead!

Lightly dust an 8-inch cake pan. Press the dough evenly into the cake pan. Turn the dough out on to the countertop. (You should have a nice, flat, and even disk to work with!) Cut into 8 equal wedges. (At this point you can flash freeze the wedges in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then put them in a ziplock bag and freeze until needed).

Place wedges on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are light brown. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes (ATK recommends truly letting the scones sit for the 10 minutes. It firms them up and improves their overall texture).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with coffee or tea!

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