These orange cranberry scones have half the butter and sugar as everyone else but all of the amazing flavor and texture you want in a scone. Light, fluffy and tender, ready in 30 minutes!
I received an email from a former, lovely customer of ours requesting more scone recipes to appear on the blog and it made me realize that I really haven’t made or eaten one in ages. Apart from the jalapeno cheddar ones that we ate with soup a while ago, I haven’t made them. For anyone who doesn’t know me, you won’t know why this would even be a topic so here’s the thing, we were known for our scones. It was our niche thing in our downtown area with well over 40 different recipes for scones and before we closed our doors, I promised everyone that the scone recipes would all eventually make their appearance on my little blog.
I actually adore making scones but grew to resent it a little bit after making thousands of them over the years and I couldn’t always make the ones I personally wanted to eat since we had to make sure we stocked what was selling, not our own preference. Since we closed, I always have the pull to make my favorite ones to enjoy with my coffee in the morning or for an afternoon treat but for some reason never seem to. I always find myself caught up making everything else BUT scones which is sad. So, thank you for the email reminder! It’s forcing me to remember just how much I love making them!
It actually wasn’t until yesterday that I could even find fresh cranberries. I had been a mad woman on the hunt for them for weeks but they still weren’t at our markets yet and it was driving me crazy. At the bakery, we had bags upon bags upon bags of cranberries in our freezer that we stock piled every year so we would never run out but, my home does not have the freezers that we had at the bakery. No, I have one teeny tiny freezer at the bottom of my fridge which is home to Mark’s Costco sized box of freezies (still from the summer), some Mapleton’s ice cream for me, date squares, a couple of bagels, soup bones and meat. That’s about all we can store which means no frozen cranberries for us. Perhaps these cranberry people already know of us crazies and know just what to put on the bag…
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Produce always tastes better when it’s fresh which is also why 85% of what I buy is from our local farms (bananas, oranges and lemons do not grow here, sadly:P) but when you want something desperately and you can’t get it? That part sucks. At least now they’re here and will be for a couple of months so I can get aaaaalllll my crazy lady cravings out of the way before they disappear on me. Though, if I can get Mark to hurry up and eat his damn freezies already… there WILL be room for some mild cranberry hoarding in the freezer…
A girl can dream. For now, I’ll just be cooking and baking all the cranberry things, starting with these scones, continuing with my rosemary meatloaf with cranberry sauce for dinner today and probably everything that involves goat cheese, brie and well, all the cheeses.
I wonder if you can turn red from over cranberry consumption… people have turned orange from too much carrot juice, right? No? Myth? I guess we’ll find out.
Now, let’s talk about scones for a minute. You know, those dry, overly crumbly cardboard messes you see in the coffee shops? These are not those. I know everyone who loves scones has their own famous ones that they think are just the best in the world and they won’t hear otherwise BUTTTTTTT LISTEEEEN. My mom and I’s scones WERE famous. Sort of. And those other people’s scones? Have you noticed the amount of sugar (some of them) and butter and cream goes in to those suckers? A LOT. Too much. It’s unnecessary.
I realize this may sound weird coming from me. The person who puts two tablespoons of sugar per bowl of pumpkin pie oatmeal and the one that really doesn’t want reduced sugar anything when it comes to baking but scones are different. I have a different relationship with these. I grew up on my mom’s plain scones just smothered in butter so thick you can see your teeth marks, coconut raisin scones (AMAZING) and cheese. Those were the three we ate for my whole life until the bakery where we made every kind imaginable. Those scones, my mom’s, use half the butter and sugar everyone else seems to use and everyone LOVES them.
They are light, fluffy, not-too-sweet, easily savory and they pack half the calories of those gross Starbucks ones. Ya. I know.
I mean I should probably mention that I slice mine in half and add a lot more butter to each half… but isn’t because they NEED it. It’s because I love butter which is also my mom’s fault. Seriously, that woman will actually just eat a bite of butter. Alone. By itself. It’s weird.
So I butter everything. Banana bread, almost every single scone I make, muffins, vegetables, pasta, oatmeal, squash, my face (what? No), bread, you name it, it has butter on it. Our household of two goes through at least 2 pounds of butter a week and I’m not gonna lie, Mark doesn’t eat a whole lot of it. I would butter any scone regardless of the amount already in it. It isn’t because they need it- it’s because nothing is right without butter. It is what it is. I think the only time I haven’t done it is at 2am when I’ve shoved cheddar onion scones in my face before falling asleep after 8 straight hours of baking thousands of scones <—True story. Way more than once.
We also don’t use cream, we use buttermilk. Cream adds unnecessary calories and does nothing for the light and fluffy texture we prefer. Sorry, cream lovers, I’m with ya on coffee, but not in scones. Buttermilk is the only way to go here except in the case of sour cream scones which are a totally different thing in my book.
I could probably write about scones forever because I swear to you I’ve made them every which way with every possible add in known to man so I’m going to cut myself off here and just say: trust me. You don’t need the extra butter or sugar or cream. They’re ready in a half hour which makes them super easy even on weekday mornings and these ones are perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast as well!
Warm, from the oven, with melty salty butter… ya. It’s good stuff.
My sister’s dog desperately wanted them too. Too bad Amanda doesn’t share food.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and when you make a recipe, tag your photo #thepretendbaker so I can see what you’re whipping up!
- 2 C all purpose flour + extra for dusting
- ¼ C + 2TBSP cane sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
- zest of one large orange
- ⅔ cup milk or buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 C fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, sift together all dry ingredients except the extra 2 TBSP sugar.
- Add the butter and, with the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on medium-low until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop your cranberries and toss them with the remaining 2 TBSP sugar.
- Add orange zest to the mixer and mix well.
- In a bowl or the measuring jug, beat egg in to buttermilk/milk.
- Add the cranberries to the mixing bowl and, with it running on low, slowly stream in the milk/egg mixture.
- Mix until JUST combined.
- Flour your work surface well (the dough will be a little bit sticky but if it's A LOT sticky, add a little extra flour.
- Lightly knead the dough in to a ball then press in to a ½ inch thick circle.
- Cut in to 8 triangles and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with enough space in between them so they don't run in to each other.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and lightly brown on top.
- Place scones on a wire rack and allow to cool completely (eat some warm, of course).
- Place in an air tight container for up to 2 days.
Scones can be frozen on the day they're made for up to 3 months.
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