It looks as though Spring is finally turning up by way of warm, dry afternoons and incredibly gorgeous, sunshine-filled weekends. When I think of the seasons getting warmer I instantly turn to citrus fruits: their colours, scents and flavours jolt the senses out of a wintery rut.
So turn to my favourite Hamptons-dwelling epicure, Ina Garten, and her baking staples. Already a fan of her many loaves, cupcakes and hollandaise recipes, I knew I had nothing to fear when beelining to her Barefoot Contessa orange cranberry scones. Between the cup of leftover dried cranberries, four soon-to-be-expired eggs in my fridge, and bag of oranges in my fruit bowl, it appeared criminal not to make these.
The only adjustments I made were upping the orange zest, omitting the glaze and using a pastry cutter for the dough, as I am not wealthy or married so I can’t afford a fancy stand mixer “fitted with a paddle attachment” and no one has given one to me as a gift (yet).
Sweet and with the perfect addition of an extra half teaspoon of orange zest, these rich, buttery pillows are painless to conjure up and even easier to watch disappear.
Cranberry Orange Scones
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa
4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp. grated orange zest
3/4 pound (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream (I used whipping cream)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp. water or milk, for egg wash (melted butter or milk works too)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tbsp. (optional)
4 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.
- Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. **I never use parchment paper. It burns everything I bake. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.
- Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash/butter/milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones, if using.