I love scones! But, let's face it, not all scones are good scones. Some are better off serving as hockey pucks. I have learned, through much trial and error, to make a good scone you must:
1) use a liberal amount of butter.
2) use heavy cream.
Sorry, folks, but that's just the way that it is.
If you don't believe me, go ahead and make some using buttermilk or some other sorry little liquid and you'll see what I mean.
I have had a great basic recipe for scones for many years, but when I came across this recipe from Ina Garten, I knew I had to try it. I love Ina. She uses great ingredients and her cooking is really simple. Pretty much everything she makes is gold, too.
I don't really like Ina's food network show though, because frankly, it bothers me that she entertains men while her husband Jeffrey is noticably not home. And, the men she has over, are well, interesting, if you know what I mean. Let's just say they all seem to be flower arrangers. 'Nuff said. And, besides, if I hear her say "this is going to be really good" in her non-expressive tone one more time, I really might flip out. I really do love Ina's food though - I do.
And, since Ina had her Barefoot Contessa store in the Hamptons for many years, and since she says her baked goods flew out of the shop every morning, I decided she'd be the right person to look to for good scones. I was right.
These scones are amazing! They meet my criteria of lots of butter and heavy cream, and the orange zest and cranberries are the perfect touch. The crumb is perfectly tender, and they are so easy to make. You can even use your KitchenAid. The recipe makes a lot - about 18 large scones- you might want to halve it so you don't gain like, 10 pounds from these. I changed the amount of orange rind and also added a teaspoon of orange extract to the glaze to ramp up the orange flavor. The photo was taken before I glazed them since I ran out of powdered sugar (they are just as good without it, too). I think next time I might try a drop scone rather than a rolled one - I kind of like that rustic look.
Cranberry Orange Scones
4 cups plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. grated orange zest
¾ lb. cold butter, diced
4 xl eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk, for egg wash
½ cup powdered sugar
4 tsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. orange extract, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix on lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and the heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix just until blended. The dough will be wet and lumpy. Combine the dried cranberries with the ¼ cup flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surfact and knead into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4” thick. Cut into circles with a 3” cutter. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.
Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake 20-22 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 powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange extract, and drizzle lightly over the scones.