These Easy Orange Cranberry Scones are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and can be made ahead. Pop them in the oven just before serving, for easy entertaining!
I've been anxiously waiting for oranges and cranberries to appear at the market. I had the idea a while ago for a recipe for some easy orange cranberry scones and couldn't wait to try it out. I knew they would be easy and delicious because I was basing it on my Maple Pecan Scones recipe and that's been such a winner both here at The Café as well as with you, our readers.
If you check out the comments on the Maple Scone post you'll see how everyone who's tried this recipe has been super impressed with the delicious results. The recipe involves a magical (and ridiculously easy) technique that eliminates one of the more time consuming aspects of making scones. If you're familiar with our other ridiculously easy scone and biscuit recipes, feel free to skip the explanation below. If you're new here, you won't believe how easy it is and what fabulous results it brings.
This is how it works. About 15 minutes before mixing up your scones, you'll place a cup of cream in the freezer to get really cold. You'll also melt a stick of butter (I do this in the microwave, but it can also be done on the stovetop) and let it cool a bit.
During the 15 minutes, stir together your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add chopped cranberries and orange zest. Then, pull the cream out of the freezer and combine it with the melted butter.
As you stir this mixture with a fork you'll see the magic occur, right before your very eyes. As the slightly warm butter meets the cold, cold cream, little globules of butter are suspended in the cream. This mixture is then combined with the dry ingredients which has the same effect as the traditional method of "cutting the butter into the flour. It forms little pockets of butter in the dough which expand when baked and forms flaky, buttery layers of deliciousness. See what I mean? Magical!
These easy orange cranberry scones are drop scones. That means there's no rolling, kneading or cutting involved. You simply mix up the dough and drop scoops of it onto a baking pan. So, so easy! Ridiculously easy!
The best way to chop cranberries
The only thing that can be a little tricky about this recipe is chopping the cranberries. Fresh cranberries are delicious but biting into a whole cranberry in a muffin or scone can be a little too much. Chopping them helps distribute the flavor throughout the scones. But chopping something that’s small, round and firm can be difficult. The little round balls like to go flying everywhere but on the chopping board!
So what's the secret? There are two easy ways to chop cranberries. One is with a mini-chopper or food processor. Just throw them in, pulse a few times and you're done. I prefer to use my Vidalia Chop Wizard. I just put a handful of cranberries on the cutting grid, bring the top down in contact with the berries and give it a good firm whack. Voila! Nicely chopped cranberries.
I love my Vidalia Chopper. It's a little kitchen workhorse and timesaver for me and it's compact and easy to store between uses. I use it for chopping carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, squash, apples, pears and so much more. The bowl (base) of the chopper has measuring marks so you can measure your chopped fruits or veggies as you go.
I replace my Vidalia chopper every few years as the blades get dull or it just wears out from so much use (or you might say, abuse). But they're reasonably priced and definitely worth it. Here's a collage of the chopper in action, chopping an onion.
If you don't have a food processor and don't want to invest in a chopper, I would suggest cutting each cranberry in half and then chopping them with a sharp chef's knife. Halving them prevents the round berries from flying all over your kitchen.
These easy orange cranberry scones have a double dose of delicious orange flavor. There's bright, vibrant tasting orange zest in the scones and fresh orange juice in the simple three-ingredient glaze. You'll need one plump, juicy orange which are beginning to show up right now at the market. I like to use navel oranges as they're sweet and don't have any seeds, but any good orange will work.
Got some company coming? That's one of the best things about these scones. They can be made ahead and popped into the freezer before baking. When it's time for a nice breakfast or brunch with family or friends, they can go right from the freezer to the oven. No one will know that you weren't up at the crack of dawn, slaving over homemade scones!
Café Tips for making these Ridiculously Easy Orange Cranberry Scones
- I like to use a cookie scoop for portioning out these scones. It helps to make them consistent in shape and size. Most of the time, I use a #16 scoop which holds 4 tablespoons of dough - a perfect size scone! You could also use a large spoon to make mounds of dough. If I want larger scones, I use a one-third cup ice cream scoop (#12).
- I spray my cookie scoop with a non-stick cooking spray, which makes scooping up the scones really easy.
- I like to refrigerate my scones for at least 10-15 minutes before baking. This helps them to keep their shape in the oven. If you want to make them farther in advance, that's fine too. They can be refrigerated for several hours before baking. Any longer than that, I would pop them in the freezer.
- If fresh cranberries aren't available, you can make this recipe with dried cranberries. Use ¾ cup though as dried cranberries are more concentrated.
- This batter is quite thick. You'll want a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon to stir it. At first, it might seem like all the flour mixture will not be incorporated, but keep going. All of a sudden it will be all mixed in. Don't be tempted to add more liquid.
- If your cream mixture doesn't form the "clumps", your cream probably wasn't cold enough. You can stick the whole mixture in the freezer for another 5-8 minutes, then stir with a fork and you should see the clumps.
- You don't want to overmix scone dough. That being said since these scones don't get kneaded, be sure to make sure all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated into the dough before scooping up the scones.
- In lieu of the orange glaze, these scones would also be delicious drizzled with the Maple Glaze from this post.
- You can make these scones several hours ahead of time. Just scoop them up onto your sheet pan, cover them with plastic wrap and pop the whole tray into the refrigerator. When ready to bake, transfer to the oven and bake as directed. They may take a minute or two longer.
- You can also make these Orange Cranberry Scones and freeze them, unbaked. Pull as many as you want out of the freezer and bake as directed, adding a few extra minutes to the total baking time. You want to look for a pretty golden brown color.
Thought for the day:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
These Ridiculously Easy Orange Cranberry Scones are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and can be made ahead. Pop them in the oven just before serving for easy entertaining!
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 ¼ cups chopped fresh cranberries
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk or half and half
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice maybe a bit more
For the scones:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (you'll need 2 sheet pans for smaller scones). Set an oven rack on the middle level of the oven.
Measure 1 cup heavy cream and place in the freezer while proceeding with the recipe. (You want the cream to be in the freezer for about 10 minutes.) Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and heat on high for 1 minute. If not completely melted, return to microwave for 10-second intervals till melted. Set aside to cool a bit while prepping other ingredients.
Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, zest and salt in a medium-size bowl. Add the chopped cranberries (see the note above in the post on chopping cranberries) and stir to combine.
After heavy cream has been chilled in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, combine it with the melted butter. Stir with a fork until butter forms small clumps or globules.
Add butter/cream mixture to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of the bowl. The batter will be very thick, like cookie dough. Don’t over mix it, but you do want all the little flour bits to be incorporated.
Spray a cookie scooper (see notes above) or large spoon with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop up scones in mounds onto prepared pan. Space the scones at least 2-inches apart to allow for some spreading.
Refrigerate scones for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour. If you don’t have room for 2 sheet pans in your refrigerator, put them all on one to chill. Then separate before baking.
Bake for 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.
For the glaze:
While the scones are baking, make the orange glaze. Combine the powdered sugar, milk (or half and half) and orange juice in a medium-size bowl. Whisk well until smooth to make a thick, but drizzle-able glaze. (If the glaze is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, if too thick add add a little more cream.)
Drizzle glaze over scones. If you can wait, let scones sit for 15 minutes to let glaze set before serving.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions, substitutions and detailed tips.
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