Cranberry Orange Scones

Filled with fresh cranberries and infused with orange zest, these Cranberry Orange Scones are impossible to resist and one of my favorite seasonal baked treats. 

Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

If I had to describe these Cranberry Orange Scones in one sentence, it would be: you won’t be able to stop eating them! 

Some people might perceive that as a problem, but it is the best compliment that I could bestow on a baked good. 

If you’ve written off scones in the past (there are some pretty awful scones out there), do yourself a favor and bake a batch of these as soon as possible. 

Invite some friends over, brew a big pot of coffee, and hand these out. You can thank me later. 

Cranberry Orange Scones

It is my personal opinion that scones don’t get nearly enough love in the baked good world. 

Over the years, I’ve shared a lot of scone recipes: Chocolate Orange Scones, Irish Soda Bread Scones, Raspberry Pistachio Scones, Brown Butter Scones, Carrot Cake Scones

They happen to be one of my favorite things to bake! And let’s just say, I have very high scone standards. 

Why You’ll Love These Scones: 

These Cranberry Orange Scones are a fall twist on my go-to scone base recipe. 

Lightly sweetened, they’re made with a combination of heavy cream and unsalted butter (or homemade cultured butter!). They have a crisp buttery exterior and a moist interior. 

The fresh cranberries add tartness to each bite and the orange zest provides brightness. We’ll also add some ground cinnamon to pull all of the flavors together.

You can serve these scones plain or drizzle them with a simple orange glaze (made from confectioner’s sugar, fresh orange juice, and zest) for a touch of decadence! I enjoy them both ways. 

Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

Ingredient Notes: 

These scones are made with an equal amount of unbleached all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour

Understanding: Whole wheat pastry flour has lower protein than all-purpose flour. It adds flavor and ensures extra-tender scones. [Read more about the science of different types of flour.]

Don’t have whole wheat pastry flour? Just substitute equal parts unbleached all-purpose flour. 


How to Make Cranberry Orange Scones: 

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest.
  • Using a coarse box grater, grate the cold butter and add to the dry ingredients. This is a great trick and easy way to cut the fat into the flour. In my experience, it works really well for scones. Gently toss the butter pieces in the flour mixture to coat. 
  • Place the bowl of dry ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes. It is very important for the butter to remain firm and very cold throughout mixing and shaping. If the butter warms or softens too much, the scones will spread and not rise as well during baking.
  • Add the fresh cranberries and toss to combine. Create a well in the center and pour in the cold heavy cream.
  • Using a spoon or spatula, stir the cream into the dry ingredients until the dough just begins to come together. It will be shaggy and there will be some dry bits at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry! 
  • Press the dough (and any dry bits) together in the bowl then transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop.
  • Press and fold the dough together gently for 5 to 10 seconds (avoid over-working). The dough won’t be completely smooth, but it should come together in one mass. 
  • Pat the dough into a 7-inch diameter disc, roughly 1.5-inches thick, using the palm of your hands to shape the edges. If the dough is too warm, wrap it tightly into plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing.

Unbaked Cranberry Orange Scones on Baking Sheet

  • Using a sharp, large knife, cut the dough into six equal sized wedges. Transfer the scones onto the lined sheet pan, spacing them apart evenly.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the scones lightly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. This helps browning and gives them that delicious, shiny, and sugary-crunchy exterior! 
  • Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, transfer to a rack, and cool completely before glazing. 

Cranberry Orange Scones on Plate

How to Freeze Scones (and Prep Them Ahead): 

Scones freeze and reheat really well.

Freeze the dough triangles, then transfer to an airtight container. Remove and allow to thaw slightly on the baking sheet while the oven preheats. They don’t need to thaw prior to baking. Brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until golden brown. 

You can also reheat (unglazed) baked scones by putting them on a lined baking sheet and popping them into a 350F degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. This is a great trick for re-crisping scones that were baked a few days prior! 

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry Orange Scones

Yield: 6 Large Scones

These Cranberry Orange Scones have a crisp exterior and buttery, moist interior. Studded with tart fresh cranberries and infused with fresh orange zest and ground cinnamon, these Cranberry Orange scones are impossible to resist and one of my favorite seasonal baked goods. Drizzle with a fresh orange glaze for some added decadence!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Cranberry Orange Scones:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup (48 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Kosher kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (100 grams) fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup (240 mL) chilled heavy cream, plus additional cream for brushing
  • coarse sugar (raw, demerera, or turbinado), for sprinkling

Orange Glaze:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • roughly 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • grated orange zest, for garnishing (optional)

Instructions

    1. Prepare Cranberry Orange Scones: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper (or silicone baking mat). Set aside.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest.
    3. Using a coarse box grater, grate the cold butter and add to the dry ingredients. Toss to gently coat the butter pieces in the flour mixture. Place the bowl of dry ingredients in the freezer for 15 minutes. It is very important for the butter to remain firm and very cold throughout mixing and shaping. If the butter warms or softens too much, the scones will spread and not rise as well during baking.
    4. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from the freezer, add the fresh cranberries and toss to combine. Create a well in the center of the ingredients and pour in the heavy cream. Using a spoon, stir the cream into the dry ingredients until the dough just begins to come together. It will be shaggy and there will be some dry bits at the bottom of the bowl.
    5. Press the dough (and any bits) together in the bowl, than transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop. Press and fold the dough together gently for 5 to 10 seconds (avoid over-working). It will not be completely smooth, but it should come together in one mass. Pat the dough into a 7-inch diameter disc, roughly 1.5-inches thick. If the dough is too warm, wrap it tightly into plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before continuing.
    6. Using a sharp, large knife, cut the dough into six equal sized wedges. Transfer the scone wedges onto the lined sheet pan, spacing them apart evenly. Using a pastry brush, brush the scones lightly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. This helps with browning and gives them that delicious, shiny, and sugary-crunchy exterior!
    7. Bake until the scones are golden brown, about 18 to 22 minutes. Carefully transfer the scones to a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
    8. Prepare Glaze: Once the scones have cooled, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and 1 tablespoon of orange juice in a small bowl. Add an additional teaspoon of orange juice at a time, mixing to incorporate, until the the glaze is thick, but able to be drizzled from the end of a spoon. If the glaze is too thin, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar or so at a time until the desired consistency has been reached.
    9. Place the cooling rack with the scones over parchment-lined baking sheet for easy clean up. Drizzle the glaze across the top of each scone. Garnish with fresh grated orange zest. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature before serving.
    10. Scones have the best texture the day of baking, but will taste great a day or two after baking too. I prefer to leave the scones on a large plate and lightly cover with a clean kitchen towel - the texture will stay crisper than storing them in a covered container.
    11. MAKE-AHEAD TIP: If you are preparing the scones in advance, do not glaze the scones. For the best results, reheat the (unglazed) baked scones on a sheet pan in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 to 15 minutes, allow them to cool, and glaze just before serving.

Notes

Tips for Success:

  • I love the addition of whole wheat pastry flour, because it adds great flavor and the lower protein percentage leads extra flaky, tender scones. If you do not have it on hand, you can substitute the whole wheat pastry flour with the same amount of unbleached all purpose flour.
  • Scones freeze and reheat extremely well. You can freeze the dough triangles and bake them straight from the freezer. Remove and allow to thaw slightly on the baking sheet while the oven preheats. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar as directed.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat (unglazed) baked scones by placing them onto a lined baking sheet and popping them into a 350F degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. This is a great trick for re-crisping scones that were baked a few days earlier - it makes the texture almost identical to the day of baking!

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