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!
1cup (240 mL)chilled heavy creamplus additional cream for brushing
demerara or turbinado sugarfor sprinkling
1cup (120 g)powdered sugarsifted
roughly 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
grated orange zest (optional)for garnishing
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 1½-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.
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!
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.
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.
Place the cooling rack with the scones over a 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.
Scones are best served right after 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.
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°F (162°C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes, allow them to cool, and glaze just before serving.°
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 350°F (162°C) 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!