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Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe – How to Make it in 23 Simple Steps

Whether or not you are into the tradition of taking a British tea time, this recipe should find a way onto your table this winter. Flavored with the cheerful taste of orange zest and accented by the bright red of dried cranberries, these scones are sure to be a hit.

A look at a cranberry orange scone on a plate garnished with orange slices and nuts.

Scones bring to mind the British habit of afternoon tea. But if you happen to be in Great Britain, you may find scones on the table at other times of the day. Elevenses isn’t just a fictional meal in the land of hobbits. It actually is a light meal served around eleven o’clock in the morning in Great Britain. Elevenses would include muffins, scones, or cookies and of course, a cup of piping hot tea.

A look at a cranberry orange scone on a plate garnished with orange slices and nuts.

Cranberry Orange Scones Recipe

April Freeman
Cranberries and oranges are two fruits that actually come into their own during the colder winter months when fewer fruits are available in the stores. This recipe for Cranberry Orange Scones combines the two flavors for a citrusy, fruity, delicious treat. Whether you need a delicious contribution for a holiday brunch or you’re serving an afternoon tea, this recipe is the perfect selection.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Cooling Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Cuisine British
Servings 8 Servings

Equipment

  • Baking Sheet
  • Small bowl
  • Wire whisk
  • Large bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Spatula

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Start by preparing the scones. In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice and half and half together.
  • Add the egg and beat it into the mixture.
  • Put the cranberries in this mixture and let them rehydrate by soaking while you move on to preparing the dry ingredients and orange glaze.
  • Create the glaze mixture by placing the orange juice in a small bowl.
  • Add the powdered sugar and beat the two together with a fork or a small whisk.
  • Set the glaze aside until you need it.
  • In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, ¼ cup of sugar, orange zest, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir together with a fork.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the butter into slices. This will help you more easily work it into the dry ingredients.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is combined and only tiny bits of butter remain visible. The texture of the mixture should be kind of like cornmeal.
  • Take the egg, milk, juice, and cranberry mixture and mix it into the dry ingredients with a large spoon. Work gently. This is not the time to beat the dough.
  • When you handle scone dough gently, the scones will be soft and tender. Beating this mixture only leads to tough scones. Stir just until the wet ingredients are incorporated.
  • If the mixture is too dry and crumbly add an extra tablespoon or two of milk.
  • Once the dry ingredients begin to form a ball, remove the scone dough to a lightly floured surface.
  • Press the dough into a disc that is about eight inches across. You don’t have to use a rolling pin; this works just as well to do it with your hands, and you won’t have one more kitchen tool to wash!
  • Use a very sharp knife to cut the disc into eight wedges.
    The dough is cut into 8 wedges.
  • Use a spatula to transfer the wedges to your prepared baking sheet. Space each wedge several inches from the others because they will expand in baking, due to the baking powder.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the milk across the tops of the scones. Sprinkle sugar lightly across the tops of the scones.
  • Bake the scones in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let them rest for about 5 minutes before removing them with a spatula to a wire rack.
  • Let them cool for another 15 minutes, and then you can drizzle the glaze over the tops of the scones.
  • Serve immediately, slightly warm. If you have leftover scones, allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
    A platter with three freshly-baked cranberry orange scones.

Notes

Afternoon tea is served around three or four o’clock in the afternoon. In the early 1800s, lunch was served at noon, and it typically was a very light meal. Dinner never happened before seven or eight o’clock, leaving a very long gap in the middle of the day when people were likely to get hungry. Enter afternoon tea, a light mid-afternoon meal to help people make it to dinner without getting “hangry.”
Afternoon tea may feature tiny sandwiches, scones, cookies, and cakes along with tea.  High tea actually occurs later in the day, perhaps around five or six o’clock, and was invented by the lower working classes in England. These folks didn’t have the luxury of an afternoon tea break and by the time they finished work, they were ravenous. These hard workers weren’t about to wait until seven to eat, so high tea came into the picture. High tea is just as filling as afternoon tea, with sandwiches and scones.
Even if you are not into recreating British mealtimes, this recipe can find a place on your table any time of day. The dough itself is very citrusy, thanks to the addition of orange zest to the dough. Be careful to only take the outer layer of the orange without getting any of the bitter white pith that lies beneath. You can use a lemon zesting tool, a very sharp box grater, or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest. Shred or mince the zest with a sharp chef’s knife before incorporating it into the dough.
Keyword Cranberry Orange Scone, Recipe, Snack

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