Scones For Thought

By Guest Writer Emmy M.
Tip: Please read with British accent

There is nothing like staying inside and baking when the winds start to kick up, the leaves begin to change, and fall announces it is officially here. My recent venture has been baking . . .scones! Maybe not the most exciting thing in the world, but I absolutely adore a good scone. Crumbly, savory, yet oh- so- sweet. (After writing that sentence I literally stopped to take a bite of a scone.) And the best part is you can throw whatever goodies you want into them. Cranberries, raisins, blueberries, chocolate, nuts, cinnamon, I think you get the gist. Anything and everything! The other day I found myself with some time on my hands on a rainy, cool, fall October day here in Chicago, with all the fixings in my kitchen for baking as well as some dried cranberries and oranges. Light bulb! Since cranberry orange anything is my favorite thing in the world I decided to take a stab at cranberry orange scones. Not being someone who is able to simply makeup their own baking recipe, I opted to refer to someone who knows what they are doing. So, I pulled up Foodnetwork.com, typed in Cranberry Orange Scones, skimmed the first recipe that came up, and printed it out.

Despite having everything for my fun baking adventure already in my home, I still had to make a trip to the grocery for some other items to last me the week. Once I got home, I discovered that I first needed to clean out the fridge, before putting away my groceries (roommates!), then the trash, and overflowing recycling bin had to be dealt with, followed by unloading the dishwasher, then reloading the dishwasher, and some cleaning. After all of those mindless chores were done I could finally focus on making my scones. So I grab all of my necessary ingredients, the electric mixer, and start following directions. After combining all of the dry ingredients I came to, “add cold butter,” then proceeded to check how much butter the recipe called for and then read, “ ¾ pound cold butter,” and had a mini heart attack. Then I reread the recipe and realized it was an Ina Garten recipe, that’s right the Barefoot Contessa. So, needless to say it was a way more involved recipe then what I was initially looking for, and it quickly became clear there was going to be no corner cutting. Since I had already started the recipe, I came to conclusion that I had to see this through to the end. Oh, and if you are wondering how much ¾ pound of butter is, it is 3 sticks. So, I soldiered on, only used 2 ½ sticks of butter, and despite some issues like the dough adhering itself to the mixers and overflowing out of the mixing bowl, I eventually ended with some amazing scones!

Even though this recipe was more involved then I had expected, I will say even the most stressful moments like when the dough was overflowing out of the mixing bowl really became a moment of hilarity and I just had to laugh at myself. But honestly that is what it is all about. When you get into the kitchen, just because you have a recipe in front of you does not mean things will go as planned, and that is most definitely the fun part.

So, long story not so short, the scones came out great. Bottom-line, this recipe produces scones with perfect texture and taste utterly brilliant. Like I stated earlier if you are not into the whole cranberry orange thing, throw in whatever ingredients are your favorite. Oh, and a little tip, while the recipe calls for you to roll out the dough flat and then use a cookie cutter to cut the individual scones, I found it easier to just roll the dough into one large log and simply cut about 1 inch think slices. Since this particular recipe yields about 20 scones or more (all depending on how large you make them) rolling the dough into a log really came in handy. It allowed me to bake up half of my dough and simply wrap up the remaining log of dough, and put it in the freezer to use at a later date. I am also including another scone recipe that is a little quicker and simpler recipe but still yields a good product, perhaps a little more biscuit like scone. The great fun thing about scones is that they are a great on the go breakfast item, a great pastry to go along with your coffee, an easy snack, or a delectable nighttime dessert. Also, with the holiday season quickly approaching doing baskets of baked goods is a fabulous way to spread holiday cheer and show others that you really took out time for them this year to make them a special treat. So in a sea of cookies and muffins dare to be different and scone it!

Orange Glazed Blueberry Scones
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Cook Time:
50 min Yield: 
6 to 12 scones

2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for rolling berries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut in chunks
3/4 cup buttermilk or cream
1 egg
1 pint fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; mix thoroughly. Cut in butter using 2 forks or a pastry blender. The butter pieces should be coated with flour and resemble crumbs.

In another bowl, mix buttermilk and egg together, and then add to the flour mixture. Mix just to incorporate, do no overwork the dough.

Roll blueberries in flour to coat, this will help prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the scone when baked. Fold the blueberries into batter, being careful not to bruise. Drop large tablespoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until brown. Cool before applying orange glaze.

Orange Glaze:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 oranges, juiced and zested

To prepare Orange Glaze: combine butter, sugar, orange zest, and juice over a double boiler. Cook until butter and sugar are melted and mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and beat until smooth and slightly cool. Drizzle or brush on top of scones and let glaze get hazy and hardened.

Cranberry Orange Scones
Copyright, 2006, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Cook Time:
20 min Yield: 
14 to 16 scones

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. 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 for 20 to 25 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 confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

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