This recipe is not new to the blog, but since it is one of my favorite breakfast treats I decided it deserved a reintroduction. This seems the perfect time of year to be reminded of it, with cranberries in the stores again and turkey day on its way. These have the kind of texture I love in a scone – light and buttery inside with a slightly crisp crust on the outside. The tart cranberries and the addition of citrus zest gives these scones an ideal flavor for fall. I tend to prefer lemon zest in my scones but orange zest would also be wonderful choice here, since it pairs so well with cranberries.
I’ve mentioned it many times before but scones can be frozen after shaping and then baked straight from the freezer simply by adding a few extra minutes onto the baking time. In case you will be having overnight guests for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend stocking your freezer with some of these scones now. I certainly don’t feel like getting back in the kitchen and making a mess the morning after such a big meal, so freezer scones with yogurt, homemade granola (premade, of course) and fresh fruit make a really nice breakfast for guests that requires next to no effort.
Yield: 8-10 scones
1½ tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup plus 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1¼ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
Additional sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a food processor*, combine the lemon zest, flour, ½ cup of sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse briefly to blend. Add in the cold butter pieces and pulse again briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter pieces are no larger than peas. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, toss together the chopped cranberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir this into the flour-butter mixture.
In another small bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine the egg, egg yolk and heavy cream; whisk to blend. Add the liquid ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Knead gently to be sure the dough is evenly mixed, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Place a 2½- or 3-inch round biscuit cutter on the lined baking sheet. Scoop some of the dough inside the cutter and pat down gently to form a 1-inch thick round. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the rounds 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet.** Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.
(To freeze before baking, flash freeze at this point. Place the baking sheet with the shaped scones into the freezer and chill until frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag and store until ready to bake.)
Bake in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. (If baking from the freezer, add approximately 5 minutes to the original baking time.)
*Note: A food processor is not required for this recipe. You can achieve the same result using a stand mixer, a pastry blender, or even just two knives. I like the food processor because it is quick and easy, but all methods work equally well.
**Note: There are many different ways to shape scones. You can pat the dough into one large disc and slice into triangular wedges, roll it out and cut with a biscuit cutter, use a dough scoop and simply make drop scones, etc. Do whatever you prefer. I like this method for this particular scone dough because the dough is sticky and this prevents overworking.