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By December 5, 2013 Recipes

Let the baking begin.

“Tis the season for bringing some baking to work and school parties, and to the neighbours shindig. Brownies and shortbread are crowd pleasers but think beyond a cart of cookies.
Scones are easy freezable treats that elevate coffee break to festive mornings.

Here is my favourite fluffy scone recipe. You can adapt it for just about any flavour combination: lemon/blueberry, cinnamon raisin, white chocolate/cherry, ginger/lemon, chocolate chip.

My favourite at Christmas is orange and cranberry. I make these for large crowds and parties of two. The dough can be patted into 2 rounds, cut into wedges on a baking sheet and then placed in the frig overnight. Warm up your oven while you make some coffee and pop in the scones so guests arriving for brunch get them hot and flaky ( the scones, not me) .

They also freeze well after you’ve allowed them to cool.

Cranberry Orange Scones

What you need:

  • Baking sheet
  • parchment paper or Silpat
  • baking racks
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 ½ stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries*, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Optional glaze:¼ cup icing sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

* you can use dried cranberries but reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons unless you can find them unsweetened. I prefer whole fresh ones as they are tart and juicy.

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
  • Sift the first five dry ingredients into large bowl.  Mix in orange zest. Add butter and rub lightly with fingertips until mixture starts to come together.
  • A light hand is key or else you will have heavy stones, instead of scones. The dough can be clumpy.
  • Mix in cranberries. Add buttermilk gradually, tossing with fork.
  • Turn dough out on floured surface. Knead briefly, just to bind the dough, 4 times. Form dough into 1- inch thick round.

  • Cut into 8 large wedges or use biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Transfer wedges to baking sheet and space them 2 inches apart.

  • Bake about 25 minutes, until top is golden. Let stand on sheet 5 minutes then transfer to rack. Drizzle glaze over warm scones and serve.

They’re great with a bowl of berries and cup of hot coffee.

Easy to pack for work to brighten up a dull winter’s day.  Just remember to share. You can thank me later if you get promoted.

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