Monday, November 16, 2009

cranberry orange scones

When I think of scones, the first thing that comes to mind is something that's very dry and crumbly. And Starbucks. I think that's the only place I ever see those things and they never look very appetizing to me. Not exactly my idea of a good pastry. But when I was looking for recipes to use a bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge (we'd gotten tired of cranberry sauce and were longing for something different) this one caught my attention, and I'm thrilled it did.

I'm not even sure I'd call this a scone, it's more like a sweet biscuit. Warm (well that's how I'd recommend eating them). Flaky. Moist. Buttery. Sweet. Yum. Ina Garten's Cranberry Orange Scones are by far the best scone I've ever tasted.

You'll notice that this recipe calls for dried cranberries, but I thought I'd try it with fresh and they turned out great. I roughly chopped the cranberries and used the same amount as called for of dried ones in the recipe. I increased the sugar by 3 tablespoons to account for the substitution. (I halved this recipe because I only had 1/2 cup heavy cream, but when we get to the store next, I'm planning to make another batch, and a whole recipe this time because they freeze wonderfully. More on that in a bit.) I pulled my scones out of the oven on the short end of the time suggested, probably right around 21 minutes, because I was worried they might get too dry. They really were perfect, so check yours a little early just to make sure they don't get overdone.

Now to this freezing business. Scones, so I hear, are really only good the day of baking. Maybe the day after, but you might be pushing it. So I only baked what I knew we'd eat that day, and froze the rest on a plastic plate (or you could use a cookie sheet if your freezer is bigger than mine) in the freezer until frozen, then I moved them to a freezer storage bag. I froze the cut out dough, before eggwash and sugar sprinkle, just for the record. I'd do those steps right before baking. The next morning I was able to bake the frozen scones straight from freezer to oven, with only about a 2 minute increase in bake time. Worked like a charm. So I think from now on I'll need a supply of these in my freezer for a decadent breakfast, well, anytime. Oh, and one more note on my frozen scones, I had used the last of our orange juice earlier in the morning so I juiced a lemon to make the drizzle for the topping and it was just as delicious as the orange one.

So if you need a way to use up some extra cranberries, here's one excellent solution. I'd even buy a bag to make these. Without question.

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