Bake someone happy with these easy Cranberry Orange Scones. In this cranberry orange scones recipe, there are sweet cranberries, orange zest, and whole wheat pastry flour, not to mention ample butter, make for a divine weekend treat!
Scones are kind of my thing. I can’t remember ever having them as a child, but once I grew up and went to college in Santa Barbara, they became my thing. Laura Ashley was, also, for a time, but I’ve moved on. Lace doesn’t do much for me, but scones do!
In fact, when I was writing my first cookbook, I kinda had to hold back on the scone recipes. As it is, there are four scone recipes in that book! Only one scone recipe in Good Cheap Eats. But, if I had my way, there would be dozens!
Some of my favorite scone recipes:
- Easy Black Currant Scones
- Lemon Drop Scones
- Chocolate & Fresh Cranberry Scones
- Christmas Tree Scones
- Chocolate Strawberry Scones
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Red, White, & Blue Scones
- Maple Oat Heart Scones
Grab the freezer book!
(By the way, if you’ve been waiting to your hands on the freezer book, now might be the time to do it. They’ve knocked the price down to less than half list price!)
Scones feel fancy, but are incredibly easy to prepare. You don’t need any fancy ingredients. Heck! Depending on the recipe, you don’t even need an egg!
Ingredients needed to make this cranberry orange scones recipe
My favorite scones are light on the sugar and heavy on the flavor, usually from fruit or chocolate. This particular recipe is a riff on one my friend Jessika used to make growing up. I subbed whole wheat pastry flour and switched out the buttermilk for yogurt. I also tweaked the fruits included.
Okay, so it’s a little different than what Jessica and her mom Pandra used to make, but I believe in telling the back story to recipes. 😉
Lately I’ve been trying to switch us back to whole grains, so whole wheat pastry flour is my preference for this recipe. It most closely resembles the texture of unbleached all-purpose flour. If you can’t find that easily or in your budget, you can use white whole wheat flour which is a great option as well.
- Whole wheat pastry flour – This flour provides all the nutrients of regular whole wheat flour and a softer texture you would find in a pastry flour. You can also use white whole wheat flour.
- Sugar – Just good old regular granulated sugar is needed to sweeten these scones.
- Leavening Agents– These scones use both baking powder and baking soda to help these scones rise.
- Salt – I always like adding a little salt to help balance out the sweetness.
- Cinnamon – This warm spice pairs really nicely with the cranberries and orange flavors.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter, and make sure it’s very cold so you end up with a tender flaky scone.
- Cranberries– These scones use dried cranberries. They are tart and chewy and perfect for these scones.
- Orange – Use the zest of the orange. The zest packs a real flavor punch. Be sure to not include the white pith layer, which is bitter.
- Dairy – Both milk and yogurt are used in these scones. Typically scones use heavy cream, but the milk and yogurt lighten these up a bit.
How to make these cranberry scones
Making homemade scones is really quite simple. You can make these in a mixing bowl with a pastry cutter or a food processor.
- Prepare the pans. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
- Add the butter. Add the butter cubes and cut them in with a pastry blender, or if using the food processor, pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. If using the food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and orange zest.
- Add the dairy. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and yogurt until smooth. Add this to the dry mixture, folding until a stiff dough is formed.
- Shape the scones. Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface. I simply do this on the prepared baking sheet. Knead just until the dough holds together. Pat the dough into a large circle and cut into wedges. Sprinkle heavily with sugar.
- Bake the scones. Lay the wedges out on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve.
You can cut them into simple squares or triangles with a bench knife, cut them into fancy shapes with a cookie cutter, or with a quick twist of the wrist, turn simple triangles into hearts. Like so:
Can I make these scones ahead of time?
You can freeze the scones unbaked on parchment covered tray until firm and then place them in a ziptop freezer bag in the freezer. Bake from frozen, adding five minutes to baking time. Completely cooled scones can also be frozen in a ziptop freezer bag. Thaw these, wrapped, on the counter, before serving.
What kind of cranberries should I use?
I used dried cranberries for these quick and easy scones. You could also swap out the dried and use frozen (do not thaw) or fresh cranberries if it’s in season and you can get some! These will omit more juice, so you may need to add on a few minutes of bake time if you change it up.
How do I get my scones to rise and be fluffy?
First make sure your leavening agents are both fresh. They can expire which will cause your scones to not rise at all. Test your baking soda by putting some in a little dish of vinegar or lemon juice to see if it bubbles. If it doesn’t then it’s time to throw it out and get new stuff! For the baking powder, try sprinkling some into hot water to see if it bubbles. Again if there aren’t any bubbles then throw it out and buy a new container.
Why are my scones hard?
This is probably due to overworking the dough. You want to make sure to not over-knead the dough. Just knead it enough times to bring the dough together, and then stop working it. Working the dough too much causes too much gluten (the protein that gives our baked goods structure) and this will cause your scones to become too hard in the end.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. When I find regular kitchen staples on sale, I buy a lot. I’m currently using a price book to track prices and that’s saving me money. For this recipe, keeping an eye on the price of flour and butter can help keep the price down.
- Buying in bulk – It’s rare that I would buy a small package of dried cranberries. I usually buy the ginormous bag at Costco. I also have gotten into the habit of buying cases of flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
How I make this recipe easy:
One of the great things about scones is that you can freeze them before or after baking. If you freeze them prior to baking, you don’t thaw them, just slide the frozen scones into the hot oven and add a few minutes to the baking time. If you bake them first and then cool and freeze, you can very easily thaw them overnight on the counter so they’re ready when you are.
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- food processor or pastry blender – Either of these tools make quick work of the short dough. You can do it by hand with two knives, but I prefer my food processor.
- bench knife – I love this tool for easily cutting dough into pieces.
- parchment paper – I hate washing pans. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze.
- sheet pans – I LOVE my set of steel sheet pans. They make such a difference in baking.
- 3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 orange , zested
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
- Add the butter cubes and cut them in with a pastry blender, or if using the food processor, pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. If using the food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries and orange zest.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk and yogurt until smooth. Add this to the dry mixture, folding until a stiff dough is formed.
- Turn the dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface. I simply do this on the prepared baking sheet. Knead just until the dough holds together. Pat the dough into a large circle and cut into wedges. Sprinkle heavily with demerara sugar.
- Lay the wedges out on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve.
- If freezing: Freeze unbaked scones on parchment covered tray until firm and then place them in a ziptop freezer bag in the freezer. Bake from frozen, adding five minutes to baking time. Completely cooled scones can also be frozen in a ziptop freezer bag. Thaw these, wrapped, on the counter, before serving.