Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cranberry-Orange-Pecan Scones with Orange Glaze

With the dinner hour quickly approaching last night...and no plans in my head of what to have...I decided to make scones. Sounds reasonable, right? You see I made a batch a month ago when our youngest was home for her fall break and (truly) didn't like them much. This bothered me since the recipe I used was from one of my favorite (and trusted) cookbooks. Then I remembered that both our daughters had put these little cookbooks together for a Home Economics class they had in high school a few years back; books that included a few family favorites along with some new finds (to fill out the assignment no doubt)...and a recipe for scones.

So I took this recipe (which appears in both versions of their cookbooks by the way...uh hum) and doctored it up just a bit to pop the cranberry and orange flavors. And I really like how it turned out. The scones have just the right density (not gooey or too crumbly). They're sweet without being dessert-sweet. And...they're holiday-ish (that's a word, right?). They have a great cranberry flavor with a bright pop of orange (with zest in the batter and fresh juice in the glaze) and sweet pecans. It's all good...yummy good.

Oh...and they are on the smaller side (just slightly) so you don't feel terribly indulgent having a full scone or eating one along with some brunch. If you want them larger, just double the batter and cut it up differently...or if you don't need a dozen, just cut six or eight from one batch. I cut mine as long wedges after forming my dough into a round...

The batter will seem very crumbly and dry when you turn it out onto your lightly floured surface. You just need to knead...work it a bit and it will come together. Punch, pull, push...draw it together...and repeat until it listens! Then just form it into a round (or a square...whatever you decide) and cut your shapes (big wedges, little wedges, disks...whatever...as long as they are about the same size) and bake them up. Then...drizzle them with orange glaze...and enjoy! (Oh...and get some dinner together while they bake!)

Cranberry-Orange-Pecan Scones with Orange Glaze
makes one dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (plus 2 teaspoons for topping)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream 
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon milk (I used 2%)

Orange Glaze:
Powdered sugar (about 1/2 cup)
Freshly squeezed orange juice (from one large orange) 
note:you'll have more juice than you'll need to use

1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

2. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest (depending on your preference), baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender/cutter cut butter into dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture, and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, combine egg, cream, cranberries, and pecans, stirring just to mix a bit. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined and moistened.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly knead until it comes together. It will appear very crumbly at first. Continue to knead until it begins to come together...holds its shape and appears smooth. Pat dough into a 7-inch round and cut into 12 wedges.

5. Place wedges approximately 1/2- to 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush them with 1 tablespoon milk. Combine 2 teaspoons sugar with 1/4 teaspoon orange zest and sprinkle mixture over wedges.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

7. Remove scones from baking sheet and cool them on a wire rack (placed over some foil to catch glaze dripping...see next step).

8. Once cooled, mix together powdered sugar and orange juice to make a glaze. Gradually add juice to sugar until you get the right consistency...it should drizzle without being too runny or too thick. Position your scones in rows, fairly close together so that you don't lose too much glaze between them...and then just drizzle the glaze from one side to the other in long streams. It goes fairly quickly this way and you get nice long drizzle marks over each scone (with some running down beautifully over the sides).

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