Cranberry Orange Scones

You may have noticed that I am a big fan of scones. A dear friend and I came across this recipe on the blog The Pioneer Woman and have been wanting to make it ever since, but time has not been on our side. After telling my mother about the recipe, she made it on a recent morning to share with my classmates. It was a huge hit and I became more determined to make it myself and share it here. It is easy to put together. The glaze really takes these scones above and beyond your everyday scone. For a larger group, you can make 2 small rounds, still cutting each into 8 equal portions or simply double the recipe.

I wasn’t able to find white whole wheat flour anywhere, so I just used an organic whole wheat flour. I also used salted butter because that was what I had. The result was still delicious.

 

Cranberry Orange Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

The Scones

1/2 cup chilled unsalted Butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

zest of 2 large oranges

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup dried cranberries

The Glaze

1 1/4 to 2 cups icing or powdered sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 1 large orange

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

The Scones

Preheat oven to 425°F (400°F if using a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest, breaking up any clumps of zest.

Mix together the buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla, and egg in a 2 cup measure or a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut the chilled butter into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes. With a rigid pastry blender or two knives, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces. Add the cranberries and mix in, breaking up any clumps of the cranberries. Make a well in the center, and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir just until combined, taking care to not over mix. Try to work quickly so that the butter in the dough stays as cold as possible. If the dough gets too warm, the scones will lose their shape more easily in the oven and have a more relaxed appearance with less defined edges.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Working quickly, gently fold the dough on itself pressing it together to incorporate any dry bits that are not holding together. Do not over work the dough. Just make sure it is holding together nicely. Shape the dough into a 7-inch diameter circle and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the scones are puffed and golden brown, about 10- 14 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the scones sit on it for a minute before removing to a wire rack to cool.

The Glaze

While the scones are still slightly warm, prepare the glaze. Combine the juice, zest,vanilla and nutmeg in a small bowl. Begin to whisk in the sugar 1/4 cup at a time to achieve a smooth consistency that you will be able to drizzle over the scones, but which is not too runny. Although the original recipe specified 2 cups of sugar, I stopped at 1 1/4 cups of sugar and it worked perfectly. If your glaze is suddenly too stiff, whisk in another teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange juice. Drizzle as much of the glaze as you desire over the scones. Allow the glaze to set completely, then serve and enjoy!

Ginger, Hazelnut and Blackberry Biscuits with Fennel Sugar

There is nothing like a good biscuit or scone. When I came across this recipe on the blog Twig Studios, I was intrigued.  It brings together so many flavours that I love; blackberries, ginger, lemon and fennel. The result was fantastic – with a nice texture these biscuits are nutty, sweet, and savoury at the same time. Spread with a little butter, they are even better!

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The recipe is much more complex that the buttermilk biscuits that I usually make in both in the number of ingredients and the method, but the good news is that it works. To make the fennel sugar, you have to plan in advance. Combine about one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a jar of sugar to infuse the flavour for about two weeks prior to making the recipe. If you don’t have the patience to do this in advance, just break up the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, combine with the sugar, and move on.

I made some adjustments increasing the amount of both blackberries and candied ginger, and found that I needed more buttermilk than the original recipe suggested to get the dough to come together.

This recipe made a dozen generous biscuits.  I’d suggest cutting it in half if you don’t anticipate being able to use them all the same day that they are made – they are very filling and so much better fresh!

Gingered Fennel, Hazelnut and Blackberry Biscuits

1/2 cup 115g cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups 150g old fashioned rolled oats plus more for garnish

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp fine grain turbinado or granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (see comment above).

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped unblanched hazelnuts with their skins plus more sliced for garnish

6 ounces  blackberries

grated zest of one lemon

about 1 cup plus 6 tbsp shaken buttermilk

5 tbsp chopped candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with baking paper or silpats.

Cut the butter into small cubes and place on a plate in the freezer.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade grind 3/4 cup of the oats until it is a fine meal, then add the flour and ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup of the fenneled sugar, baking powder and soda and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the remaining 3/4 cup 75g rolled oats, the hazelnuts and cubed butter pulsing and additional 7 to 9 times or until the butter pieces are pea sized.

Turn the mixture into a large bowl and add the lemon, ginger, and blackberries tossing gently to mix. Then pour in half the buttermilk and, using a bowl scraper or a spatula, gently mix the mixture adding enough buttermilk until a rough ragged dough comes together (you may not need all of the buttermilk). Hold back just enough of the buttermilk to brush the tops of the biscuits later.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat rectangle about one inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into triangles or squares. Brush the tops with the remains of the buttermilk and sprinkle over the remaining tablespoon of fenneled sugar, oats and sliced hazelnuts

Bake for about 20 minutes until evenly browned.

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Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

On a cool weekend morning, I love to pull together a batch of warm savoury scones and enjoy them with a cup or two of my favourite tea.  There are different types of scones: these are based on a buttermilk biscuit recipe that results in a light scone that has many tender layers. They are quick to make and quick to eat.

Today I had some leftover gruyere which I used.  An old cheddar also makes a delicious scone.  I prefer to be able to “find” the cheese in my scones so I slice it thinly and then chop it into small pieces – each piece is roughly 1/2 x 1/4 x 1/32 inch in size.  Grated cheese disperses more consistently throughout the scone but is a little quicker to prepare if you are pressed for time.  It is a matter of choice.  If you are not a huge rosemary fan, thyme or an herbes de provence mix also work well.

These scones don’t need to be buttered, but a little extra butter doesn’t hurt them one bit. They are also nice with jam.  Alternatively, they are delicious with a little cured ham or hard sausage.  Today, I enjoyed them with some duck prosciutto and some lamb prosciutto from Oyama Sausage on Granville Island in Vancouver.

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

Herbed Gruyere and Buttermilk Scones

2 1/2 c. flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1/2 c. buttermilk

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. gruyere cheese (or any hard cheese you have on hand), grated, or cut into small thin pieces

cracked black pepper

2 tbsp dried rosemary, broken down

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl and cut in the flour until it is well blended and the consistency of coarse oatmeal. I recommend using your fingers rubbing the butter and flour mixture into flakes between your thumb and first two fingers. Mix the gruyere, rosemary and pepper into the flour mixture and create a well in the center. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk with the baking soda and egg and beat the mixture. Add the almost all of the liquid mixture to the the flour and butter mixture, reserving a little (about a tablespoon)  for a wash (see below).

Using a dough scraper, quickly combine the dry and wet ingredients to form what my mom calls a “shaggy mass”.  As soon as the dough begins to come together, stop.

Flour a surface and dump the contents of the dough bowl onto it.  Gather the dough bits into a rectangle, then fold the rectangle into thirds. Flatten the new rectangle gently by pressing on it.  Scoop up any loose bits with the dough scraper and toss them onto the new rectangle. Fold in thirds again. Repeat this process just until the former “shaggy mass”  forms a soft dough (no more than 6 or 7 turns). Roll out the dough to a 1″ thickness.

If you forgot to reserve a little of the liquid for a wash, beat an egg with 1 tbsp of milk and a pinch of salt to create an egg wash or just use a little heavy cream or buttermilk. Using a glass or round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds flouring the cutter between each cut to minimize sticking. After cutting as many pieces as possible, gather up the leftover bits, press them together forming a new rectangle, rolling it to an even 1″ thickness and cut some more rounds.  The less you can work the dough to accomplish this the better – the scones will get tougher the more the dough is worked.  Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment (for easy cleanup) and glaze them with the wash being careful to only put wash on the tops – having wash on the sides will impair the ability of the scone to rise .  Bake for about 15 minutes, until they are golden-brown in color.

N.B. If you prefer a less savoury scone, you can replace the cheese and herbs with dried cranberries (1/2 c.) and citrus zest (a few teaspoons), currants (1/2 c.), or make them plain.