Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Scones

I have too many scone recipes. I don’t even mean variations on the basic scone with different flavorings and additions. I mean there are too many ways to make scones, and I don’t know which is the best way. I certainly don’t know which is the most authentic. I’m not even sure any two scone aficionados agree on that.

I do know, however, how I like my scones to turn out. I like them gently crisp on the outside and tender but slightly crumbly inside. If they’re going to be sweet, I think gently sweetened is just fine. Sweet or savory, I don’t like them boring and pale. They need some flavor, and they need some small bit of browning in the oven.  I haven’t figured out if buttermilk is better than cream or if eggs are better than eggless. Any attempts at lower fat and otherwise reduced-calorie scones have been disappointing, veering away from the biscuit-y texture I prefer and pushing into a coarse and crude muffin zone. (I’d rather just make good muffins.)  Cold butter is essential. Skimping on that just doesn’t work.

Among the too many scone recipes I have are too many cranberry-orange scones recipes. I, however, didn’t even start with any of them to make these scones. I started instead from an orange and oatmeal scone recipe from the blog 101 Cookbooks (stashed among by list of too many recipes from the internet). I scaled down the recipe, added some oat flour, fiddled with the flavorings a bit, and increased the baking time for a slightly browned scone.

The end result was delicious. Delicious enough to toss out all those cranberry-orange scone recipes I’ve got stashed in my files and on my computer and everywhere else around the house. A small dent in the clutter, perhaps, but a large victory in the realm of satisfying scones.


Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Scones
Based on a recipe at 101Cookbooks
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oat flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup dried cranberries
Coarse sugar for sprinkling, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, oat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse a few times to combine well. Add the oats and pulse again to distribute them.

3. Add the butter and orange zest and pulse until the butter is distributed in pea-size lumps. Add the buttermilk and process just until the dough starts to come together. Add the cranberries and pulse a few times to distribute them in the dough.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently knead the dough to bring it together. Form the dough into a disc about 6 inches in diameter and about 1-1 ½ inches thick. Cut the dough into 8 equal triangles.

5. Transfer the triangles to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until the scones are gently brown on top and golden brown on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or completely cooled. Freeze any leftovers in a zip-top bag.

 Makes 8 servings.


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