These Cranberry Orange scones are an easy treat to make for breakfast. The cranberries and pistachios add a festive touch, add a drizzle of icing and it is indeed a treat on a special day! Vegetarian | Egg Free
Scones for breakfast has become a Christmas tradition over the past few years, followed by binge watching Star Wars if it is too cold to step outside. This year we watched The last Jedi few days before, leaving us with just the hunger for scones :-).
Our favorite is this Christmas Morning Scones, so called because of its bright fresh flavors and colors. Orange, cranberries, and pistachios flavor these scones. Easy to make, and easier to share.
More Christmas Recipes
- Cardamom Bread – Pulla
- Lucia Rolls
- South Indian Home brew – Grape wine
- Bigos – Hunter’s stew
- Baath Cake or Bathika from Goa
- … More
What are Scones
Scones are individual sized baked goodies. These are similar to quick breads and usually lightly sweetened. When scones have a slightly crumbly texture. A well made scone is crumbles in the mouth and is a perfect companion for that morning cup of joe.
Why Make Scones
To me scones are one of the easiest bakes. Making scones does not take much prep work and they the same goes for baking time as well. I can make these beauties at home in less than the time it takes for me to go to the store and buy a box.
Breakfast scones usually are lightly sweetened. Butter, jam, honey etc are served along on the side. But Christmas calls for little indulgence, so there are little sweeter than usual.
The scone are not overly sweet, but the orange glaze drizzled over is sweet;-) . The wonderful flecks of red from the cranberries and the green from the pistachios adds to the festive touch. Now you know why I call it Christmas Morning Scone !
Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Scones
Flour, butter, sugar, milk/cream, and eggs are the typical ingredients for a scone. This one does not have eggs. It happened accidentally – and the texture was right! So we continued making it without eggs.
This version adds dried cranberries and chopped pistachios in the dough for specks for red and green. Orange zest and orange icing gives the scones a touch of fresh flavors.
I make these scones with all-purpose flour. Often times I make scones with part whole wheat flour. The recipe works well with partial substitutions – up to 50%. If you You may have to add 1 to 2 Tbsp extra liquid to bind everything together. For Christmas I make it with all white flour (All purpose) . Though I don’t recommend a specific brand for this recipe, the flour I use as re always unbleached and un-bromated, and whenever possible organic.
Making the Christmas Morning Scones
This is an easy morning bake. Mix everything scoop on to a baking sheet and bake. No shaping , resting, or waiting. No distractions from unwrapping and enjoying the presents 🙂 or curl up and finish reading that book – which currently in my case happens to be one on WordPress!
Unlike cakes and breads the dough for scones is not homogeneous and smooth. The dough has small pieces of butter is distributed more or less uniformly throughout. The butter melts when baking, creating the characteristic crumbly texture.
The fastest way to achieve this is to add all the dry ingredients to a food processor along with chopped cold butter and pulse a few times. In 4 to 5 pulses the mix turns to a coarse bread crumb texture. If needed do it in batches, making sure that the flour to butter ratio stays same in each batch.
Transfer the crumbly mix to a large bowl and fold in the fruits, zest, and nuts. All the flavor for the cranberry orange scones are in the dough now. All it needs now is a binder.
Stir in the liquid (milk) and gently mix. Mix until all the flour is evenly moist. Be careful at this step, you can use your hands or a spatula. I prefer a spatula as the dough tends to be sticky and a silicon spatula does the job really well.
Do not overwork the dough.
Bake the scones in a hot oven – about 400℉ (200 – 210℃). Preheat the oven as you start before you make the dough. Just scoop the dough using an ice cream scoop and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
To Ice or Not
Cool the scones on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. At this point you have the option to ice or not. My preference is to ice as I usually serve these plain with coffee/tea. Also the orange flavored icing and chopped cranberries are a festive touch.
Another option will be to brush some cream/egg wash on top of the scones and sprinkle sparking sugar just before baking.
You can make the ahead in the dry form , i.e. without adding milk, and chilled in the fridge overnight. In the morning pre-heat the oven, take out the mix and fold in the cold milk when ready to bake.
Cranberry Orange Scones
- AP Flour – 2 C
- Baking Powder – 1 Tsp
- Sugar – 3/4 C
- Salt – A pinch
- Butter – 1/2 C Cold
- Chopped Dried Cranberries – 1/3 C
- Chopped Pistachios – 1/3 C
- Orange Zest – 1 Tbsp
- Milk – 3/4 C
- Orange Juice – 4 Tbsp
- Icing Sugar – 1 C
- Fine Orange Zest – 2 Tsp
- Vanilla extract – 2 Drops
- Finely chopped Pistachios – 2 Tbsp
- Start with all cold ingredients. Pre-heat oven to 400°F (210°C)
- Place the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt, in the jar of a food processor. Pulse twice to combine evenly. Chop the cold butter into half inch cubes and add to the flour mix. Add the sugar. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mix looks like coarse bread crumbs. Turn out into a mixing bowl. Alternately you could cut the butter into the flour sugar mix in a bowl using a pastry cutter or 2 forks.
- Add the cranberries, the chopped pistachios, and the orange zest. Use a spatula and gently mix everything. Drizzle the cold milk and stir again with the spatula until all the flour is moist. Do not knead or work the dough more. The dough should just hold together when scooped up .
- Using an ice cream scoop transfer the dough in batches to a cookie sheet. Place each scoop about 2 to 3 inches apart from each other. Do not flatten.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the tops begin to turn golden .
- Remove from the oven, cool in pan for a minute and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool for at least 10 minutes before icing.
- Take the icing sugar in a bowl. add the orange zest and vanilla extract . Pour enough of the orange juice to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over the cooled scones . Sprinkle some chopped pistachios on top.
- I prefer not to make this dough by hand as the body heat is enough to soften the butter.
- You can substitute up to 50% of the flour with whole wheat flour for a healthier version. In this case increase the liquids by one to 2 tablespoons.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.