I’m trying to recall why I was ever intimidated by making scones. For years, I was. I’m racking my brain, trying to figure out that exact rationale; on the whole, I just recall being told that they are easy to mess up. There is a fine line between making a batch that is moist enough but not too dry, as the hallmark of a good scone is a slight crumble. For Christmas 2014, I took a leap of faith and whipped up a batch of cranberry scones at 7 that morning, feeling inspired yet nervous. I was worried that my failure in making edible ones would result in ruining such a precious day for my family. (Dramatic, much?) The integration of the cold butter was a bit cumbersome, and I hazily recall asking one of my parents to scrape the dough off of my hand at one juncture. However, 30 minutes later, we were happily munching on scones that were dense yet not overwhelming, crispy but not dry, and bursting with juicy cranberries.
I could handle scone making.
I make them rarely, but I love to experiment when I do. (Note: Roasted Grape Scones will show up on this site sooner than later!) I find it hard to make a smaller recipe because, one, I don’t always feel like doing the math to halve or third it (…lazy…), and two, I love sharing them with roommates, friends, and co-workers. In fact, one of my co-workers has one scone recipe down to a science. Hers, with a traditional smattering of currants, are everything a quintessential scone should be. In fact, they inspired a hashtag you may seen on my Instagram feed on days I’m lucky enough to eat her baked goods: #dammitjeanmarie. However, she is a self-admitted purist; she has told me that the only filling within a scone should be currants. I respect that, so I’ll let her make hers, and I’ll allow myself to go the more experimental route. At least we aren’t competing. Ha!
Oh, and I learned a cool trick from my father a few months back. When it comes to certain desserts, you may see an instruction that strikes fear in the hearts of many: cutting butter into flour. Growing up, I never had a pastry cutter; I had my hands and my fingers! I do remember attempting to slam a whisk into a chunk of butter many a year ago, and the results of that were as follows: the butter got pushed into the middle of the whisk and I had to fish it out. I thought the use of the whisk as a makeshift pastry-cutting instrument was ingenious, but…yeeeeah. Hindsight was 20/20. I went back to my hands and fingers after that. When I was home in Connecticut this past October for my birthday, my dad made my favorite dessert: apple crisp! Of course, he tops with with a flour and butter-based brown sugar crumble. As I watched him make it, I noted how he had a frozen stick of butter and a cheese grater. I was intrigued. What did he do? He grated the frozen butter! It made its incorporation into the flour and brown sugar much simpler. Ahhh, my father, the culinary genius…
Cheers to Monday, y’all! Pop a scone to get you though this morning.
Orange Ginger Scones
– 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed or shredded while frozen
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
– 1 teaspoon orange zest
– 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
– 3/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Before We Get Started…
– Be prepared: when mixing this dough with your hands, it is exceedingly sticky!
1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, orange zest, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
3.) Add butter to dry ingredients; mix with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and add 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice. Use hands to combine mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.
4.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for no more than 30 seconds. Form dough into a rough shape, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 triangular slices.
5.) Place scones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Combine two tablespoons of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed orange juice. Brush tops with cream mixture and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and slightly cracked.
6.) Place on wire rack to cool before eating. Store remaining scones in an airtight container.