Flavorful, light, and moist cranberry orange scones. These delicious treats are tender with fresh orange flavor and pops of cranberry. This post is sponsored by my friends at Clabber Girl, thanks for supporting the brands I love!
Why it Works
Scones are great because they are easy enough for new bakers to make and quickly master while also learning valuable baking skills.
We use fresh oranges so get a clean and delicious orange flavor that pops without being overwhelming or too sweet. The dried cranberries makes it easier to handle and shape the dough, plus adds a welcome balance of sweet and tart.
These scones make a great make ahead recipe and freeze beautifully, allowing you to have a flaky and tender scone anytime you like.
Scones are great because they use a lot of pantry basics. There may only be one or two ingredients you need to pick up. Let’s review some of the key ingredients and why they’re important. You can get the full list of ingredients and amounts for these cranberry orange scones in the recipe card below.
- Flour - When it comes to recipes like scones and biscuits, the flour you use plays a big role. Without getting into the detailed science of the proteins in flour and gluten development, we need flour that will leave us with a tender scone that can still hold up to the ingredients we add to it. I prefer and recommend all-purpose flour, but cake flour does surprisingly well in this recipe, too. Avoid bread flour.
- Leavening - A good scone should be tender and light. We need a good leavener to do that. Clabber Girl Baking Powder is the best brand and the top baking powders in America. In fact, the company is known for being experts in the baking world since 1850. If you can, use Clabber Girl Baking Powder.
- Butter - The cornerstone of pretty much any delicious baked good is butter. For scones, I like to use a high butterfat butter - you may find it marketed as European-style butter. You absolutely do not need to use this type of butter for amazing scones. Store-brand butter works just as well in this particular recipe. What you do need to look for, however, is unsalted butter.
- Cream - Scones are best when they include cream. I like to use heavy or whipping cream. It is rich and helps to carry the flavor of the orange, plus helps the scones retain moisture - no one likes a dry scone. You can use whole milk. Some people have replaced half the cream with fresh orange juice to amplify the orange flavor even more. Buttermilk also works well here.
- Orange - This recipe uses mostly orange zest to flavor the scones. It is easier to control the amount of liquid we add, and you get a delicious concentrated orange flavor with the zest. I like navel orange zest for this particular recipe, but I always recommend experimenting with different types of oranges. Cara Cara oranges are also very delicious here.
- Cranberries - There is some debate as to whether or not fresh or dried cranberries are the best in scones. I like dried cranberries because they’re sweeter and easier to work with in the dough. You can absolutely use fresh or frozen (not thawed out) cranberries if you like the contrast of sweet and tart. If you do use dried cranberries, I recommend the reduced sugar varieties.
How to Make
Making the scones is very simple and fun. Here is a brief overview of how to make cranberry orange scones. You can get detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Mix together the dry ingredients - minus the cranberries - in a bowl.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
- Mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Stir the ingredients together until there is only a small amount of flour not incorporated.
- Add the cranberries and mix until the flour is fully incorporated.
- Shape the dough into a large disc that is about 1-inch thick.
- Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, then cut into 8 equal triangles.
- Bake, then top with glaze and more orange zest.
Like making biscuits, it is very important to handle the dough as little as possible. You want to mix the dough just until there are no stray bits of flour, then gently shape into a disc. The less you handle the dough, the more tender the scones will be once they’re baked.
You can freeze the scones to bake later. I recommend following the directions to make the scones up until you brush the scones with egg wash. Instead, cut the dough into your eight portions, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, place them into an airtight container and back into the freezer.
When you are ready to bake, remove from the freezer, add the egg wash and sugar, then bake with an additional five minutes on your timer.
These cranberry orange scones should be plenty moist on the inside, so if yours are dry and crumbly, there was an issue. It could be that the scones are overbaked, but more than likely, there was not enough liquid. This can happen if you accidentally packed in the flour when measuring, or was not accurate in measuring out your heavy cream.
Typically, these scones last up to three days in an airtight container at room temperature. After that, they tend to get stale and dried out.
We use Clabber Girl Baking Powder to help our scones rise beautifully. I recommend tracking how long you’ve had your baking powder opened. Once you open your baking powder, it is good for about a month and after then, it might not give you as much rise as you’d like. I like to write the date I open my can on the lid. Another issue could be that the oven was not hot enough. Try using an oven thermometer (you can find one inexpensively) to make sure the oven is at the right temperature. It is normal for ovens to be off by a few degrees, but it can affect how much rise you get.
Cranberry Orange Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup unsalted butter cubed and frozen
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream chilled
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon orange zest finely grated
- Mix together the flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, salt, zest, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl.
- Add in the butter and cut into the flour using a pasty cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
- Mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, egg, and vanilla together in a small bowl.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until mostly combined.
- Add in the cranberries and work the dough until there are no streaks of flour and the cranberries are distributed.
- Turn the dough onto a floured flat surface. Form the dough into a large disc about an inch thick.
- Place in the freezer on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet while the oven preheats to 350F.
- Mix together the egg and water for the egg wash while the oven is preheating.
- Brush the scones with the egg wash once the oven is preheated, then top with the sugar.
- Cut into 8 equal pieces and bake for 22 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Mix together the sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and salt for the glaze. Add heavy cream as needed to get a nice consistency.
- Allow the scones to cool, then drizzle the glaze over the scones, then top with the orange zest.