Orange Cranberry Scones are light and flaky with a delicious orange flavor and chewy cranberries.
This simple scone recipe will hit the spot if you’re craving some tender scones with a little bit of flavor to jazz them up. These are American scones, not biscuit-like English scones. They don’t rise as much as an English scone, but they are warm and soft inside.
My favorite flavor to add to scones is orange and cranberry. It’s just the perfect flavor combination and it makes these incredibly aromatic and tasty scones.
I serve them whenever someone comes over, along with a pot of tea. It all feels very British.
If you have kids coming over, you might also want to try your hand at making these Easy Yo-Yo Biscuits, too. It’s the perfect afternoon tea treat for the kids.
How to Make Scones
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large, rimmed baking parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Set aside.
Mix two cups flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter with fork until butter is in pea-sized pieces. A great time saving tip for getting the butter worked in is to freeze the butter and then grate it into the dry ingredients using a cheese grater.
In a separate bowl, combine the heavy cream, sour cream, egg, vanilla extract, orange extract, and orange zest. Whisk to combine.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Add in the dried cranberries and stir until just mixed.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto a clean work surface. Transfer scone batter onto floured surface and lightly press together. Press the dough down into a 1/2″ high rectangle (approximately 6″ x 10″). You don’t want to overwork this dough. It will be tough and not rise at all. Cut in half lengthwise, and then each half into 3 rectangles. Then, cut each rectangle diagonally to create triangle-shaped pieces.
Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1-2” between them. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the scones for 18-22 minutes, or until they are nicely golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.
While the scones are cooling, prepare the orange glaze by stirring the powdered sugar and orange juice together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
Serve the scones warm drizzled with some of the orange glaze on top. Enjoy!
Tips for Making Light & Fluffy Scones
To make flaky, fluffy scones, you need to start with cold butter. Just take it out of the fridge right before you make this recipe.
Cold butter allows you to keep little globs of butter within the flour when you mix it. When the dough is baking the butter will melt inside the scone and leave a perfect buttery and flaky scone. Or try freezing the butter and grating it into the dry ingredients. Frozen butter grates into tiny pieces that blend into the flour easy.
Secondly, the amount of mixing you do can greatly affect the scones. Once the liquid is added to the dough, you need to do the least amount of mixing possible. The dough will be crumbly and somewhat chunky. It should not be smooth and elastic, like pizza dough.
Resist the urge to add additional flour to the dough, even if it’s a bit tacky. If you add more flour to take away the tackiness of the dough, it will affect the final product.
Finally, when you’re cutting the scones out with the cutter, be careful not to twist the cutter. This has a big affect on the rising ability, because it sort of seals the sides together, so it doesn’t rise as much.
Reasons Your Scones Don’t Rise
As stated above, there are a number of reasons scones don’t rise. Unfortunately, some batches just don’t rise like they should, even if you seemingly did everything right.
Some things that can affect the rise of your scones are:
- Altitude and humidity – higher altitude helps with rise
- Letting the dough sit out too long before baking
- Using warm or melted butter
- Too wet or too dry dough
- Not mixing in the butter with the flour properly before adding the milk
- Using old baking powder or flour
- Overkneading the dough
- Twisting the cookie cutter when cutting out the circles
- Putting them into the oven before the precise temperature has been reached
Adding Different Fruits to Your Scones
There are many different ways you can change up these scones. They don’t have to be orange and cranberry. Some of our favorite additions are:
- Lemon zest
- Chocolate chips
If you decide to change up the fruit in this recipe, it’s best to use dehydrated fruit, like raisins or dried cranberries. Fresh fruit, with the exception of berries, usually contains too much water, which will change the consistency of the scones.
Can I Freeze These Scones?
The dough of this recipe freezes well. Once all ingredients are combined and cut into shape you can freeze it in a sealed plastic bag. Make sure that when bringing the dough back up to temperature that you do not use a microwave as this will compromise the texture of the dough.
It’s also possible to freeze the already baked scones. Make sure they’ve cooled completely before sealing them into a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. They’ll keep for up to a month.
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Orange Cranberry Scones
For the scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest preferably organic
- 1 cup dried cranberries
For the glaze
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Mix two cups flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork until butter is in pea-sized pieces. Or grate frozen butter into the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine the heavy cream, sour cream, egg, vanilla extract, orange extract, and orange zest. Whisk to combine.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Add in the dried cranberries and stir until just mixed.
- Sprinkle some flour onto a clean work surface. Transfer scone batter onto floured surface and lightly knead into a ball. Press the dough into a ½”-high rectangle (approximately 6” x 10”). Cut in half lengthwise, and then each half into 3 rectangles. Then, cut each rectangle diagonally to create triangle-shaped pieces.
- Transfer the scones to the baking sheet, leaving 1-2” between them. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Put the baking sheet in the oven when ready. Bake the scones for 18-22 minutes, or until they are nicely golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.
- While the scones are cooling, prepare the orange glaze by stirring the powdered sugar and orange juice together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Serve the scones warm drizzled with some of the orange glaze on top. Enjoy!
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.