Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans

Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans
Scones….done right…their flaky texture is irresistible. This recipe will walk you through how to master the technique and these cranberry orange scones will become a holiday staple…

Christmas is a week away and that means we need baked goods to serve for breakfast, to serve at brunch, to serve to family and friends.   These cranberry, orange scones with cardamom and toasted pecans are so good and really, so easy if you follow the steps and AVOID over-mixing the dough (the number one NO-NO of scone making).  I created this recipe after seeing fresh cranberries at my local farmers market (http://www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com/) and after flavor combos started swirling in my head.  I think (hope) we all know that cranberry and orange is a good combo, but have you tried cardamom?  If your answer is no, make these scones so you don’t have to say no anymore…enough is enough..

 

Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans
Natural beauty…

Cardamom is very strong and aromatic, unlike anything or any other spice that I am familiar with. It has a spicy, herbal, citrusy character and goes very well with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove. It also pairs beautifully with citrus such orange zest, etc.  Truth be told, I do not use it as much as I would like, it is a wonderful and unique flavor that I really encourage you to seek out.  If you prefer not to, cinnamon could be substituted in this recipe.  On to the baking…

Orange Zest
You really want to taste the orange in these gems so zest 2 navel oranges, whisk them into the dry ingredients and enjoy the lovely fragrance while you are preparing your dough..
Dicing the cold butter
This is a key step in this recipe. It is so important that your butter is COLD and that you dice it into 1/4 inch cubes to be evenly distributed in the dough..
Pulse butter into dry ingredients until a coarse meal is formed
Once you have whisked the zest into the dry ingredients they are transferred to a food processor and pulsed until a coarse meal is formed….AND NO FURTHER..(the picture above is what you are looking for)..

Friends, it is very important that the butter (and liquids) be cold AND that you pulse until a coarse meal forms and NO FURTHER…we do not want a smooth dough to form EVER in this recipe.  WHY??  Here’s why, the cold butter and cold liquid ingredients will influence the flakiness, as well as inhibit gluten formation and will be more likely to produce a finely textured scone. The cold liquids (in this case an egg and heavy cream) keep the fat from melting and the butter gives a richer flavor as opposed to other fats like shortening or lard (same texture results, but different flavor).

Scone dough...a very delicate technique, very doable technique..
Scone dough…a very delicate technique and very doable technique..

After the cranberries and pecans are added and stirred in until just coated the egg and cream are added.  THEN, just fold the mixture a handful of times until you can turn it out onto a lightly floured surface in somewhat of one clump.  This dough is NOT KNEADED, in fact, it is just pressed together before carefully being cut into desired pieces.  Again this technique of not over-mixing will produce the flaky  scones you are looking for.

Press the dough into an 8x8 inch square on a lightly floured surface and then cut into 16 equal pieces...place on your prepared sheet tray..
Press the dough into an 8×8 inch square on a lightly floured surface and then cut into 16 equal pieces…place on your prepared sheet tray..
While the scones bake, make your glaze by mixing together the orange juice and powdered sugar...
While the scones bake, make your glaze by mixing together the orange juice and powdered sugar…
Glazing the scones
Once the scones have baked 15-17 minutes and are lightly browned, remove them from the oven and gently place them on a wire rack (set over some wax paper or foil to catch glaze that drips) to cool…drizzle with orange glaze after a few minutes of cooling…
Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans
YOU DID IT…Bon Appetit..If you would like another holiday baked good to add to your menu, my pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins are a sure winner..http://www.hotdatedinner.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins/
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Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans

Cranberry Orange Scones with Cardamom and Toasted Pecans

Perfect for all of the holiday entertaining you have coming up OR even better, PERFECT with your hot cup of morning coffee.

  • Author: Emily
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 scones

Ingredients

2 cups of flour
1/4 cup sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 tsp cardamom
2/1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 T butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3/4 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half or fourths
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 T orange juice (fresh squeezed from the orange you zested)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Pulse flour, sugar, zest of oranges, cardamom, baking powder and salt in a the bowl of a food processor until fully combined. Add the butter cubes and pulse again until coarse meal forms. Pour mixture into large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir to coat. Finally, add the heavy cream and stir until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press into roughly a 8×8 inch square about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into 16 small equal sized squares. Place each scone square on prepared sheet tray and bake 15-17 minutes. While scones are baking, whisk together orange juice and powdered sugar until smooth; set aside. Remove scones from the oven, carefully transfer to wire rack (set over wax paper or foil to catch drips), cool slightly and drizzle with orange glaze. Enjoy!!