Friday, December 17, 2010

Cranberry-orange scones - my own recipe!

There are 4 farmers markets in Tacoma, each on a different day of the week in a different part of town.  Three of them closed for the winter in October but the one that's the farthest from my home has decided to open once monthly.  A month ago I stumbled upon the open market and found fresh, bulk cranberries at the seafood booth.  I've seen fresh cranberries in the grocery store plenty of times but never in bulk.

(Learn how cranberries are grown here, and see pictures here.)

The vendor explained why you never see cranberries in bulk: cranberry farmers have exclusive contracts with Ocean Spray, which prohibits them from selling cranberries to anyone else.  This vendor had a friend who had some berries that weren't promised elsewhere so had offered to sell them at the market.

I bought 2 pounds of berries... and am still trying to figure out what to do with all of them.  I'll probably freeze them for later use.  Cranberries do freeze beautifully.  I'm also floating the idea of trying to make a cranberry curd.

Ever seen a fresh cranberry up close?  They're hollow, which is why they float and bounce.

I once ordered a fancy girlie martini with cranberry flavoring of some kind.  It came with a cranberry floating in it, which I ate for some stupid reason.  A word to the wise: don't eat raw cranberries.  They are so tart and acidic your face will cave in on itself.

Because I'm a scone junkie, here's a recipe I created to feature the fresh cranberries.  The scones are light and airy.  Take a bite and you'll get both sweet from the glaze and tart from the berries.  Fresh cranberries are very different from dried ones.  Hubbie has already asked me to make these for Christmas morning.



3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into pieces
6 ounce container of yogurt plus enough cream or sour cream to make 3/4 cup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested and juiced (need 1/8 cup orange juice)
1 cup chopped cranberries (chop, then measure)
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Powdered sugar
Orange juice

  1. Combine flour through butter in a food processor until it resembles corn meal.  Move to a large bowl.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients, including orange zest and juice in a measuring cup, then add to the butter/flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.  Dough will be very sticky.  Your egg may or may not have straw stuck to it.
  3. Add in the cranberries.
  4. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a square 1/2" high.  Cut in to triangles as seen in the picture and transfer to a baking sheet.  At this stage you can freeze the scones on a cookie sheet then move to a baggie once solid (see note below). 
  5. Back at 350 for 20 minutes or until faintly golden brown.  Allow to cool on a rack.
  6. For the glaze, combine roughly 1 cup of powdered sugar with small amounts of OJ until it resembles a runny glue.  Drizzled on top or dip the scone into the glaze.

If you're going to freeze these you can cook them without defrosting.  Cook at the normal temp and check them at the 20-minute mark.  My office has a toaster oven that's perfect for cooking scones at work and torturing colleagues.  I also like to keep a couple of kinds of scones on hand in the freezer so that I can make a variety at a moment's notice.

By the way, these pumpkin scones are delicious, and very close to the Starbucks version that inspired them.  I doubled the baking powder and all of the spices except cloves, increased the butter from 6T to 8T, and improvised my own glaze of vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and cinnamon.

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