Tender, flaky scones are studded with tart cranberries and topped with a sweet orange glaze, sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar. A breakfast that's impossible to resist!
Ciao, friends! My feet have been solidly planted on DC soil since about 10 PM last night, so… for 9 hours? Sheesh, I can’t believe I’m back to work already. This trip was so worth it though - I got so much inspiration for Scones, and I can’t wait to share in the coming weeks! If you missed my Venice post, you can find that here, and I’ll be recapping everywhere we ate in Cortina d’Ampezzo (Italian Alps) on Wednesday.
While we ate out for every meal in Venice, we were lucky enough to have an entire house in Cortina, complete with fully stocked kitchen. This allowed us to cook a lovely “Thanksgiving” meal on Thursday (with chicken instead of turkey #alpsprobs), and for us to take turns cooking breakfast. Thursday morning was my chance, and I pulled together a beautiful breakfast of these Cranberry Almond Scones and Speck (smoked prosciutto) on Thursday morning.
Now, pulling these scones together was no walk in the park! While the house was equipped with some ingredients (salt.), I had the pleasure of sourcing the rest from the nearby Kangaru grocery store. This included staring at a wall of various flours, all described in Italian; trying to source baking powder by picking up anything that looked like a leavening agent, and searching high and low (and high again) for vanilla extract, until realizing that it came in tiny vials of 1 teaspoon each.
Trying grocery trip completed, I hit my next challenge - how to measure without measuring cups, and with a food scale that weighed things only in its small rectangular box? By magic. And creative Googling, and pouring many rounds of flour into a very small drinking glass. Gotta do what you gotta do, folks!
And don’t even get me STARTED on the oven. I assumed that the scale - 1 to 5 - was 1 notch for every 500 degrees celsius. I am also apparently not very smart, because any reasonable person would realize that a 500C oven would just about burn down the house. This led to me changing the oven temperature about 3 times during the baking cycle, which is recommended by 0/10 pastry professionals.
Regardless, it worked! The scones turned out fabulously, and I learned a lot about trusting your instincts when it comes to baking. And about downloading an offline translating app. That is definitely something I recommend doing if you find yourself at a grocery store in a small Alps town.
To make these scones, you will need:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 T baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, grated
- 2 eggs
- 3/8 cup heavy cream
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- Heavy cream, as needed
As with all the pastry recipes you’ll find here on Scones & Patron, we’re going to grate some butter! Wash your hands, then grate your stick of butter into a bowl. Place that bowl of butter in the freezer to get super cold - this will help make your scones extra flaky!
Once your butter is in the freezer, preheat your oven to 400F. This was the trickiest part of working with an Italian oven - the conversion to Celsius was simple enough, but trying to figure out the arbitrary 1 to 5 scale the oven was labeled on was not. Don’t worry, I’m proof that these scones will probably still turn out even if you have no idea what you’re doing! Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or rub some olive oil on the bottom of a disposable pie pan. We’re making the best of the situation.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, granulated sugar and salt. Mix in your dried cranberries. Grab your butter from the freezer and add to the flour mixture, massaging in with your hands until the butter is well-distributed and the largest pieces are pea-sized.
In a medium bowl mix together your eggs, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Add this mixture to your flour mix and stir just until incorporated. The dough should be thick - I usually start mixing with a spoon, then finish with my hands.
Flour a clean surface, then turn out the scone dough. Knead in any remaining pieces of flour, then shape into a circle that is about 3/4” thick. Use a pizza cutter or a knife to slice the circle into 8 pieces, then arrange these pieces on your baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown, then remove from the oven.
While the scones are cooling, we’ll make our glaze! Combine your powdered sugar and the juice of half an orange in a small bowl, then add powdered sugar and/or heavy cream until you reach your desired sweetness and consistency.
Once the scones have cooled, drizzle them with glaze and affix a handful of sliced almonds. Finally, dust with powdered sugar and serve!
Against all odds, these scones worked out perfectly. They were incredibly delicious, especially served alongside a cup of coffee and an Italian cooking show (pretty much all we watched). So, even if you’re not super confident in your baking abilities, give it a go! If nothing else, you’ll get to eat scraps of a damn good dough from the bowl.