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Spiced Cranberry-Orange Scones

Cook Time:
25 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Studded with frozen cranberries, generously spiced with a trio of warm spices and topped with a bright orange glaze, these scones capture the best of the holiday season. My tried and true scone recipe starts with equal parts all-purpose flour and cake flour; all-purpose flour helps give the dough body while cake flour helps create a light, fine crumb and prevents the scones from becoming too dense. Another trick to ensure that each scone is light and flaky? Grate an entire stick of very cold butter and gently fold the shreds into the dough. It will be easy to evenly distribute shredded butter throughout the dough.

To balance the flavor of the tart cranberries and zingy orange glaze, ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg are folded into the dough.

I might be exaggerating, but there's nothing worse than a dry, cardboard-like scone (on second thought, no I’m not). If you follow my technique carefully, you’ll end up with moist, fluffy scones.  Whisk the dry ingredients together, add the butter, followed by the cranberries and toss to combine. 

Here’s where you really have to pay attention. Drizzle in one beaten egg and buttermilk and using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently incorporate the ingredients just until the dough begins to come together. Stop stirring, even though it’ll still be shaggy — it will continue to come together as you form the dough. Dump the shaggy dough onto a floured surface, such as a wooden or marble cutting board, and use your hands to bring it together into a rough rectangle. Fold the dough over itself once horizontally, then pat down. Then, fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half of the dough, pat down and shape into an approximate 7-inch disk.

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For the Cranberry Scones
  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and grated
  • cups frozen cranberries
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
For the Orange Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
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For the Scones:


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.


In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add grated butter and toss to combine. Add cranberries and stir until coated. Add beaten egg and buttermilk and gently stir until the dough begins to come together.


Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead lightly until the dough forms. Pat into a 7-inch-wide disk that measures 1-inch-thick. Use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 8 wedges. Transfer the scones to a prepared sheet, placing them about 1-inch apart and brush the tops with buttermilk.


Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

For the Glaze:


Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, half-and-half, vanilla and orange zest until smooth.


Let the scones cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with glaze, then serve.