Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday mornings

     I'm one of those people who hate getting up in the morning, jumping in the shower, getting dressed, scarfing down whatever might resemble breakfast, and racing out the door. In order for me to function through my day, I've GOT to have a couple hours to wake up with some coffee and some quiet time before the rush of the day is upon me.

    What better way (especially on a beautiful Sunday morning) is there to start a day, than by getting into the kitchen, and baking up something yummy, but not-too-sweet, to accompany that morning cuppa joe?

     One of my all-time favorite things to pair with coffee is a golden, fluffy scone. YUM!
I found a recipe online about 10 years ago, and adapted it into my Cranberry Orange Scones. Easy to make, bake, and enjoy any time. So, enough chit chat...grab your coffee mug, settle in for a few, and let's get to baking!

      First, preheat your oven to 450° F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchement paper and set aside.

     Next, in a large mixing bowl...
     whisk together 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon baking powder,
and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

     Next, cut 6 Tablespoons of the butter into your flour mixture. Some people use forks or a pastry cutter. I rub the mixture between my hands, working very quickly, so as not to warm the butter too much. Do this until the mixture is the size of small peas. Add your chopped cranberries, and toss to coat/separate them.
Set aside again.

Whisk the heavy cream, eggs, vanilla and orange zest until well mixed.
     Add this to your flour mixture, and stir with a spatula or large spoon, just until it forms a soft but smooth dough. It might be a little sticky at this point. If so, CAREFULLY add a little more flour, just until you get it smooth. You want the dough slightly tacky, but not too much so. Knead a couple times to make sure all ingredients have come together.

    On a moderately floured surface, lightly press and roll the dough into a rectangle, between 1/2-3/4" thick. Dipping your knife or biscuit cutter in flour first, to prevent sticking, and cut your scones. Place onto your
parchment-lined baking sheets.

     Melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons butter, and LIGHTLY brush the tops of the scones only. Sprinkle sanding (large grains) sugar over the buttered tops, and pop your sheet into the oven for 11-13 minutes.

     Bake the scones until just the edges and tops are firm, but only lightly browned. Be careful not to over-bake them :) Cool on a wire rack until warm enough to not burn your mouth ;)

      Now, all there is left to do is refill your cuppa, and ENJOY!
I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend, and I look forward to sharing more with you later this week :)

Cranberry Orange Scones

          3 cups All purpose flour
          1/3 cup granulated sugar
          1 Tablespoon baking powder
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          9 Tablespoons cubed COLD unsalted butter, divided
          1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
          1 cup heavy cream
          2 large eggs, lightly beaten
          2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
          2 tangerines, zested
          1/2 cup sanding sugar (if unavailable, you can use granulated)

       1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
       2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
       3. Cut 6 Tablespoons of the butter into your flour mixture, until it's the texture of small peas.
           Add chopped cranberries, and toss to coat.
       4. Whisk together the cream, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until well-mixed.
       5. Stir wet ingredients into your flour mixture, and mix until dough just comes together. Dough will
           be slightly tacky, but if it's too sticky, add an 1/8 cup of flour or less, and stir lightly to incorporate.
       6. On a moderately floured board, pat and roll the dough to approximately 1/2-3/4" thick, and
           rectangular in shape.
       7. With cutters or a knife dipped in flour, cut out your shapes, and place on baking sheets.
       8. Melt remaining 3 Tablespoons butter, and very lightly brush the tops of the scones only. Sprinkle
           tops with sanding or granulated sugar.
       9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, just until tops are firm but not too dry, and edges are lightly browned.
     10. Cool on wire rack, and store at room temperature in airtight containers for 2 days.