This month's Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe Challenge, Ina's Cranberry Orange Scones was selected by Em at The Repressed Pasty Chef who referred the most people to the BB site last month. I have a confession to make, I am not a lover of scones. It is not as if I really dislike them or anything, I just find myself occasionally seduced by the ingredients into buying them and they never really seem to live up to the hype I build up for them in my mind. I do like a mini-scone or two when we go out for the occasional afternoon "high tea" but otherwise, I can take them or leave them. Even not being a scone lover, I was happy to try Ina's scones because her recipes are always so great and it also gave me a chance to play around, experiment and lighten them up. Now scone lovers and connoisseurs out there will probably sniff, poo-poo my healthy changes and tell me that if I cut the butter and cream out of a scone, replacing it with non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and low-fat buttermilk, it really isn't a scone but that's what I did. I also used white whole wheat flour, added some oats, doubled the orange zest and mixed dried blueberries with the cranberries. These changes, (in red below), halving the recipe and making them smaller, (about 1/2-inch tall and just under 2-inches across), gave me 18 baby scones, the perfect size to have two with a cup of tea for breakfast or an afternoon snack.
The recipe below can be found on the Food Network site (here) or in The Barefoot Contessa at Home (page 214).(Lightened Up) Cranberry (& Blueberry) Orange (Mini) Scones
Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Makes 14-16 Scones) (1/2 recipe made 18 smaller scones)
4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (used 1 & 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup rolled oats for 1/2 recipe)
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (used double the amount)
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (used 3 Tbsp butter + 1/3 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt for 1/2 recipe)
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream (used 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk for 1/2 recipe)
1 cup dried cranberries (used 1/2 dried cranberries and 1/2 dried blueberries)
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. (Rolled to 1/2-inch thick). You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter (Used a 2-inch cutter) and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.
Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. (My smaller scones baked at about 13-15 minutes). The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.
Notes/Results: Really good! Nice and moist, not too heavy and great orange flavor. Less crumbly than a normal scone and maybe a little more "cakey" but not in a bad way. I was worried they would be too dense or tough, but they were tender. The combination of the orange, cranberries and blueberries was delicious. I used Ina's glaze recipe without making any changes and it was a nice compliment to the tangy dried berries. (Although I realize that when it comes to glazes I am a lousy "Drizzler" and more of a "Splatterer"). They seem to freeze pretty well too which is good, since they are tasty enough that I might just keep eating them throughout the day. These are not exactly Ina's scones, but a lower fat, lower calorie, healthier choice, still in keeping with the spirit and flavor profile of her recipe and leaving me some wiggle room to indulge in things I am much more passionate about--like chocolate!
Thanks Em for a great choice that was fun to play around with! This is an optional challenge so not all Barefoot Bloggers may choose to make the scones but you can see who did by going to the BB site (here).