These buttery scones have a special cranberry orange twist the whole family will love!
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Holiday season transitions!
And are we ever ready for them! Right around Thanksgiving I get the urge to totally nest in the house and just hibernate for a month! We certainly get outside for as much fresh air as we can, but we also cozy up inside, and enjoy all the traditions of the holidays that we can. Last year we played around with a new cranberry scone recipe for our Christmas brunch, and I just had to share it with you all at the beginning of the holiday season so that you can enjoy it for Thanksgiving day breakfast and also for all of those Christmas brunches!
A classic combination stirred into our household favorite scone recipe
A couple years back, I was able to perfect a fun scone recipe that I lovingly called our FunFetti Birthday scones. Those scones have become quite the household birthday request, and that fall I dressed the scones up for Halloween making a pumpkin scone! This summer, I also used some of our freshly picked summer berries to make a mixed berry scone that was just so much fun. I’m one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of people, and since we love the base scone recipe so much, I decided to make our scones a bit more festive last Christmas brunch with a classic holiday combination – cranberry orange!
The Method :: The Orange “Buttermilk” Mixture (The Wet Ingredients)
You’ll start your scone recipe by whisking up the wet ingredients. Buttermilk has a special way of magically making scones soft but still crispy on the outside, as well as giving them the “fluff” they need without using eggs. We don’t keep milk around here much, so I just make my own “buttermilk” using coconut milk, and it is so easy. Just put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and pour in the coconut milk until you hit the 3/4 cup mark for this recipe. Then you’ll add the juice from an orange or clementine until you hit the 1 cup mark (using 1/4 cup of juice). Whisk this with the vanilla and that is your orange infused buttermilk to fancy up these scones! **Just be sure that you zest your orange or clementines before you juice them! You’ll need the zest later!
The Method :: The Dry Ingredients & Cutting the Butter In
Set your liquid ingredients aside and whisk the dry ingredients next, including the orange zest. Then comes the butter part! Keep the butter in the fridge until you are ready to do this step so that it stays cold. Cut the butter into cubes, and use your pastry cutter or hands to incorporate the fat into the flour. It will not get wet yet – you’ll just see pieces of butter chunks through the flour. You’ll notice in the next few pictures, including after rolling the scone dough out that you can see little piece of butter – that is ok!
The Method :: Finishing the Scone Dough & Rolling it Out
Once you cut the butter into the flour, you’ll add the liquid ingredients you stirred up earlier. You’ll get a shaggy dough that you can start with your rubber scraper, and then finish with your hands by kneading. Flour your counter, and form a disk with the dough. You can roll your scone dough out to 1-2 inches high depending on how high you want your scones to be. Use your hands to form around the outside to make a circle.
The Method :: Cutting the Cranberry Orange Scone Pieces
I like to use a pizza wheel to get the pieces evenly cut, but a knife works just fine here too. I do think a knife might make cutting through the dried cranberries a little tricky and might pull some of them out of position – the pizza cutter rolls right through. Place your scones onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and you are ready to bake.
The Method :: Baking the Cranberry Orange Scones
Once you cut your scones, you have a couple options. You can freeze the scone dough here if you are making this in advance. This is the perfect task to get done ahead of time before a holiday brunch or party! Or you can bake them right then! Just a half hour in the oven – keep an eye on them around 20 minutes in case our ovens run differently. You want a golden crust on the outside.
The Method :: The Orange Glaze
Let the cranberry orange scones cool completely before drizzling the glaze. That way it won’t melt into the scones, and instead it will create a fun, hardened glaze drizzle on the top. Whisk the juice from the orange and the powdered sugar to get the consistency you want, and then drizzle. It will take about 20 minutes for the glaze to harden.
Can I make the Cranberry Orange Scones without butter?
Yes my friends! While butter is obviously incredible (!!), I do know that some friends can’t have the dairy. I have used cold palm shortening before without any issues. I do like to add a pinch more of salt to the dry ingredients when I use the palm shortening since I usually use salted butter for my scones.
Can I use fresh cranberries?
Absolutely! I use dried cranberries because fresh are quite a bit more tart, and the base scone recipe doesn’t have a lot of “sweet” to it. I think if you plan to use fresh cranberries, you might want to bump the sugar up a little in the dough, but if you really enjoy that tart punch, go for it!
Tips for serving at a Christmas Brunch & Freezing Instructions
Hosting a holiday brunch can feel like a lot of steps. But with something like a scone, you really can make a lot ahead of time, and knock one recipe off the list early! The scone dough can be frozen ahead of time. Like weeks in advance even! Just make the recipe to the point where you cut the scones out, and freeze flat on a sheet tray. Then take the frozen triangles and pop them into a freezer bag until you need them. You also can bake the scones and freeze them that way – they do thaw really nicely and still taste good. If you plan to make the scones and not freeze them, you can store them up to 2 days before serving by storing in an air tight container.
Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Scones
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or coconut buttermilk to make 3/4 cup of buttermilk, put 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and fill with full fat milk or coconut milk to the 1 cup line. Stir together and let it sit while you get the rest of the ingredients together
- 1/4 cup juice from orange or clementine be sure you zest first before juicing to use the zest for a later step
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups Namaste GF Flour Blend fluff the flour before measuring so it isn’t packed down
- ¼ cup organic pure cane sugar plus a little more for sprinkling the tops of the scones if you wish
- 2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp zest from an orange or clementines this is the zest from 1/2 orange or 2 clementines
- 8 oz cold butter 2 sticks, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
- 2-3 tsp juice from an orange or clementine
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make your buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup first if you don’t have store-bought buttermilk. To the butter milk add 1/4 cup juice from an orange, and the vanilla, and stir to combine. Set this aside for later.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and orange zest
- Use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the cold butter into the flour. You want to still be able to see small pieces of butter throughout. See the picture above for reference.
- Stir the dried cranberries into the flour/butter mixture, and then pour the buttermilk/orange/vanilla mixture into the flour/butter/cranberry mixture. Use a rubber scraper to mix. I use the rubber scraper to start, and finish with my hands gently.
- Flour your counter, turn the dough out onto the floured surface, and gently make a disk with your hands. You can use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough to about 1-2 inches thick, and then use your hands again to shape the disk into a perfect circle.
- Cut the disk into eighths, and place the triangles onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a light coating of milk or coconut milk, and sprinkle with a little sugar if you wish.
- Bake the scones at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the edges are golden. Cool the scones completely before icing.
- To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small dish and drizzle over the tops of the cooled scones. The icing will dry and harden within about 20 minutes.
- The scones freeze very well! Just cool completely, put the icing on and let it harden, and then freeze them in freezer bags.