Cranberry Almond Scones

Yum

C.S. Lewis once said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  I couldn’t agree more with this statement.
There is something so very comforting about sipping a steaming cup of tea on a cold, rainy day as you watch the droplets drizzling down your window.
And if tea is the groom, then the bride has to be the scone.
Ah . . . beautiful scones.  I am totally in love with them.  They are simple, yet elegant.  Like a beautiful woman, they can be dressed down or dressed up, and absolutely rock the occasion, either way.  They can be sweet.  They can be savory.  They can rely on classic flavors or be totally reinvented, depending on what you like.  They make attractive and tasty Christmas gifts, especially when paired with your favorite tea and a cozy mug.
They are pure joy– in an adorable triangle shape.
Want to make ’em? Well, what are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!
Cranberry Almond Scone Recipe:
(adapted from Allrecipes.com and reinvented for my own taste)
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, chilled
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds or pecans
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Sliced almonds for surface garnish
Directions: Mix dry ingredients together.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter.  Stir in add-ins.  Stir in wet ingredients until moistened into a heavy dough.  Roll the dough into a flat circle about 1.5″ thick.  Cut into 8 wedges and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and top with sliced almonds.  Press almonds lightly into scone to ensure that they adhere.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.
Now, in pictures!
The basic “bones” of a scone (Does that make it the “scone’s bones?”  Well . . . I suppose, if you want to get all rhymy-timey on me . . .) are biscuit ingredients . . . flour, leavener, fat, and liquid, all baked at high heat for a short time to make something indescribably delicious.  Really, making these scones is very similar to making biscuits, like we did here the other day.
First, whisk your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) together in a bowl.  Use your pastry cutter to cut in the butter.  Leave chunks of butter the size of a small pea– these butter bombs are what make your scones fluffy and lovely.
Next, add the add-ins!  🙂  You can use anything you want– I am using a mixture of dried cherries, cranberries, and pecans. Yes.  I know they’re called Cranberry ALMOND scones.  Yes.  I am adding cherries and pecans.  Yes.  You may change the name if you like.  You may choose to be a purist and not add the pecans.  But who in his right mind doesn’t like pecans????  Come on.  Meet me halfway.  We will put the almonds on top.  Happy?  😉
Normally, we toss add-ins with flour, to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the batter (as in muffins).  Scones are a little different. We don’t need to toss these with flour, because we are adding them to flour.  Just stir them in and call it good.
Next, add your vanilla, egg, and sour cream.  Use a wooden spoon to gently mix the ingredients together. This is a very thick dough– almost like play-dough.  You will think, “I don’t have enough liquid!  This isn’t coming together!  I need to add milk! (sound of illegal milk being added to scone recipe) . . . don’t do it!!!  Keep mixing.  It won’t seem like it will come together, at first, but like most things . . . the more you work at it, the easier it gets.
If you absolutely CANNOT get a dough, go ahead and add another tbsp. of sour cream. But I’m serious.  This will become a very thick dough. Just keep working it.
I told you.  It eventually comes together.  It will be super stiff.  That’s OK.  That’s good.
Place your dough (you will probably need to scrape it off your spoon with a butter knife) onto a floured surface.  Flour your rolling pin and gently roll the dough into a flattened disc about 1.5″ tall.
Using a pizza cutter, cut your wedge into 8 pieces.  Continually dividing in halves is the easiest way to do this.  Place the wedges on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  They will seem to smile sweetly at you.  Don’t worry.  You’re not imagining it.  They recognize a baking genius when they see one.
Brush the tops of your scones with egg wash (1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp. water) and lightly press your sliced almonds into them.  Press down lightly to make sure the almonds are really stuck.  See?  I told you these were Cranberry ALMOND scones.  I told you we’d get to the almonds.
Bake these beauties at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown and the nuts are nice and toasty.  A toothpick inserted into a scone should come out clean.  Move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Or go ahead and have one, piping hot and fresh, with a cup of tea.  You can package these in cute little bags for nice “thanks for being such a great neighbor” gifts, or make the dough the night before and refrigerate, ready to pop into the oven the next morning for a delicious breakfast that will lure the sleepyheads from their beds with the smell of divine baking pastries.
However you choose to divvy them out . . . save at least one for yourself.
Because you did it.  And I’m so proud of you.

 


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