Cranberry-Orange Scones

When December sunsets produced a gloriously striated sky of pink and lavender and salmon, Grandma Annie always said that Santa Claus was making christmas cookies.

We believed that charming myth: It made the already dazzling winter sunsets all the more spectacular and fired our imaginations. What wonders — edible and otherwise — would we encounter come Christmas?

It doesn't matter that Grandma's story was just that, a story to amuse children. It was enchanting!

It was cold and gray today and there was no sun to set. I made scones to ward off the cold draft that rolls under the kitchen door. The rear wing of our old Victorian house on a hill has three doors, and ample opportunities for the cold to slip through, no matter how hard I try to keep it out.

A baking project helps greatly, and scones can be made with ingredients that won't necessarily send fat to the hips, cholesterol to the arteries and blood sugar soaring to new heights.

Low-Fat Cranberry-Orange Scones

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 4 tablespoons fructose
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 5 tablespoons chilled Smart Balance, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 tablespoons light half and half
  • 1 large egg (or two egg whites), beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest or 1/2 teaspoon orange oil

Preheat oven to 400. Sift dry ingredients in large bowl; cut in Smart Balance (or other low-fat butter substitute). Rub together until dough is grainy. Add cranberries (today, when I saw I did not have enough dry cranberries, I chopped some fresh and added another teaspoon of fructose).

In a separate bowl, blend the half and half, the egg or egg whites and the orange zest. Add this to the dry mix and stir until the dough is blended. Knead lightly while in the bowl.

I use an eight-section scone pan. But you can also make small rounds or wedges and bake them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until tops of scones are golden.

The scones are best eaten hot with orange marmalade. They are not as dense and dry as other scones.

Scones, of course, are not French. But the French take great pride in the success of their baked goods (and why not?) and scones are easy to make and make well.

It really doesn't matter what you bake or make on a dreary December day. But puttering around the kitchen helps drive the cold away, if only in your mind.

Postscript: Oh zut! WhenI was formulating this post in my mind, I was going to provide a link to My Kitchen in Half Cups, because Tanna was the one who inspired me to bake with cranberries, instead of freeze them. These scones would be great with Tanna's cranberry curd, too.


Tanna said…
Myth or story to light up children's's beautiful and good.
Cranberries seem to haven taken the world over. I think some orange curd would be excellent with these cranberry orange scones.
They are beautiful Mimi.
Mimi said…
Oh drat! I forgot to mention that you inspired me, Tanna! I will have to amend my post!
Anonymous said…
Those scones are gorgeous! It's been ages since I made a good scone.

Hope you're staying warm today!
Mimi said…
These scones held up pretty well overnight — the sliced neatly and were not too crumbly.

Lu said…
Wonderful looking scones! (On a side note, I just read that you asked David L for ideas from Susan Loomis. Guess what I found at Homegoods today? Her Cooking on Rue Tatin book.....) Gotta read now. Glad I found your site this week through David.
Mimi said…
Lu, that book is a treasure! It was a gift from my boss last Christmas — she had no idea that I had read SJL's firs tbook, but thought I would like the recipes.

She was right, but I have not tried any yet. I am experiencing pangs of guilt....

Let me know which ones you recommend. I hope to have more time over the holidays and winter break.
Fiona said…
Lovely scones Mimi, especially hot out of the oven with a little butter :)
Mimi said…
Thanks, Fiona. Too bad we cannot do a scone exchange. But they would never hold up!
christine said…
Beautiful scones Mimi!
Eileen said…
Another delicious looking recipe Mimi. And I appreciate the lowfat ingredients. I love the combination of orange and cranberries too. I'm happy to hear that they are not too crumbly, I've had that problem with scones that I've made before.
Mimi said…
Eileen, you will be happy to know I intend to make biscotti one of these days! Maybe if they turn out, you will see them here.
Fiona said…
I enjoyed American biscotti when I was over there recently, you don't see it too much in New Zealand.

I'm sure your biscotti will turn out perfectly Mimi !
Marieke said…
Hi Mimi,

Always looking out for new scones recipes, bake them a lot for weekend breakfasts. I have made cookies and cakes and muffins with cranberries, but never before scones. Will try that too now. Thanks
for the inspiration.
Good idea from Tanna too to make orange curd. Last year I tried some passion fruit curd which was nice but more of a summery item I guess.

Marieke says hi from Holland
Mimi said…
Hi Marieke (what a lovely name!):

Thank you for visiting! Passion fruit curd sounds wonderful — why not eat summery things all year round?

If I could make tons of money blogging, I'd be in the kitchen all the time, trying all sorts of fruit things.

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