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Buttermilk Cranberry Scones Recipe

I’m sitting here on this beautiful Sunday morning eating the best scone I’ve ever made in my life.  Days like this are bittersweet.  On one hand, there’s almost nothing better than a lazy Sunday morning spent baking and lounging in my pajamas.  But what’s the fun in eating such a wonderful treat, when there’s no one to share it with?

So, as as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m heading out to deliver a few scones to my friend Caron who lives nearby.  And my sister, who is coming over this afternoon, will get the rest.  My husband will be home in a few days, but scones are always best eaten on the day they are made.  I’ll just have to make a new batch for him next Sunday!

Scones are simple to make, especially if you already know how to make biscuits from scratch.  The key is to keep the ingredients cold and work quickly.  Read completely through the recipe before starting and make sure you have all your ingredients and tools ready and nearby.  And make sure you start preheating the oven as soon as you start thinking about making these.

Buttermilk Cranberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped fine
finely grated zest from one small lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
heavy cream (optional, for brushing tops of scones)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.  Add butter chunks and toss lightly with flour; place bowl in fridge.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and lemon zest; place bowl in fridge.
4. Get organized:  measure out and chop the cranberries; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat; set aside. Lightly dust a counter top with flour.  Pour a little bit of heavy cream in a bowl and have a pastry brush handy.
5. Remove bowls of flour and buttermilk from fridge.  Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries and stir to combine.
6. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and stir until the mixture clumps together. Dump mixture out onto floured counter top and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice to combine everything.  Pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into 8 slices, like a pie, or cut with biscuit or cookie cutters into whatever shape you prefer.  Put scones on lined baking sheet and brush lightly with heavy cream (optional).
7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove to cooling rack.
8. Enjoy with someone you love!

Recipe notes: Since I make these only on rare occasions, I buy and use the best quality unsalted butter I can find.  Brushing the scones with heavy cream is optional, but will add a nice shine to the tops.  I think these scones are perfect the way they are, but if you want to get fancy, you can drizzle a lemon glaze over the top.  Lemon Glaze: Combine about 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and whisk to combine. Adjust sugar/juice amounts to get the consistency you prefer.  Drizzle glaze over cooled scones.

For those of you who have never made scones or biscuits from scratch before, you can read a more detailed account of the process, with photos, at How to Make the Best Buttermilk Biscuits from Scratch.  Although the recipe is not identical, the process is the same.  Scones are simply a lightly sweetened biscuit.

If you like this recipe, you might also like to try my Apricot Cream Scones.

For those of you just tuning in this month, I’m happy to say that I’m participating in the National Blog Posting Month challenge. For this year’s edition of NaBloPoMo, I’ve pledged to post a new recipe every single day for the month of November. If you don’t want to miss a recipe, sign up to receive my recipes by e-mail. You’ll only receive an e-mail when I write a new blog post, and your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. Interested? Sign up now!