Saturday, February 26, 2011

Orange vanilla scones.

I don't know if it's their resemblance to biscuits, their versatility, or because one line of my ancestry is from the British Isles, but I really love scones.
And today, because I totally reorganized my kitchen yesterday, I felt like a treat. This recipe for Orange Cream Scones originated in Tea Time magazine. The addition of actual fruit and the taste of vanilla was my idea. Obviously, these little guys came from a can and were left over from a salad, but when I have a Tangelo or navel orange in the fridge, it's pretty awesome to use the fresh segments, zest and juice. To this, you could also add chocolate chips and, I'm guessing, be pretty satisfied.

Speaking of satisfied, something else orange, as well:
On a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I found powdered vanilla bean at The Spice and Tea Exchange and will likely be putting it in everything from now on, so be warned. My research says it's nice to use when you don't want to add liquid to a recipe and that it retains flavor, which is sometimes evaporated out of vanilla extract in baking. The recommended conversion is to use half as much powder as extract.

Recipe for Orange Cream Scones

2-1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. plus 2 T. sugar, divided
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 C. butter, cut into pieces
1 T. orange zest
1/2 C. mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 t. vanilla powder
2/3 to 3/4 C. heavy cream
2 T. orange juice

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment. In large bowl combine dry ingredients including vanilla and orange zest. In a measuring cup, I first add the orange juice, then enough cream to make 3/4 of a cup. You may need less, depending on how juicy the oranges are. Let this wait while you cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture.
Sometimes a pastry blender works best to break up the initial chunks, and then just rub the butter bits between your thumb and other fingers until all is crumbly. Add the cream mixture to the dry mix and stir gently with a fork just until incorporated, adding the orange pieces last.

This is another time that I heavily flour my cutting surface. Because of the oranges, this recipe tends towards moisture and you'll probably want to knead just a little to be able to shape and cut the dough. Make whatever shape you like. Today, I made big wedges.
Sometimes I use a round biscuit cutter (or just a glass) or one with scalloped edges to be fancy, or cut into squares with a knife. If you're expecting Camilla and Charles for tea, you may want to read some other blogs. These orange-y, flaky scones are for you and people you love, because they taste good. Place them on the baking sheet and brush tops with the extra cream and sprinkle with sugar before placing in oven.
The original recipe instructs to bake for 18 to 20 minutes; perhaps because of the added fruit, mine took more like 25 minutes. Just keep an eye on them. When lightly browned, remove from oven.
Hopefully, you've got the coffee made.

I like mine with the Sunday paper, or outside, if the sun is shining.


  1. I've never seen an orange wearing a mandarin robe in the produce section. If you use canned mandarins, can you do without the zest? (please don't laugh; rookie here) Would orange extract come into play?

    And, we must be twins separated at birth, evidenced by your appreciation of the orange chocolate combo.

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  3. Good question! I'm currently out of orange extract and do tend to use it when I have it. In this case, the dried zest that I now keep on hand sufficed. But, if I had neither, I'd still go for it because scones are nice when they're subtle and you can top them with something more flavorful.

    I was really cleaning out the fridge this weekend, trying to use up those canned babies, and, as you apparently saw in my last tweet, I managed to finish them by cooking down into orange jam and putting that on some leftover brioche with Nutella.

    As an orange-chocolate fan, I was so happy to have ingredients on hand for a reasonable imitation of the wonderful Dorie Greenspan's tartine. *sigh*

    Can't wait to hear what YOU do with orange and chocolate. Mandarin robed or otherwise! :)

  4. I have often wondered if canned oranges work as well as fresh in baked goods. It's nice to see a recipe such as this one. I don't usually bake with fresh Satusumas (I use more of the Navel type), but I can imagine their flavor would lend a great twist on the normal orange.

  5. These scones look so delicious - I haven't made scones in a long time. And what a pretty kitty you have!!

  6. Leo says meow/thanks!
    For convenience, we used canned oranges at the bakery - they're delightful in butter cake, BTW, with their friend, the chocolate chip.

  7. ooh, i need a good scone in my life! this looks awesome :)

  8. What a gorgeous flavor! Those scones are beautiful and must taste divine.

    Your cat is a real beauty too!



  9. What do you guys think about an orange glaze for the ones I'm going to dig out of the freezer in a few weeks?
    Leo says hey! He's waiting for "Castle" to come on.