Cranberry Orange Walnut Scones

In the aftermath of Thanksgiving, we are all faced with a burning question: what am I going to do with all these leftovers? Thankfully, since it was just Eric and I this year, we did not have the equivalent of two refrigerators full of perishable food (er, that might have happened in the past…) The main thing I had left over was a big bag of cranberries, and I have been thinking up all kinds of ways to use them! I actually made these scones last week with dried cranberries, but fresh cranberries would be a lovely addition, and I’ll probably make another batch using the fresh ones before the week is over!

These are really easy to put together, and they bake in no time. Considering that baking something for breakfast is often the last thing I do before I go to bed, that is always a welcome treat. 🙂

I put lots of zest and orange juice in these scones, and I added walnuts to the traditional pairing of cranberry and orange because I like things to be crunchy. Texture is key! These scones have the most lovely subtle sweetness and are perfect for when you don’t want a mouthful of sugar for breakfast (although, of course, sometimes I do!) If you’d like them to be sweeter, you can always increase the sugar a bit.

And thus continues the Great Scone Explosion of 2011! I almost think I should put in a Scones header, or at least count how many kinds of scones I’ve made this year and give myself some kind of makeshift prize. More scones, probably. 🙂

Cranberry Orange Walnut Scones
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more if necessary
Granulated sugar crystals for sprinkling on top

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper (or use a Silpat). In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.
-With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts. (This can also be done in a stand mixer; just be careful not to overmix).
-Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add buttermilk and orange juice, and stir in until just combined; do not overmix. Use a little more buttermilk if dough is too dry to work with.
-Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; shape into an 8-inch round. Transfer to baking sheet. Cut circle into 8 wedges; space them 1/2 inch apart (to prevent sticking, dust knife with flour). Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar crystals (this gives them a nice crunchy top). Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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