I love scones. I may or may not be still in a cranberry pistachio phase, which inspired this Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios recipe. (if you’re not convinced, see my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios & Cranberries). I usually bring scones as a hostess gift, as a “thank you” or just because. I made this today as a special thanks for someone, who has helped me do some medical soul searching over the years. For those of you wondering, scones are a traditional English baked good that are both lightly sweetened and served with tea. Making scones from scratch are not as difficult as one may believe. There’s three basic butter rules that must be followed to ensure you’ll have perfectly delicious scones:
- The butter must be chilled.
- The butter must be “cut in” the dry ingredients with a pastry blender (easiest — like one here), a fork or even two knives (I think this is the hardest way). A pastry blender gives you the most leverage, it’s efficient, and prevent the butter form melting.
- The butter must resemble pea-sized pieces once cut in.
“Cutting in” the butter ensures the fat will be evenly distributed amongst the dry ingredients. It almost creates pockets of butter throughout the dough. I lightened up the traditional recipes and replaced heavy cream with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cut the flour 50/50 with whole-wheat, and substituted egg whites for eggs. The orange zest adds in such an unique freshness, the fresh cranberries a tartness, and the pistachios a salty, yet nutty perfection. As breakfast or brunch, as a holiday treat or with a cup of coffee or tea, these Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios are sure to please.
Ingredients (makes about 24-26 drop scones or 16 wedges).
- 1 ¼ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 c sugar
- Orange zest from 1 orange
- 4 t vanilla extract
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cup flour
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 T baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 6 T chilled butter
- 1 c fresh whole cranberries, washed
- 1/2 c pistachios, shelled and chopped
- Decorative sugar for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a scone pan or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat like Silpat (found here).
- Whisk together 1 c of almond milk, sugar, orange zest, vanilla and eggs in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Mix or whisk flour, whole-wheat flour, baking power and salt together.
- Add in chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in chilled butter until the butter is the size of peas.
- Fold in cranberries and pistachios.
- Combine the wet ingredients into the large bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until all dry ingredients are gone and a very stick dough forms. If needed, add small increments of the additional 1/4 c of almond milk to ensure there’s enough liquid.
- Distribute dough drop-wise onto parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. If you have a scone pan (like one here), evenly distribute dough throughout each “wedge.” The dough does not need to be high or thick, just spread out.
- Lightly sprinkle with baking sugar for a frosted effect (optional).
- For drop-wise, bake scones for 10-12 min., or until solid and slightly golden. For wedges, bakes scones about 20 min., again until scones are solid and beginning to golden.
- Let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!