Cranberry and White Chocolate Scones

My go-to scone is normally lemon poppy seed, but, seeing as we are in my favorite month/season, I decided to change things up a bit. I’m not sure if cranberry and white chocolate is a classic holiday flavour combo because of the sweet-tart thing going on, or because it’s got Christmas colours… I’m thinking a little bit of both.

Scones and I have a nice relationship going. We’re not best friends, but we’re comfortable friends. We always go well together and have never had any upsets. Scones may not be my absolute favorite baked good, but they’re certainly a delight whenever they’re around.

Last year, I got dumped from the only long-term relationship I’d ever had (at the time). I knew it was coming and I wasn’t completely surprised, but I was still pretty upset. My dad is the one I go to with most of my problems because, unlike most guys, he has learned that he doesn’t have to fix every problem I present to him. So, anyways, he invited me over to his apartment the day after the breakup and suggested we make scones and have tea. Of course, I went and baked scones. My dad, his wife, and I sat down at the table, drinking tea, chatting about things other than my ex-boyfriend, and ate delicious lemon poppy seed scones. It made me feel loads better about myself and everything didn’t seem so bad.

Now, whenever I think of making scones, I think of the tea party we had and it makes me smile. Maybe you have a nice scone memory, or maybe you can make one when you make these! Scones are great because they’re very versatile. Just add bit of this and that to a basic scone recipe, and you’ve got a whole new scone.

For lemon poppy seed scones, add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds in place of the white chocolate and cranberries in this recipe. Other additions could be orange zest, chocolate chips, dried berries, pumpkin, or nuts. If you want to make savory scones, omit the sugar. Try cheese, spinach, sundried tomatoes, herbs, and/or bacon. Anything you want, you can pretty much add to a scone for any meal of the day.

The key to a great scone is cold ingredients, especially butter. A great trick I learned from one of my favorite food blogs, A Cozy Kitchen, is to grate the butter with a cheese grater. I don’t know why recipes don’t say to do that, it’s much easier than cutting it up into tiny pieces with your knife.

Another key thing is to be gentle with the dough. When mixing it together and kneading it, do so just enough for it to come together. If you knead it too much, it will be dense and doughy. 

Cranberry and White Chocolate Scones
Recipe adapted from Joy Of Baking

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries 

Milk to brush on top

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. I put my butter in the freezer for a few minutes after I grate it, just to make sure it's good and cold. Combine the butter and flour mixture, using your fingers to break apart any chunks of butter that stuck together. The butter pieces should be the size of small peas.

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk or cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until it just comes together. Add the white chocolate and cranberries and gently fold in. If you want to use less chocolate or cranberries than I do, feel free to. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it begins to hold together. Be careful not to overwork it. Shape into a circle about 7 inches in diameter. You can use a cookie cutter to cut circles, or if you prefer, you can use a knife and cut triangles or whatever shape you want. If you cut with a cookie cutter, gently push the excess dough together and cut more until you can do this no longer. The very last ones will be a little denser because of the extra handling, but I think it's better than wasting dough.

Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little bit of milk or cream.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the edges are golden brown. remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with Devonshire cream, jam, butter, or just on their own. Scones freeze well, so put them in a large ziploc bag when they are completely cooled and pop them in the freezer. To thaw, preheat your oven to about 150 degrees, and place your scones in for a couple minutes.