Orange-Almond Scones, to brighten your day
Spring is on the calendar but it’s definitely not in the air; not where I live. But, I’ll tell you what is in the air: the smell of these Orange-Almond Scones. Though the calendar is telling me, “Keep it light, summer is coming!”, every part of me is saying “There’s snow on the ground. Throw on a big sweater and bake something.” I’m still craving these Cara Cara oranges that I’ve become addicted to this winter, which is odd because I was never a big citrus fan until this year. In typical fashion, now that they are coming to the end of their season, I’m buying them by the rare-to-find bag full. And then I get home and I’m like “What am I doing with 10 oranges?”
Last month I baked scones for the first time, psyched about the idea of cake for breakfast, then doubly pleased about how easy they were to make. The recipe used the food processor, which I love because it simplifies the process. I concocted this recipe using a few other recipes for reference, one difference here is the flour, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and almond flour. Another difference is that I used yogurt instead of sour cream or cream in these. (You could use all purpose flour and sour cream in this recipe if that’s what you have on hand.) I’ve been subbing yogurt in recipes lately since yogurt is higher in nutrients and lower in fat than sour cream which seems to be two very good reasons to me. (Also, I always have yogurt but rarely have sour cream when I want to bake on a whim) I’ve used both plain and vanilla Siggi’s Icelandic skyr or plain greek-style yogurt with success in sweet bread recipes, like banana bread.
As you have probably now guessed, I’ve also added oranges to these scones. If you bought too many oranges and now some aren’t super juicy anymore, baking with semi-dried-up oranges is ideal because there’s not too much liquid content to make the dough soggy. You could adapt this recipe to any fruit you have on hand. Lemon zest and blueberries would be delicious and will probably be next on my list. If you think zesting citrus fruit is an awful chore, like I used to, do yourself a favor and pick up a Microplane (pictured above with the oranges). They are inexpensive, barely take up any space in the drawer, and are so useful, I can hardly believe that I went so long without picking one up. I may have gotten mine at the grocery store, or you can order one online here.
There’s one more reason that I wanted to make these scones; my newly rekindled love for apple butter and these seemed like a good match. If you’re not PA Dutch, you may not know that apple butter has no actual butter in it. It is a sweet and tart, cinnamon spiced, silky smooth apple preserve that is homemade at various farms in this area. I am so lucky that one near my home sells it at their self-serve stand where I buy my eggs. When I was a kid it was my favorite thing for breakfast, on buttered white toast and even on scrapple! If you don’t live near “PA Dutch” country, you can order Apple Butter here. I forgot about it for a while, but now it’s back on my radar, and I found that it goes really well with oranges, yogurt and granola. And here, I have combined it with a smear of labneh, which is basically strained yogurt. If you don’t want to use apple butter at all, these are good on their own or dressed up with a drizzle of white chocolate. Whichever way you decide, they’re best on the first day so just eat them & share them.
And now, let’s make these scones:
- 1 1/2 cup flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free, or you can use all purpose), plus a little extra for shaping the dough
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest of one orange)
- 1/2 cup icelandic or greek style plain yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 1 orange, peel and pith removed and cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon milk for brushing tops
- 1/8 cup finely chopped almonds or almond slices
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix first 6 ingredients (through salt) in food processor until combined.
- Add butter, to processor and process until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
- Add orange zest and blend to combine.
- In a small bowl, mix together egg and yogurt. Add to processor and mix until dough forms.
- Mix in orange pieces by hand or pulse 2-3 times. Do not puree oranges into dough.
- Remove dough from processor to a well-floured board. Using more flour sprinkled on top, press dough into an 8" round form. Cut into 8 wedges with a sharp blade.
- Place wedge shaped scones on a parchment lined baking sheet, 1-2" apart. Brush tops with milk, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and almonds.
- Bake scones for 14-16 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
- Optional: To make white chocolate glaze, melt 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate (or chips) with 1 tsp. coconut oil in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water, stirring until smooth. Use a spoon to drip the chocolate glaze over the scones, cool completely before serving.