I searched high and low for a good scone recipe and the selection available is unimpressive...at least in the U.S. Recipes in many American cookbooks tend to produce scones that are too hard, dry, crumbly, and heavy. Last time I tasted a scone in the U.K., it was light, with a soft texture on the inside, buttery, and slightly sweet. To add a decadent touch, add some clotted cream and jam, and have tea with cream.
Some people have made the point to me that you can have the best scones in the world but if you are having them anywhere but the U.K., forget it, because part of what makes them so good is context. They have a point. However, I think this scone, which I adapted from the Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking, is just slightly sweet, light, with a creamy texture. You be the judge.
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour (plain, unbleached)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
3/4 cup heavy cream
For the topping:
1 tablespoon turbinando sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest and beat on low for a few seconds to mix. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed just until the mixture forms large coarse crumbs the size of small peas. Scatter the dried cranberries over the dough. Pour in the cream and mix for a few seconds just until moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together gently until it clings together in a ball. Pat out the dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the circle into six wedges or use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut into rounds. Place the wedges 1 inch apart on the prepared pan.
To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the wedges with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.
Bake until golden brown, 13-17 minutes. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit more. Serve warm or at room temperature. These can be stored in a large zip lock bag or container for 2-4 days.