Just in the nick of time is my December scone of the month. I have a good excuse for being so late - I've spent nearly every waking moment of the last few weeks in the kitchen, but just not making scones!
This scone is festive and "Christmassy" but not so much so that it can't be enjoyed any time of the year. The triple orange flavour comes from orange juice, grated fresh rind and candied orange peel, (which I used because I had it left over from my mini fruit mince tarts). The overall result is a soft, not-too-sweet scone with little bursts of cranberry and orange - a nice change from some of the heavy, spicy sweet treats on offer at this time of the year. The recipe uses pearl sugar to create a bit of nice, sweet crunch on top, but if you don't have pearl sugar, then you could use regular granulated sugar, coffee crystals or a crushed sugar cube.
I have also used a different "base" scone recipe this month, simply because I don't have any cream to hand and it's snowing outside, and I just can't face going out into the snow just for a bottle of cream. This recipe has butter instead, but gives a very similar texture and taste.
Triple Orange and Cranberry Scones:
* 3 cups plain (cake) flour
* 6 tsps baking powder
* 2 tbs white sugar
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 75g (2.6 oz) butter
* 1 cup milk
* 1 large orange
* 3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
* 1/4 cup candied (glace) orange peel (optional, if you don't like it)
* 1/4 cup pearl sugar and a little milk for the scone tops
Preheat oven to 220 degs c (430 f).
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
Grate the rind off the orange and place in a small jug. Juice the orange and place the juice in the same jug.
Roughly chop the cranberries and glace peel and add to the jug. Give it a stir. Set aside.
Cut in the butter in to the flour mix using your fingers (or a food processor) until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the fruit from the jug.
Pour over the milk and mix with your hands until you get a sticky dough.
Knead gently on a floured surface for a moment, then roll out to about 1 inch (2.5cm) thick.
Cut out star shapes, or whatever shape you like and place on a tray lined with baking (parchment) paper.
Brush tops with milk and sprinkle on the pearl sugar.
Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until slightly golden on top and cooked through.
Serve immediately with butter (to be honest, if they are still hot from the oven, you really don't even need it). Scones can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to a month and re-heated in a moderate oven.