During my first year of graduate school, I couldn't afford airfare home for the holidays and ended up working at The Gap during the month of December to make ends meet. That was the year I got up at 4:30am to do markdowns, and during the walk to the El (what Chicagoans call their subway system), the watery eyes caused by piercing cold winds resulted in my eyelashes freezing shut. Also, the banana I'd put in my coat pocket had frozen solid in under ten minutes thanks to the subzero Chicago winter. If only I'd dipped it in chocolate before leaving the house.
During my second year of graduate school, I was able to afford a trip back to Utah to celebrate the holiday season with family. While there, I happened upon this scone recipe, which is one of the two things that folks who visit me (or whom I visit...a good guest bakes for his or her host) consistently request. Again. And again. And now it is yours:
Orange Cranberry Scones
2 3/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
12 T cold unsalted butter
1 c dried cranberries (or dried cherries, or chocolate, or both…just keep it 1 c)
1 T orange zest (if desired)
1 c heavy whipping cream
Demerara or other course sugar for sprinkling
Set oven to 375°F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold unsalted butter (I like to cut it into tiny cubes first), smashing it into the dry mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter until sort of mixed (you’re going to want to have some tiny bits of butter left in the mixture). Chop up dried cranberries (or dried cherries, or chocolate, or whatever) and toss in with orange zest (if desired). Mix with hands. Add cream and work it into the dry mixture. Pat into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 wedges. Lay wedges on parchment paper placed atop a baking sheet. Make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 T water and brush mixture over the top of the scones with a pastry brush (or your fingers…kids love doing that). Sprinkle with Demerara or another coarse sugar (kids also love helping with this part). Bake at 375°F for 26-28 minutes or until golden brown. Eat. Make another batch. Eat.