My husband really loves scones. If left to his own devices in a Peet's or Starbuck's, he comes out with an enormous coffee and an equally enormous scone -- usually one with some sort of sugary glaze on top. Too sweet for me. I like the scones I fell in love with during my college semester in the U.K. A biscuity scone with just a touch of sweetness and absolutely no PopTarts-style frosting on top. Those are the scones that make me want to sit down, immediately, with a cup of tea and the crossword puzzle.
So when I came across Molly Wizenberg's scone recipe this summer, I was determined to make the scones that I craved. Of course, I am a mom of two little children, so I don't actually get to sit down for a "cuppa" (as my Scottish grandma says) and a puzzle. Which explains why it is late November and I am just now getting around to trying that scone recipe that I've had my eye on since mid-summer. C'est la vie.
There is a silver lining to my lack of free time, however. Had I tried this recipe any earlier, I would not have had an overabundance of leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce on hand. And so I would not have made this particular, amazing version of these scones. And, man, these babies were worth the wait! They are nicely crumbly and the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
If you don't have cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving, don't fret. Just take the basic scone recipe and add fillings of your choice. See the link to Molly's recipe, linked above, for lots of ideas. Or just think about the best scones you've had in your life . . . were they lemon? berry? almond? maple? raisin? ginger? I've got some ground hazelnuts leftover from a pumpkin pie, so I might experiment with those, next! One note: Because my cranberry sauce is very sweet and very cinnamon-y, I did not otherwise flavor the dough. So if you are not using cranberry sauce, you will likely need to add about 3 TBSP of sugar (based on Molly's recipe) and a bit of the spice of your choice. (If you don't have cranberry sauce, I bet you could just use some frozen cranberries and add 1/4 c of sugar, cinnamon, and maybe a bit of orange zest.)
I ended up making three batches of these today and then followed the suggestion in Molly's book to freeze them for holiday gifts. In a world of Christmas chocolates and cookies, I think my daughter's teachers will appreciate a box of scones.
Source: adapted from A Homemade Life, Molly Wizenberg
Makes: 8 scones
Time: about 10 mins. of prep and 12 mins. of cooking time
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBSP cold, unsalted butter, cut into 8 dice
1/2 c half-and-half, plus more for glazing
1/2 c cranberry sauce
Preheat the oven to 425.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing, rubbing, pinching with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are no butter lumps bigger than a pea.