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Lemon Cranberry Scones

Cranberry Lemon Scones

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere (somehow) I developed a taste for tart foods. Traditionally, I'm a sweet and salty kind of gal, alternately loving the sweetness of a warm chocolate chip cookie and the crisp bite of a salty potato chip. These are the tastes I grew up with in the heart of the Midwest. Rarely a dinner table was without a half empty shaker of salt (the pepper stayed curiously optional), and the breakfast table looked scarce without a sugar bowl at the ready. Certainly sour and tart foods made an appearance, but they never stayed long enough to wash up at the sink and join me in the kitchen.

It is difficult to mess with tradition, but if you push against it hard enough, you can make space for new ones.

Cranberry Lemon Scones Cranberry Lemon Scones

Last winter, I had a quiet affair with grapefruits and sour Greek yogurt. This summer I simply couldn't get enough lemonade. My palate is evolving, expanding to embrace the sour and tart flavors I've neglected for so many years. While just two years ago, these Cranberry Lemon Scones would have been far out of my comfort zone, today they feel like a natural extension of my growing affection for new tastes. The marriage of lemons and cranberries makes for a sharp and charming flavor profile.

I like to imagine that my taste buds are finally growing up.

Cranberry Lemon Scones

The tartest of fruits reside in the winter months. In a way, I find it fitting. The berries have lost their allure, growing tarter with each passing day, and the bright flavors of fall have become subdued. It is time for the grapefruits, cranberries, and lemons to come out to play. The sharp taste of these fruits mimic the chill of the winter air, sweeping the taste buds like the rush of cool wind.

In the dead of winter, when the sweet fruits of long summer days are but a fading memory, the contrast of the tart fruits of winter remind us of the changing of the seasons.

Cranberry Lemon Scones

Lemon Cranberry Scones are delightfully tart. Scones are infused with lemon zest and riddled with cranberries. The dough is quite sweet, especially because the dough is sprinkled with sugar before baking. However, the bright, tart cranberries act as a strong contrast to the sweetness, rendering the scones both sweet and tart. A simple lemon glaze rounds the flavors together. Be warned, however. These scones are certainly not for everyone, but are wonderful for those with a tart palate.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Panna Cotta
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Brownies

Lemon Cranberry Scones

Yields 8 scones

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
Zest from 2 lemons (about 1-2 tablespoons)
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 115 grams) butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (115 grams) fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse sand (alternatively, if using a stand mixer, mix in butter with paddle attachment until butter is pea-sized or smaller). Stir in the cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy whipping cream, egg, and vanilla extract until well blended. Pour cream into scone mixture and mix until it comes together as a dough. A few of the cranberries may burst; this is okay.

On a lightly floured surface, place dough and form into a circle, flattening the top until dough is roughly an inch thick. With a knife dipped into flour, cut dough into 8 pie-shaped pieces and transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until scones are lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature before glazing.

Lemon Glaze (optional)
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra if needed

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until glaze is thick, but still runs.

Lightly drizzle glaze over scones and allow scones to sit for a few minutes for glaze to set before serving.

Reader Comments (24)

Oh, these look fantastic! I am seriously craving some scones now. :)
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentersara
What a fabulous flavor combination!
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura@Potpourri
I just put a batch of orange blossom and cranberry scones into the oven and went on here to see if you posted something new, and tada, scones! These look absolutely delicious, I must try very soon :)
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChau
These look delicious!

Your's is one of my fav food/baking blogs <3
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie
Already pinned and will be making for the Christmas holidays! Thanks for sharing :)
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
I think I'm starting to like tart flavors as well, but so far it's something I reserve for spring. Your photos are beautiful. I find it a little funny how all of your photos are so dark and raw, and once winter comes a long the sun decides to shine through and your pictures look bright, yet I can still feel winter. I hope I don't sound weird or insane or something :P
I think this is the perfect combination for a scone!
I love tart foods--I add lemon to almost everything!! So I definitely think these are right up my alley :)
These are gorgeous! Lemon and cranberry are such a great pair :)
These look go dood! I love the lemon-cranberry combo. Super holiday goodness!
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEileen
Oh man, crumbly scones, dripping glaze, tart cranberries and lemon. Pour me a coffee, and carry me to the magical hammock overlooking the ocean, please. I need to unwind.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
These are absolutely stunning! They remind me of a cranberry orange juice bread I make, and it has that same characteristic tart taste. The glaze on these is the ultimate sweet finale!
These are DELICIOUS! Great recipe - thanks :)
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCat K.
Bellissimi li farò subito ma con il cioccolato bianco perchè non ho mirtilli in casa!!!
Bellissimo il sito, un saluto dall'Italia
12.5.2012 | Unregistered Commentersandra
I find with citrus desserts, the more my mouth puckers, the happier I am. I like my lemon bars LEMONY, for instance. I've been craving scones lately - just might have to try these out!
I love freshly baked scones with a cup of joe in the morning. Add lemon and cranberry and it's the best morning ever!
Delicious! Made them for our house guest (B&B), lots of compliments. First day nice crush outside and soft inside. Next day
softer but still as amazing. Thank you!
12.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNina

I'm baking these as I type... But they seemed to still be doughy when I took them out at 25 mins... Not sure why but I left them in a bit longer and they were still under. So perplexed! So they're in again... Let's hope they'll finally be done soon. Any comments would be great if you could identify anything that may have possibly gone wrong.
02.3.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHolly
Holly-- There are a couple things that might be off. First, is your oven temperature running low? If it is, it could cause the scones to bake longer. Secondly, if your scones are quite thick, they may also take a little longer to bake. I'd only be concerned about the baking time if it ran 10+ minutes over the standard time. I don't think you did anything wrong, I just think they needed a little more time in the oven!
02.3.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Just came across your blog and love it - these are the best - I'm hoping they will last until my coffee morning tomorrow - they just melt in your mouth. I've always been afraid of making scones but this came out perfectly. Thank you thank you from Azerbaijan.
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCristina
These scones are incredible-- I have made them so many times with total success, and I can't even tell you how many people I have directed to this recipe! Any thoughts on how to keep them crumbly on the outside and moist on the inside after day 1? I have tried parchment paper and foil at room temperature, and they end up being soft throughout by the next day. Thank you!
10.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
Kirsten-- Place them on a baking sheet and heat up in the oven for a ~5 minutes at 350F. The outsides will crisp up once again.
10.10.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I just found your blog the other day and it's fantastic. I also had a special request for lemon cranberry scones. Do you think it would work with dried cranberries.
02.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTracy
Tracy-- It would work well! I'd decrease the dried cranberries to 1/2 to 3/4 cups.
02.4.2014 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau

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