Sunday, November 18

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

I can't decide what I'm looking forward to most this Thanksgiving.  I'll thoroughly enjoy the long Thanksgiving break my kids get from school.  Sleeping in and spending time playing superheroes or dressing like princesses will be such a welcome change.  I'm looking forward to my parent's visit, and I can't wait to share the kitchen with my mom again.  We cook so well together!  Family time over a leisurely dinner with those long awaited Thanksgiving Day favourites - green bean casserole, cranberry chutney, warm pumpkin rolls - to be enjoyed only once a year.  That's a big one.  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving . . . what can I say?   But perhaps the tradition I treasure most is snuggling with my kids on the couch, wrapped in their well-loved blankets, the smell of morning and fresh coffee wafting from the kitchen, while we watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Seeing their little faces light up as their favourite characters float magically down 6th Avenue;  their eyes sparkle with the growing anticipation of who's coming next (will it be Snoopy?  Maybe Buzz Lightyear?); the peak and joyous crescendo of excitement when Santa and his elves finally round the corner and we know, for sure, that the holiday season is upon us.

I love to have something very special for breakfast that morning, something to eat while watching the excitement.  And since my steadfast rule is always no eating in front of the TV, having breakfast, just this once, while watching the parade starts the day off that much sweeter.

I've been testing scone recipes lately because I love their rustic ease and simplicity.  It's one of the few things I can throw together in the morning while still groggy and bleary-eyed.  This one stood out as the quintessential Thanksgiving Day Breakfast Scone.  With a hint of orange in the batter, and smooth pockets of white chocolate, these scones are the perfect, festive accoutrement, whether you're having overnight guests, starting early on your Christmas decorating, or simply snuggling with your little ones while watching the parade.


White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk (depending on the humidity in your home, start with 1/4 and add more if needed)
1/2 tsp pure orange extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup nut-free white chocolate chips (I use Vermont Nut Free baking chips)
1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar (or other coarse grain sugar)

Preheat your oven to 375 F (190 C).  Line two baking sheets with parchment. 

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour.  Working quickly with a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is coarse and blended, and the butter is incorporated.

In a small bowl whisk 1 egg, milk, and the orange extract. 

Toss the cranberries and white chocolate chips in the flour mixture, then stir in the milk until just blended.  If the dough seems too dry, add a tablespoon of additional milk.

Place the dough on a well floured surface and with floured hands press it into a 10 inch round.  Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  These will rise quiet a bit, so I use two baking sheets for 8 scones.  Whisk the other egg with 1 Tbsp of water and brush on top of the scones.   Sprinkle a little turbinado sugar over each scone.

Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are brown and the scones are firm.

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