My pantry is always stocked with dried fruits and nuts, and while I often reach for fresh fruits during the spring and summer, those dried fruits are a great standby so that I always have something on hand to bake with. These Cranberry and Walnut Scones are the result of a little pantry-raiding on my part, since I had a few bags and wanted to use them up. The scones are studded both with sweet-tart dried cranberries and buttery walnuts, which are a nice combination and one that I don’t see often enough.
I usually make my scones with buttermilk because I like the tangy, buttery flavor that it gives to them, but I made these scones using heavy cream. Heavy cream is higher in fat so it makes for a scone that is very tender, with an almost melt-in-your-mouth quality to the interior. The scones are also not too sweet, which not only allows the dried cranberries and nuts to pop out, but also allows you to taste the rich cream in every bite you take.
I cut my scones out with a round biscuit cutter that was about 4-inches in diameter. When you use a cutter, as opposed to making “drop” scones, your scones will tend to rise up straighter and more dramatically than if you simply dropped large balls of dough onto the baking sheet like cookie dough (although they will still be tasty with that shortcut). If you don’t have a round cutter, you can use a different shape, or simply cut the dough into triangles using a sharp knife once you’ve rolled it out. The scones should be a light golden brown when they are done, but the baking time may vary slightly depending on the size of each of your scones.
Cranberry Walnut Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the pieces of butter to the flour mixture and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture is coarse and sandy, with no pieces of butter bigger than a pea remaining.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, heavy cream and vanilla.
While stirring with a fork, gradually pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Stir in walnuts and dried cranberries until well distributed, and continue to very slowly add the cream until the dough forms a rough ball (you might not need all of the cream).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough is uniform. Roll or press dough out until it is about 1-inch thick and use a 3 1/2 or 4-inch round cutter to cut scones. Gather up remaining dough and repeat the process if necessary.
Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the scones are light golden on the top. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.