If there’s a better morning duo than coffee and a scone, I’m yet to find it. A warm, creamy beverage pairs perfectly with the crumbly, sweet goodness of a scone. These cranberry orange scones are fluffy, just dry enough, and pair well with slow mornings.
Typically, what makes scones so good is the load of butter that goes into them. And sugar. And flour. While all wonderful and delicious ingredients, they can also mean lots of fat, calories, and carbs. So I got to work. I tested a bunch of variations and finally landed on a perfect scone. The texture, flavor, and sweetness level are on point!
Lightening up cranberry orange scones
First things first, I sought to reduce the sugar and butter amounts drastically, without sacrificing taste or texture. I found that just 2 tbsp of butter is needed to make these crumbly and delicious (as opposed to traditional scones which require a full stick). For sugar, 3 tbsp does the trick. The scones themselves are lightly sweet, but the glaze gives it more sweetness. Lastly, mix-ins are key. By using no-sugar-added cranberries and fresh orange zest, you impart lots of flavor without adding lots of calories or points.
The trick to perfect scones
If you only read one thing, let it be this: USE COLD BUTTER. By cold I mean literally frozen. Yes, it will be annoying to cut it into little cubes, but its not as annoying as lame scones, trust me. The other real key is going to be to minimize how much you work your dough. You really just want to mix things until incorporated – not fully smooth. By overworking the dough you risk melting the butter (and melted butter=lame scones).
My trick for keeping things chillin’ (literally) is to chill the formed scones. Once your scones have been cut, put them on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or silicone baking mats work great) and put the whole sheet in the fridge. This will cool the scones and the butter pre-bake and ensure they have a great texture.
Dressing up the scones
These scones are packed with dried cranberries and orange zest. The end result is tart, sweet, and fruity. They’re then topped with an orange glaze which punches up the tartness and sweetness as well. However, you can totally switch up the mix-ins to change the flavor profile of these scones.
Fresh blueberries or chopped raspberries would be a great zero point addition. You could also try other dried fruits, such as cherries (and swap orange for lemon). Or, if you’re looking to go decadent – load these up with chocolate chips and sprinkles. Yum!
Lighter Cranberry Orange Scones
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Sheet
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp butter cold and cubed
- Zest of one orange
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup cranberries dried or fresh
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 5 tbsp nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp milk
- 1/2 cup Powdered sugar
- 1 tsp orange juice
- In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and orange zest.
- Cut cold butter (refrigerated or frozen) into small cubes and add in to flour mixture. Use your hands to make a crumble texture. Be careful not to over-mix and melt the butter!
- Stir in cranberries and sugar and gently combine with a spoon.
- Whisk egg and pour into crumble mixture. Mix the dough with a spoon before adding in yogurt 1 tbsp at a time. Dough should start to stick together and get sticky. Add vanilla and milk.
- Lightly flour a cutting board and turn your dough into it. Shape it into a circular disk roughly 8-9 inches across, 1 inch thick.
- Cut into 8 equal triangles and place on a lined baking sheet.
- Put baking sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will ensure your butter is nice and cold when it goes in the oven.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Brush tops of scones with milk. You can sprinkle some coarse sugar if you plan to skip the glaze.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until tops are just golden brown.
- Cool on wire rack. Once cool, combine orange juice with powdered sugar to create glaze and pour it over the scones. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!