Blood oranges are in season right now, and I can’t resist the sweet, ruby-red fruit. It’s reminiscent of a large clementine (in flavor) or tangello – slightly less acidic than a normal orange with a sweeter edge to it. I assisted my food stylist friend Jackie last weekend and volunteered to make a nice breakfast pastry to bring in, so I figured some scones would fit the bill.
And oh me oh my, these are honestly the best scones I have ever had. They aren’t the dense, hard scones you find in your local chain coffee shop. Fragrant and light with the taste of blood oranges plus moist and airy from the use of buttermilk and plumped currants, they really are perfection. Be sure to use sparkling or raw sugar to get that good crunchy crust on top – it makes them extra extra divine.
Just a spoonful (or three) of sugar…
Ready to be baked.
Scones, my dear.
Blood Orange Scones
Based verrrry loosely on the recipe from C & H Sugar, but ADJUSTED FOR ALTITUDE
Ever since I started using homemade baking powder inspired by Edna Lewis, I have fallen in love with it. Everything tastes cleaner (not metallic at all) and it doesn’t require buying special non-aluminum baking powder. All you have to do is mix 2 to 1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda. Some people add cornstarch but I find it’s unnecessary. If you do use store-bought baking powder, use non-aluminum. Scones are delicate things with few ingredients, so you want them to taste as clean as possible.
Makes about 9 scones.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp homemade baking powder (read above)
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup dried currants (sub with dried cranberries or raisins if you can’t find currants)
- 1 blood orange, zested and juiced (half the juice set aside)
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- Sparkling sugar
1.) Preheat oven to 420° F with the oven rack set in the center of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2.) Put the currants in a small bowl and then pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Let sit (and plump up) for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3.) In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. Add the butter, and using either a pastry cutter or your hands, quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have pea-sized balls. Add the currants and toss to coat.
4.) In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, zest, about 3 tablespoons of the orange juice, vanilla, and egg. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just barely moist.
5.) Scoop 1/3-cup sized dollops at least 2 inches apart onto baking sheets (I fit 6 onto a baking sheet). Top with sprinkling sugar or raw sugar and bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with orange marmalade or clotted cream and tea.