Cranberry Cornmeal Scones
A lifetime ago I worked at a coffee shop in sunny Burbank, California. It was a tiny, one-barista-type coffee shop where the morning coffee maker decided on the brew, decided on the signage, set the baked goods out in the morning, and knew just about every person that came in the door.
It was my sweet spot. I can still remember Rick and Karen’s order, Ian and Nancy’s order, how the thrift store lady from next door would casually show up at closing time looking for leftover croissants.
What I also remember were these Red Raspberry Cornmeal Scones we’d order from a local bakery. They were coarsely textured, golden yellow, with a sweet jam center. Sidenote: I would always set one aside for myself and I’m fuzzy on whether or not I actually payed for one ever. Apologies.
These scones were inspired by this lifetime ago. Took me long enough + a can of cranberry sauce.
In other festive holiday scone news: Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Brown Butter Glaze
Like biscuits and pie crust, scones require cold butter. It helps with lift and texture… and we all want our scones a little lifted and textured.
Instead of cubing my butter (you know the old dice and slice), lately I’ve been grating my butter on a box. The result is fine, cold butter shreds and clean hands. Satisfaction.
To the cold butter confetti, I added a cup of cornmeal.
I used, regular ol’, mostly fine ground cornmeal. If you want to get into fancy coarse polenta territory, be my guest, you’ll just have a more moist and more coarsely textured scone… ya dig?
All-purpose flour, 2 cups to the big bowl of cornmeal and butter.
Granulated sugar. I used three tablespoons but you sure could use four if you’re feeling the spirit.
Baking powder and salt.
This is how we bake.
Fluff and stir.
Fluff and stir.
A cup of cold buttermilk and a wooden spoon to bring it all together.
The dough will be thick, but still moist and just a touch sticky.
I like to think that good bakers have one dirty hand and one relatively clean hand.
Who knows if I’m right. Maybe I’m just justifying my one dirty hand- it’s a hard worker though.
The dough is rolled to a 3/4-inch thickness… a rough rectangle shape… then folded into thirds.
Turn the dough a quarter turn (and if that confuses you, you’re not alone, just spin the dough around on the counter until it feels sorta right) then roll again. Fold again. Roll again and fold again.
No more folding. We’ve done our duty.
Roll into an 8-inch rectangle and slice into 8 squares.
On a parchment lined baking sheet for some quality oven time.
But first a small indentation in each scone. Not down to the pan, just a spot in the scone to hold cranberry sauce.
Cranberry sauce. Maybe it’s canned. Maybe it’s leftover from Thanksgiving.
Nothing too fussy, use whatcha got, even if that means your favorite jam.
While the scones bake, orange juice and vanilla extract are added to powdered sugar to make a thick glaze.
Into a ziplock bag and striped over juuuust warm scones.
And a smidge of unbaked cranberry sauce on top!
Festive and easy and cozy enough for a holiday weekend breakfast. Plus we used up some leftovers!
Follow this with a leftover turkey sandwich for lunch and yes… everything is just about right.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, grated on a box grater
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 3/4 cup canned or homemade cranberry sauce
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, plus more if necessary
- dash of vanilla extract
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, grate cold butter (using the coarse side of the box grater) into the bowl. Add flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Toss to combine.
- Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and add the buttermilk. Use a wooden spoon to toss the wet ingredient with the dry, creating a thick but moist dough.
- Transfer dough to a well floured work surface. Roll to a 3/4-inch thickness and fold the dough in thirds. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and again roll the dough to a 3/4-inch thickness, fold the dough in thirds, and repeat one more time. Three rolls and folds.
- Roll the dough one final time into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thickness. Trim the edges if necessary and cut 8 scone squares.
- Place on prepared baking sheet and use your finger to press and indentation into the center of each scone. You won't press through to the sheet pan, just create an indentation.
- Spoon cranberry sauce into each indentation keeping the sauce flush with the edges of the scone, not really heaping.
- If you'd like, brush the top of each scone lightly with a beaten egg. This will help the scones brown a bit more. Not totally necessary. I forgot this step.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
- While the scones bake, make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla extract. The glaze should be thick but still pourable. Add a dash more orange juice until you get the right consistency. Spoon the glaze into a ziplock bag and set aside.
- Glaze the scones once they're mostly cooled by snipping a tiny corner off the ziplock bag and drizzling in stripes. Add a bit more fresh cranberry sauce atop the finished scones and enjoy!