These cranberry orange buttermilk scones are fluffy and moist with a pronounced, entirely natural orange flavour. Our 4-H Food Project had a great time baking these for our Achievement Day and serving them to guests this past spring. Make sure you use real butter and not margarine in this recipe!
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside. Use a micro plane or grater to remove the rind from the oranges and stir it into the dry ingredients. Extract the juice from the oranges and set it aside.
Cut the butter into small cubes and add them to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter to chop the butter up into small pea-sized bits that are evenly distributed through the flour mix. These expand quickly during baking, giving the scones their lightness and fluffiness. Stir the cranberries into the mix at this point.
You can now add the buttermilk and orange juice. Stir together until all of the loose flour is mixed into the batter. Turn the batter out onto a floured surface and knead it, folding it into itself no more than four times, just enough to give the final product a touch of firmness. Shape it into a circle approximately one inch high and cut it into 12 pieces.
Place the pieces onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you have to use more than one cookie sheet, be sure to rotate the sheets in the oven at the 10 minute mark so that they cook evenly. Be sure to check the bottom of a scone at the 10 minute mark as well to make sure the bottoms aren't burning. I find that bottoms of scones and biscuits are prone to burning easily, so I like to use silicone mats on my cookie trays and then cover them with parchment paper. The silicone provides enough insulation from the metal cooking sheet that I never have to worry about the bottoms browning excessively. The silicone guarantees that the bottom and top of the scones cook at the same rate.
When the scones are done, remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack for five minutes before serving. Enjoy!