Having “company” really brings out my productive side. First off, it is a chance to treat someone to some delicious hospitality. I love seeing people’s faces in response to delicious hospitality. It is a massive delight to my heart. Secondly, it is a chance to treat me to some delicious hospitality. So I guess I am really getting the better end of the deal, two treats in one, but no matter.
The problem with any hospitable host (*ahem, Martha), is that he or she is often unable to partake in the general festivities because they are pulling souffles out of the oven, perfecting the flaming strawberries and wiping the unnoticeable dust off the sideboards. I strive not to be this person, kind of like I strive not to be the chick with the camera, so I try and do advance planning as much as possible. Enter, these scones. Extravagantly delectable, and perfectly easy to whip up. Freezer to table in 30 minutes, people. Does it get any better than this?
The answer, dear Reader, is no. Especially as there is chocolate involved, and my best friend ever coming for a visit.
Now, to business. Please be proud of me. I chose to forego the high fructose dried berries route in favor of fresh cranberries. This is an essentially good choice. Please make it. The combination of citrus and dark chocolate (never a bad thing) is further complexified by the cranberries.
And the beautiful part is that the fun parts are housed by the lightest scone dough ever. It was soft and crispy on the outside and not too dense on the inside, unlike some of those day-old scones you can find in coffee shops. These are best fresh.
I also whipped together a mock Devonshire cream, which is very similar to the trifle filling I used here. So much good. Not that these chock-full lovelies need anything more than a pat of butter.
Oh, and a cup of tea, obv. That’s easy too.
Meyer Lemon Fresh Cranberry Scones
Adapted from Gourmet, Inspired by smittenkitchen
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated tangerine zest (from about two tangerines)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces quality dark chocolate (or chips, whatever)
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped in half
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Zest two tangerines for all they’re worth. I found the scones were a little light on that flavor, which wasn’t an awful thing, but more zest might be great.
In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.
In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
On a well-floured surface, pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, re-patting the scraps to get more rounds out of it. Try not to handle the dough too much, though. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.
Let cool until almost completely cool, then serve scones warm with mock Devonshire cream (recipe follows). If you have any left over the next day, pop them in the micro for 7 seconds or so before serving. Makes around 12 scones.
Note: I froze half of this batch, and saved them for another weekend. After the scones are cut out, lay them out on a tray and stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the par-frozen scones to a freezer bag, and stick ’em in the freezer until you need ’em. And no need to defrost either! Just add a few minutes onto the baking time if you are making them straight from frozen, maybe five.
Mock Devonshire Cream, Scone Accompaniment
Adapted from Sweet Jeanette
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat on medium speed until combined, then beat on high until peaks form. Try to beat it until the peaks are just under the “stiff” label. Refrigerate until serving.