Fresh cranberries are most often associated with sauce on Thanksgiving or sugared on top of a cake at Christmas, but these tart jewels are really quite good any time of year. Perfectly paired with lemon, these scones are a tart and sweet treat that celebrates this underdog of fruit on any occasion.
So if you find an extra bag of cranberries stashed away from the holiday season, give these lemon cranberry scones a try!
Making Lemon Cranberry Scones
These scones are made with fresh cranberries and lemon zest mixed into a basic scone dough. What comes out of the oven is a bright lemon-scented scone smattered with ruby cranberries. The scone is soft and moist with crisp edges and bursting berries. They are perfect for breakfast, a snack, or an afternoon tea.
Scones are surprisingly easy to make. They come together fairly quickly and only using two bowls, a wooden spoon, and whatever utensil you prefer for cutting in the butter. For some tips and tricks on making scones, you can check out this raisin scone recipe. Coconut mango scones are another favorite scone recipe that gets into the details of scone making.
The main trick when making scones is to keep the butter and dough cold. This helps keep the bits of butter solid once it’s been incorporated into the dough, which creates toasty little air pockets that make up a scone’s specific texture. It also prevents the scones from spreading too much in the oven.
For this recipe, I tried a new way of breaking up the butter; I used a stand grater to grate cold butter. It was the easiest and fastest way I have ever cut the butter into a dough, which I think we can all agree is the only tedious part of making scones.
I got the idea from Sally's Baking Addiction, who inspired this recipe with her orange cranberry scones. She recommends using frozen butter, but cold butter from the fridge worked just fine in a cool kitchen. The scones take a 15-minute rest in the fridge to chill anyway.
When making scones, you first want to mix the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter until pea-sized crumbs are formed.
Once the dry ingredients are mixed and the butter cut in, pour in the combined wet ingredients and mix just until the flour has been incorporated. Next, you want to gently mix in the cranberries. In order to keep the dough at it’s coldest and avoid too many burst cranberries, use fresh cranberries that have been frozen.
White chocolate would be a fantastic addition to this scone, and I regret not thinking of it sooner. If you love white chocolate as I do, toss in a half cup of chips with the cranberries. Then chill the scones in the fridge for 15 minutes for the best texture.
After about 25 minutes in the oven, you will have piping hot scones!
Make It an Afternoon Tea
If you fancy putting on an afternoon tea for those in your home, why not make cranberry a star?
Pair lemon cranberry scones with this fried goat cheese salad with bacon and balsamic glaze and add dried cranberries. Or, give this green tea bowtie salad a try. For the third course, sugar some cranberries and rosemary sprigs, and set them upon this cheery vanilla hibiscus cake.
For tea, you could serve Raspberry Revitalizer lemon mate, or a softer blend of lemon, vanilla, and elderflower found in our Royal Wedding blend. For an herbal blend, the lemon, rose, and elderflower blend of Evening in the Garden makes a lovely, caffeine-free pairing with these lemon cranberry scones.
These sweet and savory recipes with cranberries are sure to create a bright spot in your and your guests’ day.
Lemon Cranberry Scones
- 2 cups flour, plus more for hands and work surface
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup frozen cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- Coarse sugar to sprinkle
- Optional: 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
Start by mixing flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate, smaller bowl, zest one lemon (just the yellow skin, not the white pith) and mix into dry ingredients.
Next, grate the butter and cut into the dry ingredients until pea-sized crumbs form.
In the small bowl you used for the lemon zest, mix heavy cream, egg, and vanilla.
Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until everything is moistened.
Add frozen cranberries and white chocolate, if using.
The dough will be sticky but should be able to be formed into a ball. Add small amounts of heavy cream or flour if your dough is dry or too sticky until you get a dough that cooperates.
Press dough into a disk on a floured work surface using floured hands. Transfer to a plate and let the dough rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
After scones have rested, cut into eight triangles using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Brush on heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the edges.
Serve warm or let cool and store in an airtight container for up to four days. Scones are best eaten the day of.
Scones freeze well. You can also freeze uncooked scones and bake them right from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.