02 February 2011

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

What better way to start a weekend breakfast off than with fresh scones? I've always favored scones as a classy breakfast pastry that can be prepared in under an hour (great for when you feel lazy!).

What I look for in a scone is a stand-alone pastry that doesn't need butter and jam. This means they have to be sweeter than a biscuit -- really, do you want to be eating a scone and think, "Hey, these would go great with a bowl of chili!" No. So I tend to favor scones that are on the sweeter side. A glaze is optional as long as it enhances the scone without taking it from pleasantly sweet to tooth-aching.

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

A quick bread means all the dry ingredients are mixed together before the liquid is added. The butter is cut into the flour mixture, helping the scone develop its flaky texture. I grated the butter and placed it in the freezer as I prepped the remaining ingredients.

Since the original recipe called for cream and not buttermilk, I replaced a 1/2 teaspoon baking powder with baking soda to help with the acidity. Also, I didn't have buttermilk. Instead of souring milk with a tablespoon of vinegar, which I find has a thinner consistency than buttermilk, I used a yogurt-milk mixture. It's made up of a 2:1 ratio of yogurt to milk, so 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/4 cup whole milk. This makes an excellent substitute for buttermilk.

Edited to add: I've since been using a 1:1 ratio of yogurt to milk and find that it's not quite as thick as the 2:1 ratio but works just as well.

Use a light hand when mixing any type of quick bread, and especially biscuits and scones. Over-mixing over-develops the gluten and produces a tough pastry. Mix just until a dough comes together, then turn out on a lightly floured surface to pat down. I patted the dough into a rectangle instead of a circle and cut 12 scones instead of 8.

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

The glaze is just a mixture of confectioners' sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a pinch of salt. This didn't a thick icing, so if you want it thicker just add more sugar.

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

These scones baked up into a one of the best I've ever made. The texture was light, fluffy and flaky, and the outside had a nice crunch. The orange flavor came through wonderfully and was enhanced by the glaze. I liked the bright flavor. These would be perfect as miniature scones for a brunch or breakfast party.

The changes I made to the original recipe were to add the orange zest to the flour mixture. When mixed together, this helps the zest release oils, giving the scone more flavor. Since I opted to make 4 more scones than the original recipe, I had to pat the dough out a bit more, making the scones smaller in height than what they would have been. You could try patting out to 1 1/2 inches (a square, not a circle) and simply slice more than eight scones, but I didn't go for that. Otherwise, the height would have been incredible. Other than the glaze, I didn't differ much from the recipe except using buttermilk over cream.

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze

orange buttermilk scones with orange glaze
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.com

Yields 12 scones

ingredients -

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated and frozen
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup buttermilk, or 1/2 cup yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

glaze ingredients -

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

directions -
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in grated butter until mixture resembles wet sand.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture and mix just until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1/2 inch rectangle. Cut out 12 triangles and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the scones are a delectable golden brown.

  3. While the scones bake, prepare the glaze. Mix confectioners' sugar, orange juice, and salt together to form a glaze. If you prefer a thicker consistency, add 1/2 cup more sugar and 1/2 a tablespoon to a tablespoon of extra juice.

  4. Remove from oven and place baking sheet on a cooling rack. Let scones cool for 3 minutes before glazing. Put scones on cooling rack and place the rack on top of the baking sheet. This will help catch the glaze that drips down and minimizes a mess. Portion glaze out evenly amongst scones and spread with the back of a spoon. Serve with tea and enjoy.



  1. i love scones... i'll definitely be trying these!

  2. one of your best scones yet

  3. ooh we love scones in our house and orange is a flavor I've never tried!

  4. i must have these. but... i am feeling lazy...

  5. Gorgeous scones! They look so flaky and delicate. I think I would have gone with the buttermilk/soured milk instead of cream, too. I love the flavor of buttermilk. Excellent work!

  6. PajamaChef - Happy baking! Scones are the best.

    D - Thanks, Dad <3

    Natalie - Give it a try. It's a nice citrus change from lemon.

    MickiRuns - Get the pretzel maker to bake some up!

    Jean - I agree. I'm not sure exactly what the cream lends the scones except for a richer flavor. In that case, I think buttermilk usually tastes better. My favorite cake recipe uses buttermilk.

  7. i'm loving all things orange these days, so this sounds perfect!!

  8. I love scones. These look absolutely splendid and delightful!
    I'm bookmarking this post!

  9. Hi Christina, just found our blog through Foodieblogroll and thought the orange scones looked so good that I wanted to grab them off the screen.

  10. For a happy little surprise, try adding just a few mini chocolate chips. Different! 31 flavors used to have an orange-chocolate ice cream called Mandarin Chocolate ... reminds me of this.

  11. I love the chocolate-orange combination. I don't often think of putting it in breakfast baked goods, but it won't hurt me any to do it!

  12. I made these last weekend and they were SUBLIME! Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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