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Orange Cranberry Scones

We missed out on our white Christmas by *this* much.  We drove to West Virginia yesterday (Christmas Eve) to check on our lot near Romney.  The snow started just as we hit Winchester, Virginia, and by Romney it was sticking to the ground.  Our lot on the side of the mountain (at 1400 feet elevation) was lovely, and the promised view finally revealed itself.  Wow.  I can hardly wait to be spending the cold winter days looking out the prow front of our log home, staring at that view.

It's foggy, but the bare trees finally revealed the view the leaves were hiding.

It’s foggy, but the bare trees finally revealed the view the leaves were hiding.

On the way home we looked at lofted storage barns in Augusta, WV, and picked out one that’s very much in our budget, and even better, may be able to be delivered in January.  I didn’t think we’d be able to swing it for a year or more.  Seeing the land in snow, seeing the view, and knowing we’d have a “cabin” on the lot we can stay in during the cold weather has me all revved up about our 2-year plan.

The snow really came down heavy by the time we got some lunch at the new “Italian” restaurant in Romney.  Going over the mountain pass was tough for 2wd vehicles with low tread depth.  We encountered more than one vehicle that couldn’t make it or had slid off the road.   We endured long stretches of agonizingly slow going behind eejits who insisted on driving 15 mph–with the flashers on—(as if that excused them for being slow AND stupid.  I was very thankful for our 4WD Chevy Avalanche.

The snow stopped just this side (east) of Aldie, Virginia.  All we got was a little rain.  We woke to fog and mild temperatures.  We burned our gas fire for “atmosphere” until my hot flashes kicked in.  I’m dreaming of a menopausal Christmas?

Christmas breakfast was fresh, hot, fluffy and FABULOUS orange cranberry scones.  Bake these on Pampered Chef stoneware, especially if you’re lucky enough to have snagged one of the small pizza rounds before they discontinued them.

The Recipe

Orange Cranberry Scones

(This recipe is adapted from a recipe that appeared in 201 Muffins by Gregg R. Gillespie, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2001.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) chilled butter
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (1 large orange, zested)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half-n-half)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, tossed with 1 teaspoon granulated Stevia sweetener or Splenda
a little extra cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray or lightly oil a baking stone.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large  bowl.  ALWAYS use a larger bowl than you think you need and you won’t make such a mess in your kitchen.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender, until it looks like meal.

Mix the cream, egg and orange zest in a small bowl, then add to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl.  Mix together until the dough just holds together.  Turn it out onto your lightly floured marble slab (you DO have a marble slab, don’t you?  If you don’t, go to your local countertop dealer and ask for a remnant, and put rubber feet under it).  Knead the dough a few times–not too much, just to make a dough that hangs together.

Make a ball, then put it on the stone and pat into a circle about 1″ thick.  Score with a knife into 1/8 or 1/6 servings about 1/2 way through the dough.

Using the extra cream (you wondered what this was for, didn’t you?) and a paper towel, lightly pat the surface of the dough to moisten it.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the center of the scone is slightly firm and the surface is LIGHTLY browned.  My batch took 35 minutes, but YOUR OVEN WILL VARY.  Set your timer 5 minutes early and start checking every 5 minutes.

Serve warm with Fleischmann’s olive oil spread with sea salt and some nice apricot jam.

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