Fresh baked goods are always nice to have around during the holiday season, but the festivities often keep us too busy to bake anything too challenging, which is why I love scones. Scones are easy to make (which is why they fall into the "quick bread" category of baked goods) and are wonderfully delicious. They're perfect for breakfast, brunch, or just as something to nibble on during the day. I love these Cranberry Orange Scones from Lifeway Kefir, makers of my favorite yogurt-like drink (no, I was not paid for that endorsement). The kefir helps keep the scones (and any baked good for that matter) moist and adds a tasty, subtle tanginess to them. They're drizzled with a zesty-sweet orange and kefir glaze that makes them extra scrumptious! Before the glaze sets, garnish them with your favorite nut or seed (or both!), such as dried cranberries and toasted almond bits.
Cranberry Orange Kefir Scones
Courtesy of Lifeway Kefir
Makes 8 large or 16 small scones
¾ cup Lifeway Cranberry Crème Brulee Low Fat Kefir (or any flavor to your liking)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp orange zest
4 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter, grated/finely chopped
1/2 cup of dried cranberries (heaping)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
For the Orange Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp Lifeway Plain Low Fat Kefir
1/4 teaspoon of orange zest
Optional garnishes: Nuts, seeds, or dried berries
Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, add one tablespoon of ground flax meal and three tablespoons of warm water. Mix with a fork and set in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to chill.
In a large bowl, sift flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. In a separate bowl, add sugar and orange zest. Mix the sugar and zest with your fingers until well combined. Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture and stir well. With two knives, a fork, a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the chilled butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add in the cranberries and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the kefir and flax egg. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and the kefir mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough just comes together, being mindful not to over mix. The dough will be sticky.
With floured hands, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface (tip: dust wax or parchment paper with flour for easy clean up). Pat the dough into a round with a 1-inch thickness, spreading out from the center with the heel of your hand. If the dough is a bit shaggy you can knead it 3-4 times to further incorporate the ingredients.
Cut the dough into eight triangles and space the triangles out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze the scones for 30 minutes (the goal is to get/keep the butter as cold as possible). Alternately, you can roll the dough thinner into a rectangle and score into 16 triangles (see image below). Adjust baking time accordingly.
Once the oven is preheated and the scones are finished chilling, place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until firm to the touch and cooked through. Allow to completely cool.
While the scones are cooling, prepare the orange glaze. In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar until there are no lumps. Slowly add the orange juice, kefir, and zest, careful to remove any lumps. Once the scones are completely cool, pour or brush the glaze onto the scones.