These scones are R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S-L-Y DELICIOUS. Were my caps on? You bet! They deserve a shout out. I adapted the recipe from Pam Anderson’s recipe published in US Weekend from 2006. Pam Anderson is an acclaimed chef, contributor and author of various cookbooks. She and her daughters have a blog Three Many Cooks.
Start by placing a stick of cold butter in the freezer 30 minutes before grating. In a medium size bowl, whisk to combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate smaller bowl, work the zest into the sugar with a fork until the sugar takes on the color orange and the zest coated in sugar. Add the sugar/orange zest mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine evenly. Set aside. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and sour cream.
Grate the butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Using two cold knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs or the size of peas. You can also use your fingertips to cut the butter into the flour, but make sure they are cold so they don’t warm the butter. It’s important the butter remains cold.
Technique Tip: If your hands warm up quickly, hold onto a few ice cubes before handling the butter. This will help keep the butter cold as you grate it and work it into the flour mixture.
Using a fork, gently stir in the egg and sour cream mixture until a clumpy and sticky dough forms. Using your (cold) hands, press the dough against the bowl a few times until it forms into a ball. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into an 8-inch round by 1-inch thick disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Technique Tip: By allowing the dough to chill and rest, the scones will rise beautifully when you bake them. Don’t rush this step. Be patient. You’ll be enjoying amazing scones in no time. In a pinch, freeze the dough for 20-30 minutes. Works great if you chill overnight as well.
Remove from the refrigerator and cut the dough into eight even pieces or use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds. Brush lightly with an egg wash and bake at 400°F for 8-9 minutes, turn the pan and bake for another 8-9 minutes or until the tops become golden brown.
Note: If using a biscuit cutter, dip in flour first before cutting the dough. Insert the cutter straight into the dough and pull out. Resist the urge to twist and pull out – that will only pinch the scones (or biscuits) and they won’t rise as much.
I made an Orange Butter Glaze and I’m glad I didn’t make a double batch. I think I would drink it, it’s that good. When the scones have slightly cooled, spread the Orange Butter Glaze over them. Plate them on a pretty English tea tray and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea.
Best Ever Orange Scones
These are the best scones I've ever eaten. They are ridiculously delicious – with or without the Orange Butter Glaze. Make sure you make a double batch.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- zest 1 large navel orange
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), unsalted and frozen
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- egg wash (1 egg and a little water, beaten)
Orange Butter Glaze
- 3 Tablespoons butter, unsalted & melted
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- zest of 1/2 an orange
Set oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place cold stick of butter in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Making the Scone
In a medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, work the zest into the sugar with a fork until well combined. Add the sugar/orange zest mix to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine evenly. Set aside. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and sour cream. Set aside.
Grate the frozen butter into the mixture. Using two knives (or cold fingertips) work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course meal. The butter should be the size of peas.
Gently stir in the sour cream mixture until just about combined. It's important you don't overwork the dough. Knead the dough by gently pressing the mixture against the bowl a few times, turning the bowl slightly with each press, until you form a ball. The dough will start very sticky but it will come together.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Shape and pat into an 8 inch circle by 1 inch thick. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Don't skip this step.
Remove from refrigerator and cut into eight pieces. Place on a parchment lined baking tray one inch apart and brush the tops with the egg wash mixture. Note: for a simple garnish, sprinkle coarse sugar and omit the Orange Butter Glaze.
Bake for 8-9 minutes, turn pan and bake another 8-9 minutes or until the tops are golden. Total baking time 15-18 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack. Make Orange Butter Glaze (if glazing them).
Orange Butter Glaze
Whisk together the melted butter, confectioner's sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle with a spoon over the scones or dip them in the glaze.