Scones can be hit or miss, often rock-hard and littered with nondescript bits of leathery fruit. Luckily, Peter Ireland, the chef and owner of Minneapolis, Minnesota's new The Lynn on Bryant, has taken scones under his wing. His scones are extra-flaky, thanks to a generous amount of butter and the tenderizing properties of buttermilk. What's more, Ireland quick-soaks dried cranberries in a warm sugar syrup before adding them to the dough. The soak softens their texture and heightens their sweetness, bumping these scones to the top of our breakfast wish list.
Recipe adapted from Peter Ireland, The Lynn on Bryant, Minneapolis, MN
Yield: 8 scones
Cook Time: 30 minutes
½ cup water
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
½ cup dried cranberries
Finely grated zest of ½ medium orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick plus 5 tablespoons (13 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the water and ½ cup of the sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl, add the cranberries. Pour the hot sugar-water mixture over the cranberries and soak for 10 minutes. Strain the cranberries through a fine-mesh sieve, saving the simple syrup for another use. Transfer the strained cranberries to a small bowl. Stir in the orange zest.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ½ cup of the sugar, the baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the salt, then use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture until there are no pieces larger than the size of a small pea. Pour in the buttermilk and use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until just incorporated and there are no more dry spots in the dough. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the scone dough out onto the work surface. Use your hands to gently mix in the plumped cranberries and form the dough into a 2-inch-thick disk. Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into 8 equal triangles.
3. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the scones with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Transfer the scones to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake until the scones are golden and cooked through, 22 to 25 minutes.
4. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and set aside to cool slightly before serving warm or at room temperature.
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