Can you imagine winter without citrus? I can’t. Just the smell of an orange being peeled immediately transports me to my childhood Christmases. My love of winter citrus is firmly planted in my psyche undoubtedly because Santa always left oranges in our stockings, (thanks, Santa!). I think this used to be a bigger tradition than it is now, although I did have a chat with a super-friendly produce lady at Wegmans one day who said she also used to get oranges in her stocking. So maybe it wasn’t just my family? Anyway, I walked away from that conversation with a big box of satsuma oranges, still with their pretty green leaves attached. I’m a sucker for those seasonal beauties! And for Cara Cara’s, which are the star of this recipe for Cara Cara Orange Scones.
When you live in the Northeast, there’s really no such thing as fresh fruit in the winter months. Sure, you can find fruit at the store, but do you really want to eat those crunchy strawberries? No. You don’t. Lucky for all of us, there is always a nice selection of various citrus fruits and Cara Cara’s are one of my favorites. With the prettiest, peach-hued flesh, they are so sweet with just enough tartness and always juicy. I really wanted to showcase their loveliness in a recipe and since I’ve been on a bit of a scone bender lately, these Cara Cara Orange Scones were happily born.
I used a basic cream scone recipe which I modified just slightly by adding zest and juice to amp up the orange flavor. I added some cream cheese to my basic scone glaze along with some orange zest and juice to really push them over the top. They are so good. If you loved/love Orange Julius or Dreamsicles you will love these. Add them to your weekend baking list and let me know if you make them!
Cara Cara Orange Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops of scones before baking
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream (I’ve used half and half in a pinch), plus more for brushing on scones before baking
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice with as many pulpy bits as you can squelch out
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest from one (clean) cara cara orange
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- splash of vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk (just enough to make a smooth, pourable glaze)
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
In a spouted large measuring cup or small bowl, combine cream, orange juice and pulp, vanilla, and zest and stir to combine.
Pour the cream mixture slowly over dry ingredients while gently mixing with a fork. You want a wet, craggy dough with no dry patches or flour still at the bottom of the bowl. You don’t, however, want something as wet as muffin batter. Once you pour all of the cream in, use your hands to gently squish the dough into a ball. If it holds together you’re good to go. If not, add just a bit more cream, a tablespoon at a time until you have a cohesive dough.
Divide dough into two equal portions and on a floured surface, very gently shape into about a 5 inch circle. pat down the top to make it fairly flat.
Transfer both dough discs to a parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can refrigerate for an hour or even overnight.
30 minutes before you’re ready to bake the scones, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
After dough has chilled, remove from fridge or freezer, and with a very sharp knife, slice your dough discs into 6 equal wedges. spread apart leaving about an inch between each slice.
Brush tops with a generous amount of cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Place in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until just beginning to brown around edges and no wet dough remains in center of scone. If tops begin to brown too much, cover loosely with foil during last 10 minutes.
To make the glaze:
Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange juice, zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add just enough milk to thin mixture to a slow, pourable glaze. About the consistency of cool honey. You want it to glaze the scones, not just slither off the sides and all over your cookie sheet.
When scones are done baking, remove from oven and let cool on tray for about 10-15 minutes before glazing. If you can’t restrain yourself (like us), just enjoy them hot from the oven with some glaze on the side for dipping and drizzling. They are also crazy good split open and smeared with salted butter.
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