These homemade orange and cardamom scones are flaky and buttery, topped with a sweet orange glaze.
These homemade scones are American-style scones. These are quite different from English scones. English scones aren't very sweet or as flaky as American scones, and they’re traditionally served with butter, jam, and cream. American scones on the other hand are sweet, buttery and usually served all on their own.
This is a basic scone recipe with the addition of zingy orange zest, fragrant cardamom, and a sweet orange glaze.
The ingredients for this quick and easy scone recipe are very simple. Once you have a basic scone recipe, you can easily adjust the flavors to tweak and change them.
Here are the ingredients for basic American scones, and then the flavors added in this recipe.
- Flour - All-purpose flour or cake flour can be used. A flour with not too much protein is needed for light scones. The lower the protein, the fluffier the scone.
- Sugar - The amount in this recipe makes scones that aren’t overly sweet. The glaze will add more sweetness at the end.
- Baking powder - For lift. Use an aluminum-free baking powder to avoid a tinny taste in the scone.
- Salt - will enhance the flavor
- Vanilla - this goes well with most sweet scone flavors.
- Buttermilk - These are scones made with buttermilk to bring a little acidity which creates a tender scone.
- Egg - to help bind the scone and bring structure.
- Cold butter - tiny butter pieces become coated in flour and as they bake and the water in the butter evaporates, the scone becomes light and flaky.
- Orange zest - this is rubbed together with the sugar first so the orange zest can release the orange oil.
- Cardamom - a hint of cardamom adds a warming spice.
A good scone interior is soft, light, and buttery and the exterior is slightly crumbly. The lightness in texture is dependent on a few things, two of them being the butter and the forming of the dough.
The Butter in Scones
The butter in a scone dough must always be cold. This is so that it can be cut into small pieces and each little cold piece of butter can be coated in flour. It’s important that it never melts into the dough.
Once the scones hit the hot oven when it comes time to bake, the water in the butter evaporates and causes a lift in the dough.
Keeping the butter cold in the dough is therefore very important. The cold butter can be chopped into small cubes before being added to the dough, then cut further with a pastry cutter. Or the butter can be first grated with a box grater, then cut further with a pastry cutter. The scone dough can also be made in a food processor.
Before baking, the formed scones are placed in the refrigerator or freezer to ensure the butter is extra cold.
To keep the scones light and tender, handle the scone dough as little as possible.
Once it is just mixed together, tip it onto a lightly floured bench. Fold it over once or twice to combine it, then push it into a ball and flatten the ball into an 8-inch disc shape. Over mixing is going to make chewy and tough scones.
In a large mixing bowl, add the orange zest and granulated sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar to release the orange oils.
This step smells amazing! Add in the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt, and whisk it all together.
Chop the cold butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into pea-sized crumbs, ensuring the pieces stay cold and don’t melt into the flour. You could also grate the cold butter instead of chopping it into pieces, but a pastry cutter is still handy to break up the grated butter further.
In a small bowl, use a fork to gently whisk the cream, vanilla, and egg.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the cream mixture into it. Stir with a fork until just combined. The mixture will be slightly sticky and a little crumbly but it should hold together. If it is too dry, you can add a splash more cream, though not too much. A slightly crumbly mixture is what you want. Don’t overwork the dough at this point.
Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it over once or twice if needed, then gently press it into a ball and then flatten it into an 8 inch/20cm disc. Cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Place the pieces onto a plate and refrigerate them while the oven is preheated.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) regular oven or 374 °F (180°C) fan-bake. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Brush the tops of each scone with a little cream and an optional sprinkle of granulated sugar. Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes, until risen and browned. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before glazing
This recipe is written using grams as the main measurement.
If you don't have a kitchen scale US* cup equivalents are also included, however, using a kitchen scale to measure grams will give the best, and most consistent results. *US cup sizes are smaller than metric cup sizes.
- 100g (½ cup) granulated white sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 250g (2 cups) all-purpose or cake flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 113g (½ cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes or grated
- 120g (½ cup) buttermilk (plus more for brushing)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 120g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice.
- Add the orange zest and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar to release the orange oils. Add the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt, and whisk it together.
- Chop the cold butter into cubes. Add it to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into pea-sized crumbs, ensuring the pieces stay cold and do not melt into the flour.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, and egg gently. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the cream mixture. Stir until just combined. The mixture will be slightly sticky and maybe a little crumbly. It should hold together. If it is too dry, add a splash more cream. Don’t overwork the dough at this point.
- Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Press it into a ball and flatten it into an 8-inch/20cm disc. Cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces. Place the pieces onto a plate and refrigerate them while the oven is preheated.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Brush the tops of each scone with buttermilk and an optional sprinkle of granulated sugar.
- Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before glazing
- Orange glaze
In a bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and orange juice. If the glaze is too thin, add a bit more confectioners sugar. If it is too thick, add more orange juice or a splash of milk or water to thin it out.
- Drizzle the glaze over the scones.
The cup sizes given are for US cups. Note that these are smaller than metric cup sizes. For best results, use grams.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 391Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 403mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 1gSugar: 29gProtein: 6g