Delicious cranberry orange scones, with added cream cheese. Lovely and crispy on the outside and beautifully soft, rich and flavourful inside.
Why you’ll love these cream cheese scones
When you are in the mood for a delicious, bakery-style scone at home, look no further than these cream cheese cranberry orange scone recipe.
The cranberry orange flavour combination is always a winner and the addition of cream cheese, as well as butter, makes a wonderfully rich and special scone.
I love the combination of the crispy outside of this scone, together with the tender and soft inside, which is full of flavour and bursting with cranberries!
This recipe makes 8 large scones and they freeze beautifully, too!
Butter – you can use salted or unsalted butter for these. I prefer unsalted for scones. If using salted butter, reduce the added salt by 1/4 teaspoon.
Cream Cheese – full-fat cream cheese is recommended for these scones. Light or reduced-fat cream cheese tends to have a higher water/moisture content, which can affect the finished texture of the scones.
Heavy Cream – aka whipping cream. Again, I recommend the heavy cream here, because cream scones are just the loveliest :) That said, any cream or milk will work here, though the amount needed to moisten the dough may be different (so add in small increments, just until moistened). Obviously, using milk will result in a less rich scone.
How to make these cranberry orange scones: Step-by-Step
Here is a summary of the steps to make these scones. Always refer to the complete instructions in the Recipe Card below when making this recipe.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the cubes of cold butter and cream cheese.
- Using your fingertips, rub the chunks into the flour mixture, until you have an even crumb, with pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Add the cranberries and orange zest and stir in.
- Add the cream and stir, adding additional cream, as needed, until the dry mixture is evenly moistened. Knead a bit in the bowl.
- Remove the dough to a plastic-wrap lined 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan and press into the pan evenly.
- Cover the dough with excess plastic wrap and place in the freezer at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven and remove pan from freezer. While still in the pan, score the top of the scones into 8 even wedges.
- Lift dough round out of pan and cut wedges along the score lines, so they are fully separated.
- Place wedges onto an ungreased baking sheet.
- Brush top of scones with heavy cream.
- Sprinkle tops with coarse sugar (sparkling or turbinado).
- Bake and enjoy!
When mixing scone dough, always remember that the amount of liquid (in this case cream) will vary slightly from bowl to bowl, depending on the hydration of your flour. Use as much as you need to get a moistened, but not sticky, dough, so don’t be afraid to add more, as needed.
Wondering what will happen if you skip freezing these scones? Nothing disastrous :) You will just find the the scones will be wider and thinner, as they will spread out while baking, rather than holding their shape and remaining taller. I think the texture is nicer when baking them from cold, as well. So if you are pressed for time, try a little time in the freezer, at least.
Making ahead, storing and freezing
These scones are best on the day they are baked, but you can store baked scones in an airtight container for about 2 days.
Since these scones are baked from frozen, it’s easy to make them up ahead, pop in the freezer, then just bake fresh whenever. You can also freeze the wedges individually and bake just a couple of scones fresh, as desired.
These freeze well up to 2 months, so don’t hesitate to freeze extras to enjoy later.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese Scones
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt, reduce to 3/4 teaspoon if using salted butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 pieces, or salted butter and reduce salt above
- 4 oz full-fat cream cheese, cold and cut into 8 pieces, (1/2 the standard 8oz package)
- 1/2 cup heavy, whipping cream, 35% b.f. or *see Note 1 below for other options
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- Zest of one orange
- Additional cream, for brushing tops before baking
- Coarse, turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling tops before baking
- Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan or springform pan by lining with plastic wrap, overhanging the edges of the pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter and cream cheese pieces to the bowl and using your fingertips, rub the butter and cream cheese into the flour until you have an even mixture with pea-sized pieces of butter.
- In a measuring cup, measure out the cream and whisk in the egg and vanilla. Add the cream/egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine well. If you have a lot of dry flour at the bottom of the bowl, add a bit more cream, in 1 Tablespoon increments, adding only until the flour is just moistened. (You don't want it to be sticky, but it should hold together when squeezed.) Stir in the orange zest and dried cranberries and distribute evenly. Gather together/briefly knead the mixture in the pan, gathering up any bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl.
- Press dough into the prepared baking pan. Fold the overhanding plastic wrap down over the dough, to cover. Place the pan into the freezer for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F (regular bake/not convection/fan assisted) Remove dough from the freezer and while still in the pan, score the top of the dough into 8 even wedges. Lift out the dough round by the plastic wrap and cut the slices following the score lines.
- Transfer the wedges to a baking sheet, spacing at least 2-inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Place into oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400F. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake an additional 13-15 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Loosely adapted from a Shirlgard recipe