Cosmo Scones


A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling inspired by pictures of our girl’s weekend, and I thought it would be fun to bring a bunch of our fun girl-trips into one treat. My idea was to try to get the flavors of our Sex and the City Cosmos into scones reminiscent of our teatime brunch.

As we’ve established, I love teatime and scones. However, besides the occasional treat, I really don’t need the huge confection-like scones you see in a lot of coffee shops. I much prefer something small – a couple of bites – that I can completely enjoy without too much guilt and without feeling super full.

I found almost exactly what I was looking for in Mary Engelbreit’s Let’s Party Cookbook -- an adorable little book that was gifted to me by a good friend a bunch of years ago.  There is a whole chapter on entertaining for Tea Parties, and amongst the recipes they include is one for Baby Cranberry Scones.

The other main flavors in a Cosmo are lemon juice and orange flavor from the Triple Sec. I thought I’d work these in by adding orange zest to the batter and topping the little scones with lemon glaze.

On the whole, they came out pretty well, and each of my gals got a little surprise package of tasty scones.

Mini Cosmo Scones
(Adapted from the Baby Cranberry Scones from Mary Engelbreit’s Let’s Party Cookbook)

Makes about 26 Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ –inch cubes
¾ cup heavy cream, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for brushing
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
Orange Zest to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425. Butter and flour 2 Baking sheets

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, and salt.

   

With a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the pieces of butter are no larger than tiny peas.

With a fork, stir in the ¾ cup cream just until a shaggy dough forms.


3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, top with the cranberries, and knead briefly, just until the dough forms a ball and the cranberries are incorporated; do not overwork.


Quickly and gently pat the dough out into a ¾  –inch-thick round. With a 1 ½ –inch round biscuit cutter, cut as many rounds as possible from the dough and place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 

 
Gather the scraps of dough and knead together briefly, then pat out and cut out more scones. Brush the tops of the scones with the cream.

4. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, or until the scones have risen and are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool slightly and serve warm, or let cool to room temperature.


For Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons 
Lemon or Orange Zest
Orange Liqueur (optional)

Combine the powdered sugar and zest in a small bowl.  Add juice gradually, until the mixture forms a light glaze and stir until smooth. Lightly dip the top of each scone into the glaze to coat.  Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. 



Notes:

This was my first draft on the scones and there are a few things I’d work on for next time.

- The consistency of these scones came out really well; they were neither too fluffy nor too dense.  As with so many baked goods though, you definitely have to watch the timing.  In my oven, the perfect baking time was on the shorter end of the spectrum.   The original recipe called for 13-15 minutes, however, about 12 minutes worked for me.

- I also ran into a little issue with the baking sheets I used. I have two at the moment. One is an insulated baking sheet, which has a layer of air circulating between two aluminum sheets.  The other is a classic-style baking sheet.  I made 2 batches on the insulated sheet and 1 on the classic baking sheet.  The batch made on the classic sheet came out with burned bottoms, despite the fact that the rest of scone was baked to the right point.   In the future, I’d put a baking mat or a piece of parchment paper down on the classic baking sheet to prevent burned bottoms.

 
The classic sheet is on the left and the insulated sheet is on the right. 
My insulated sheet has warped over time, but it does work really well.

- I used coarse sea salt in my batter rather the usual.  (Greg says I’m a salt snob, since I hardly ever use the regular stuff.) The crystals of the sea salt are bigger, so I used slightly less than the recipe called for – call it a scant ½ tsp. Even so, I thought they came out just a tad too salty. Next time I’d use just a little less.

- Almost an entire orange’s worth of zest went in the batter, and yet I could barely taste the orange flavor. I will have to work on a way to up that flavor factor.

- I  tried to incorporate the orange flavor into the glaze as well, with orange liqueur. I thought this would also to bring in more of a Cosmo factor.  When I used just the liqueur, the flavor was weak and overly sweet. It really needed more acid, so I added more lemon juice.  It came out quite tasty, but to really get in all the flavors of a Cosmo like I wanted, I’ll have to continue tweak the balance.

I’d love suggestions on other ways to up that orange flavor.

Baking in a small kitchen requires stacking things in creative ways.




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