I’ve never layered butter into anything before. There’s just something about croissants, puff pastry, and anything else laminated that scares the crap out of me. But guess what? It’s not that scary with only eight layers (thankfully not eighty). And I’m pretty sure these layered orange scones are the gateway drug into laminating…
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the process of laminating dough involves folding dough and butter onto itself multiple times, to create the most flaky, buttery confections.
When I found Epicurious’s Ultra-Buttery Irish Scone recipe, with its layers of fluff while scouring the internet, I thought “this is my moment.” Luckily I read the recipe wrong and used twice the amount of butter it called for during the laminating portion. The good news is, the moment these scones came out of the oven they confirmed what I’ve always thought to be true. More butter = more better.
Over the past three weeks I’ve experimented with adding more flavor to the dough and have found that orange juice and zest makes these brighter and more complex. I’ve also used different dried fruit, and although I love the idea of a dried cherry/orange combo, I’ve come to the conclusion that a sweeter fruit, like raisins or currents work best here because the dough is barely sweet.
Along the way I’ve also added toasted pecans and I think most nuts would make a welcome appearance here. But if you want to go 100% classic and forgo the orange, nuts, and dried fruit all together, be my guest. The magic here is really in the layers.
Who’s ready to make croissants!?! ME!
Layered Orange Scones (Adapted from Epicurious)
Makes 8 large scones
Zest from one orange, divided in two
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
Heavy cream (for brushing)
Turbinado sugar (for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 375. Place parchment on a baking sheet.
Zest one large orange (organic please) and set aside. Cut orange in half and squeeze juice into measuring cup. Add half and half until liquid measure 1 cup. Add half of the zest into the liquid.
Add sugar and salt into the milk/orange juice. Stir and let the sugar dissolve.
Combine flour and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
Cut the first stick of cold butter into 1/4 inch chunks. Add to the flour mixture. With a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until the butter is in mostly uniform pea sized chunks.
Add liquid to the flour/butter. Stir with a fork until dough comes together. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add 1-2 more tbsp of half and half.
Knead dough until it comes together and place on floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 14×8″ rectangle, the long side parallel to your body.
Spread the room temperature butter in a thick and even-ish layer onto the dough, all the way up until the edges. Sprinkle the remaining orange zest and raisins or currents onto the butter. Press the dried fruit into the dough so it adheres.
Fold up the bottom third of the dough into the center, like a letter. Fold down the top third of dough, meeting the bottom. Fold in half crosswise. Then, using a rolling pin, flatten the rectangle into a 8×4″ rectangle.
Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut scones into 8 equal parts. Arrange on baking sheet, brush with heavy cream and top with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 18-22 minutes until puffed up and golden brown. Eat warm with more butter because at this point, why not?