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Unexpected Guests? Prepare Cranberry-Orange Scones in a Jiffy

The holidays have finally come and gone and while many of you may be winding down we here at Las Vueltas Lodge in Costa Rica have been busier than bees. Many Costa Ricans are enjoying some vacation time and when they don’t want to go to the beach to escape the city, they come to the mountains. And that means they often come to our guest lodge. At one point we had 22 people staying with us!

The (not-so) funny thing is most of these guests have been drop-ins and we’re left scurrying around the house cleaning up and trying to find something suitable to serve.

Scratching our heads one such afternoon when we were surprised with six unexpected guests I came up with these cranberry-orange scones to serve with afternoon coffee. In my opinion, cranberry and orange are a winter flavor combination that you can’t go wrong with. And although scones, and the combination of cranberry and orange, are unfamiliar to most Costa Ricans, they gobbled these babies right up. You can throw a batch together and have them served in just under an hour, making it a brilliant choice to serve guests—expected or not.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Adapted from Martha

-- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
-- 3 Tbsps sugar
-- 2 ½ tsps baking powder
-- ½ tsp baking soda
-- ¼ tsp salt
-- zest of one medium orange
--5 Tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-- ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
-- 2/3 cup milk
-- juice of one medium orange or ¼ cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with butter. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest.

With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour until it resembles course crumbs. Stir in the dried cranberries.

Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add the milk and orange juice and stir until just combined, do not over mix. Use a little more milk of the dough is to dry to work with.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into an 8-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet. Cut circle into 8 wedges; space them ½ inch apart and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Darla Antoine is an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band in British Columbia and grew up in Eastern Washington State. For three years, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest, reporting on issues relevant to the Native and Hispanic communities, and most recently served as a producer for Native America Calling. In 2011, she moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives with her husband and their infant son. She lives on an organic and sustainable farm in the “cloud forest”—the highlands of Costa Rica, 9,000 feet above sea level. Due to the high elevation, the conditions for farming and gardening are similar to that of the Pacific Northwest—cold and rainy for most of the year with a short growing season. Antoine has an herb garden, green house, a bee hive, cows, a goat, and two trout ponds stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.