Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Cranberry-Date Orange Pecan Scones -- #Thanksgiving #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  If you’re like most people, your Thanksgiving table is a reflection of the past, a time to haul out the good china and crystal and serve up special dishes that your family loves but doesn’t typically eat more than once or twice a year. Though Mr. Right and I don’t always follow the traditions, I respect then, and I ain’t gonna mess with them.

But you need to eat the rest of the week, too, right? Say you’ve got kids home from college or other friends and relatives spending a few days. They all need breakfast on the big day and the rest of the weekend—or a little nibble with their morning coffee or afternoon tea.

No surprise that we serve up scones often on the Kitchen. But I was surprised to not find a single recipe for the classic Cranberry-Orange Scones. Our friend and frequent guest Victoria Hamilton gave us Cranberry Lemon Scones. Our dear Daryl Wood Gerber baked Gluten-Free Cranberry Scones with Cream Cheese Frosting—and I do see a dash of o.j. in the ingredients. And our much-missed Sheila Connolly gave us Cranberry Ginger Scones

My variation morphed as I lined up my ingredients. Turns out that despite my cravings, we didn’t have enough dried cranberries, so I mixed in dried date pieces—and we adored them. 

This is also an instance where what I tell you to do won’t quite line up with the photos. I followed my inspiration recipe’s instructions to press the dough into a 4" circle. Not big enough, so I went for 5". The results were a little smaller and thicker than optimal for baking and eating, so I’m suggesting a 6" circle. Because who wants a stubby scone?

Wishing you and yours a lovely celebration, no matter when you eat your scones!

Cranberry-Date Orange Pecan Scones 

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

zest of one orange

1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces

2/3 cup dried cranberries or 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1/3 cup dried date pieces

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 egg, lightly beaten

scant 1/3 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

2 teaspoons orange juice

1 egg white, lightly beaten 

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Cut in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Add the dried fruit and 1/3 cup nuts and stir until combined. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl, stir together the egg, yogurt, and orange juice, and add to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.

Lightly flour a cutting board. Turn dough onto surface and knead gently, folding and pressing the dough until nearly smooth, 6-8 strokes. Divide in half and form into a loose ball. Transfer each ball to the baking sheet and press into a 6" circle. Use a sharp knife to cut each circle into 6 wedges. Do not separate the wedges. Brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of nuts. Bake 15-18 minutes or until done—it’s okay to cut one wedge out to check for doneness. 

Cool on a wire rack about 5 minutes, then break apart and serve warm.

Makes 12 small scones. Extras freeze nicely. 

We are grateful for you, dear readers, all year long! 

From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (Crooked Lane Books; available in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and subscribe to her seasonal newsletter, for a chat about the writing life, what she's working on, and  what she's reading -- and a free short story. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Thanks for the recipe, Leslie. I have to ask why you can't use Greek yogurt, the only kind I ever have in the house. I always treat it as interchangeable with other yogurt in recipes.

    1. I find it too thick for baking, but obviously your mileage may vary. The inspiration recipe used orange-flavored yogurt, not something I've seen in years or would have around, but clearly an older, thinner style. If all you've got is Greek, try it -- the OJ may thin it enough to make it workable.

  2. Yum,those look delicious! I love that you cook as I do, Leslie, and tell us about what my art teacher called "happy accidents",like subbing dates with the smaller amount of cranberries! I'm very much a recipe tweaker from way back!

  3. These sound like winners to me!
    I've been craving scones for some reason.

    1. Comfort food, so flexible, and so yummy with coffee or tea.

  4. How wonderful to have another variation of our go-to Cranberry Orange Pecan Scones...with added dates!! YUM!!
    You gave me an incentive to bake your recipe today, since it has been a while since we had our favorites! Happy and Delicious Thanksgiving to all! And to all a good nap afterwards:-)