Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oven rack in middle of oven. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
Tip: Chill the bowl and any utensils you will be using in the refrigerator before making the scones.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add the orange zest to the dry ingredients.
With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the cold butter into flour mixture until particles are the size of small peas. Fold in the dried cranberries to the flour mixture. Add half and half cream and the vanilla extract to the mixture and blend until dough forms. DO NOT over mix the dough.
With floured hands, pat dough to a 1-inch thickness onto a floured board. With a floured cutter of your desired shape, cut out and place 1-inch apart on a parchment paper lined or a lightly greased and floured baking sheet.
Lightly brush the top of the scones a little of the half and half Scone Wash Cream. Sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar on top of each scone to taste.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Baking time will vary according to the size of your scones. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your scones. The temperature of the scones should be at 200 degrees F. when done.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.
Scones are best served warm.
Yields: 24 scones.
1/2 cup half and half cream (for brushing top of scones)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons cinnamon, to taste.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. If more Cinnamon/Sugar is needed, repeat if needed.
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Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions (RED WAGON PRESS), a lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included The Waldorf=Astoria and Plaza Hotels. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.
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