It’s Christmas Day and nearing the New Year. Rather than overindulging in turkey and dressing to cookies and pie, it was my goal to keep it light. That means, I followed a nontraditional food route and ate lots of vegetables (such as homemade salsa and salads), fruit (apples and oranges), and grains (oatmeal and French bread). But my eyes found a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge. So, it seemed like the merry thing to do to bake a batch of sweet berry nut scones to pair with tea and honey.
Last December was a bittersweet one. I had lost my beloved 6-year-old Brittany Seth to a brain disorder. While still grieving, I was on the mission to find a new healing pup. It wasn’t easy to find the right dog for my family. The first connection, a Britt from Reno, fell through since the sire’s owner decided to keep the sole male. The second choice, an English Setter from Sacramento — didn’t work out for a host of reasons. Then, while I couldn’t give up my search, the newspaper displayed an ad for Aussie puppies in Red Bluff. I chose the only male. It was a gift from the angels.
At that time, I hadn’t cooked a lot of food. I recall making scones because they’re easy, light, and soothing. After all, there are so many varieties, from apple, chocolate, ginger, maple — and this year I chose cranberry, healing berries like healing pups, it was an easy choice.
Whole Cranberry Scone
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/3 cup pure sugar, granulated white
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 brown egg, beaten
2 tablespoons honey-flavored Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons European style butter (cold, cubes)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, sliced in half
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon butter, melted (for greasing dish)
Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add half-and-half, egg, yogurt and butter. Fold in berries and nuts. Use a lightly greased round pan (I used a round white tart baking dish). Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Dust with sugar. Makes 10-12 scones. (Slice like a pie in half, quartered, etc., and you’ll have perfect triangle shapes.) Serve warm with honey or butter.
These scones will wow you with the Starbucks’ perfect presentation. Not only do they burst with flavor thanks to the sweet and tart berries, but by making one giant scone it’s creative and doesn’t take a lot of time. The texture is moist due to the yogurt and butter; plus, by not using whole-wheat flour, it does lend to a traditional taste of a yummy English scone. Munching on these this year brought me full circle to a time when I was in between loss and gain. A scone and a cup of herbal tea can feed your soul and help you figure it out.
Motto: Making plans sometimes get railroaded but often following your gut instincts can lead you to a sense of calm — like you get savoring a holiday scone.
— Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Coffee is offered by the Good Cook Book Club. The Healing Powers of Coffee, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Honey are sold at Walmart stores nationwide. This autumn, the author is revising and updating the 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. Her website is www.calorey.com.