Years ago Mike and I lived on Capitol Hill, and I took the red line metro from Union Station to work each morning. Amid the morning rush stood Au Bon Pain, bustling with commuters buying coffee and breakfast treats. The pastry display at ABP was a delight for the senses; baskets sat on metal utility shelves holding heaps of buttery croissants, Danish pastries filled with cheese and fruit, blueberry muffins the size of your head, and one of the most delicious treats ever: the orange scone.
While the recipe below is a cream scone variety, I’m positive the ABP orange scone was a butter variety because of its texture. Cream scones are tender and cakey, while butter scones have a crisper outside and a craggy interior. Does craggy seem like an odd adjective for a baked good? Perhaps, but if you’ve ever had a butter scone, you’ll know what I mean: it’s a drier texture, perfect for slathering with jam or lemon curd. Whether you go with the cream variety or the butter variety, orange makes a great scone flavor. I suspect mixing in some miniature chocolate chips in these would be a good idea…maybe next time.
- 1 1/2 cup (180 grams) flour, measured by the scoop-and-sweep method or by weight (I measured by weight)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1/2 small to medium orange
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
- About 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4-5 teaspoons fresh orange juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Combine vanilla, orange extract, and 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream and drizzle over flour mixture, stirring gently to combine. You want a “shaggy” dough, with no loose flour at the bottom of the bowl, but the dough should not be sticky.
Gently shape the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured counter top. Press the dough into a circle about 5 1/2 inches wide.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Transfer to a baking sheet, placing the wedges in a circle with about 1 inch between them. Brush the tops and sides with remaining heavy cream to help them brown.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until light golden brown on top; I used a cake tester on one scone to make sure the center was baked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then combine powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a medium-consistency drizzle. Pour over scones; allow to set before serving.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.