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Cranberry and orange are scents of season

Published 3:13pm Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Once the balloon races come to town my thoughts turn to fall. After balloon races, we have Halloween, and then it’s head-first into Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think certain foods, ingredients and smells in the kitchen remind all of us of certain holidays and seasons.

For me cinnamon, nutmeg, hot chocolate, gumbo, red beans and rice and fresh bread are the scents of fall. But my favorite are orange and cranberry. I love these two flavors in muffins, hot tea, oatmeal, cheesecake and especially granola. I found a granola at Fresh Market in Jackson that is called Cosmopolitan blend because it has orange and cranberry flavors in it. After a little work on a different granola recipe this has become my favorite one. It is especially good stirred into vanilla yogurt.

 

Orange-cranberry granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup chopped walnuts

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon canola oil or Walnut oil

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup candied orange peel, chopped up

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Spread oats on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast the oats, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add the walnuts add let cool slightly. Coat the same baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk maple syrup, butter and oil in a small bowl to blend. Pour syrup mixture over oats, stir thoroughly to coat. Spread mixture on prepared sheet.

Bake granola, stirring occasionally, until the oats are light golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and bake for about 10 minutes longer. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool slightly. Stir in the orange peel, let cool completely, and then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

These scones are the perfect breakfast or late afternoon snack. Again, my two favorite flavors are included here. Remember just like with biscuits don’t overwork this dough or your finished product will be tough.

 

Cranberry orange scones

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1 cup dried cranberries

1 medium orange, remove the zest and save 2 tablespoons of fresh juice

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon milk

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine 2 cups flour, brown sugar, baking powder and kosher salt in a large mixing bowl. Add chilled butter and cut into flour mixture until butter resembles pea-sized pieces.

In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries, orange zest from 1 medium orange and 1/4 cup flour. Stir until cranberries are well coated with the flour, then add to flour and butter mixture and stir to combine.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat together yogurt and egg until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Once all ingredients are combined, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is well-formed, about 1 minute.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into two 6-inch circles at about 3/4-inch thickness. Cut each circle into 6 equal pieces/wedges. Place wedges on 1-2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, separated by about 1-2 inches.  Beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon. milk in small bowl and lightly brush over the tops of the scones right before placing into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool At this point you can sprinkle them with coarse sugar or drizzle with a glaze.

 

Christina Hall writes a weekly food column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.