Scones are, in my opinion, a very underrated pastry, and don’t often get the love they deserve. They’re thick, flaky, buttery, and pretty close to dessert for breakfast. My Orange Cardamom Scones combine warm, floral spice notes with zesty citrus flavors for a fall treat that takes breakfast (or dessert) to a whole new level.
First of all, I totally blame Great British Bakeoff for introducing me to the orange-cardamom flavor combination. It’s appeared in every season, usually paired with white chocolate or some other spice, and has stuck with me. I tested a few recipes with the combo last year, and these scones were far and away my favorite.
Cardamom is a really unique spice. It’s a pod spice in the ginger family, and is frequently used in Indian cuisine. There are two types: green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom is used more often in sweeter recipes. Its flavor can be described as floral, citrusy, herbal, warm, and spicy, which makes it a great spice for baking, and an even better companion flavor for orange.
Tips for Making Tall, Flaky, Delicious Scones
No one wants a flat, dry, crumbly scone! Here are some tips for avoiding that and making tall, delicious scones.
Keep your ingredients cold. Even the dry ingredients! Cold butter, buttermilk, and eggs will result in a good rise when they’re baked. I even like to refrigerate the dry ingredients in their bowl after they’re combined, while I’m mixing the wet ingredients.
Grate the butter. Cutting in butter with a knife or pastry cutter is one of my least favorite baking tasks. It’s just tedious. Instead, I keep a stick or two of butter in my freezer and grate it into the flour with a coarse cheese grater. So much easier and faster!
Handle the dough as little as possible. The more you pat, press, and shape the dough, you warm up the butter flakes inside. That will not result in a tall, flaky scone. Instead you’ll get sad, flat scones because the butter melted.
Chill the sliced scones before baking. Noticing a pattern with the cold? This step is optional, but according to this guide from King Arthur Baking, chilling the sliced scones helps the gluten in the dough relax and re-chills the butter flakes. Both of those result in taller, tender, flaky scones.
Sprinkle them with sugar before baking. Right before they go in the oven, brush the scones with milk and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top for a crispy layer on top. You could even add an extra pinch of cardamom to really bring that flavor home!
Enjoy the scones warm. These babies are at their best when they’re fresh out of the oven. They’re perfect just the way they are, but a pat of butter never hurts. Apple jelly, apple butter, or orange marmalade would even be a tasty touch.
Head to my recipe for Easy Chocolate Chip Scones for even more tips and tricks.
Baked scones will keep at room temperature wrapped in plastic for a few days. Warm them in the microwave, or for 10 minutes in a 350ºF oven. For make-ahead scones, after the 30-minute pre-bake rest in the freezer, store them in an air-tight bag or container until ready to bake. Then just bake as directed in the recipe!
I hope y’all give these Orange Cardamom Scones a try this fall! If you make them, I’d love to know how it went and how you like them. Tag me in your photos on Instagram, tweet them at me, or share them on my Facebook page!
Thanks so much for reading and following along! Keep scrolling for the full recipe.
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Orange Cardamom Scones
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
- Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Toss the butter flakes to coat. Place bowl in the freezer to keep cold while preparing the other ingredients.
- In a medium-sized bowl or jug, combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, and orange zest and juice.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and gently stir until all dry bits are moistened. It will be lumpy. Do not over-mix!
- Once combined, turn the dough onto a lined baking sheet, and divide in half.
- Gently shape each half into a disc about 1 inch thick.
- Using a bench scraper or very sharp knife, cut each disc into 6 wedges. Gently pull each wedge away from the center to give them some space.
- Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Place the scones in the freezer for 30 minutes while oven is preheating.
- Bake the scones until they are golden on top and the edges do not look wet or unbaked - about 18-22 minutes.
- Let the scones cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.