Hi! I may or may not have mentioned that since we’ve moved to Indiana, I’ve been baking part-time for a nearby cafe. It has its ups and downs (downs mostly due to frustrations that are un-related to baking itself), but mostly it is fun and good. At work, when there is a little bit of downtime (waiting for something to bake or chill), I’ll peruse the shelves and see if I can find some inspiration, otherwise known as ingredients that haven’t been used for a while.
I made candied orange peel for a chocolate tart a few months ago, but I have just learned that candied orange peel stays good for practically forever. This is probably because there’s barely any water in it after all the cooking, drying, and sitting-in-sugar.
I saw cardamom on the shelf, partially ground, partially chunky. We have no mortar and pestle nor spice grinder at work, so it’s tough cookies with the food processor and sieving.
Anyway, I thought it would be cool to combine chai spices + candied orange + scones, so here are my apologies to Indians, and the recipe. Please read the notes- I address important candied orange peel issues! Haha…sounds so dramatic.
Chai Orange Scone
Makes 8 generous or 12 more sensible servings
2 3/4 cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 g) sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp chai spice – halved from KAF
At least 1/4 cup of candied orange peel+’soaking sugar’, OR 1 Tbsp of candied orange peel tiny bits
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into some slices
~1 cup to 1 1/4 cup half and half (or milk or heavy cream- richness will go up or down)
~1 cup powdered sugar
~1 Tbsp orangey sugar from the candied orange peel
1) Preheat the oven to 375F.
If you are using homemade candied orange peel, continue to step 2. Otherwise, skip to step 3.
2) Using a food processor or clean spice grinder, blitz the orange peel and its sugar, until the orange peel is cut into tiny little bits. Transfer to a small bowl.
3) Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, chai spice, and 1 Tbsp candied orange peel.
4) Use a pastry blender to cut butter into the flour mixture until small bits (pea-sized) form. (Alternatively, use a food processor)
5) Freeze the butter and flour until the butter is firm. It shouldn’t take too long, because the butter bits are fairly small
6) Add 3/4 cup of half and half to start, and fold the liquid into the flour-butter mixture. Keep folding and adding a little half and half each time, just until there are no stray dry bits left.
7) On a lightly floured surface, bring the dough together until it is one lump. For 8 servings, flatten into one circle and slice into 8 wedges. For 12 servings, form two circles and slice each into 6 wedges.
8) Bake at 375F until lightly browned, around 20 minutes. If you gently prod a scone with your finger, it should offer a little resistance, but shouldn’t feel like a rock 😉 To be exactly sure, break one open to test!
9) While the scones are baking, make the icings:
Orange: In an appropriate vessel/bowl, add orange sugar, if you have it, (about 1-2 tsp) to 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and thin slightly with orange juice. Water is okay too, but will give a less orangey icing, of course. Adjust for orangey-ness, and add more orange sugar if needed.
Chai: In an appropriate vessel/bowl, add a little bit of chai spices (1/2 tsp?) to 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and thin slightly with water.
Consistency of the icing should be really stiff, so that it will not melt/dissolve into the scone over time, and so that the colors will be vibrant. How stiff? It should not flow freely in the container, nor drip or flow off the fork quickly, if you hold it up. It should take some effort to scrape the icing from the bottom of the icing bowl. It should semi-crust over if you walk away for a few minutes, because you want it to crust over quickly after you pipe it on the scones.
Once the scones have cooled, drizzle with icing (I did chai first, then orange).
Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
3/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground coriander
Makes more than necessary for the recipe. Store somewhere safe so you can make these scones again!
-You will only have what I will call, for lack of a better name, “orange sugar” or the sugar the orange peel lives in, if you make your own candied orange peel. I used this recipe for the orange peel, but you can use anyone that you like. It’s pretty straightforward- blanch orange peels, boil in simple syrup, then coat and dry. I know it sounds time consuming, but you can make a big batch and use it in food projects!
-I call for 1/4 cup of candied orange peel + sugar, because that’s roughly what I pulsed in the food processor at work. You technically only need about 2 Tbsp total, but I don’t think such a small quantity would work, unless you have a spice grinder, and I assume that more people have food processors but not necessarily spice grinders.
-These scones are yes, best enjoyed on the same day they are made. You can freeze the dough if you want to make the dough in advance, however!
-For a dairy-free version, I haven’t tried this yet, but I think you could substitute, 1:1, coconut oil (or shortening that doesn’t contain any trans fat) for butter, and coconut milk in place of the half and half/cream/milk.