The holidays are upon us, everyone! With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, I'm sure that holiday gift shopping is moving to the forefront of your thoughts. I think handmade gifts are the most fun to give and receive, so today I'm sharing the recipe for an easy homemade scone mix. In one afternoon you can whip up several bags of this delicious mix and they'll be ready to go for the duration of the season. They're perfect for taking along to holiday parties as host gifts or as stocking stuffers for any of your loved ones who enjoy baking. They'll also come in handy for yourself when you have weekend guests and need to throw together a homemade treat.
I purchased these tin tie bags here and they are the ideal size for this project. Mine came in a pack of 25 and, knowing I'd be attending a holiday craft party with 20 ladies I wanted to surprise, I set to work filling every one of them.
A helpful tip when filling multiple bags like this is to complete the task like an assembly line. Line up all the open bags and begin by putting the specified amount of flour in every bag, then move on to the next ingredient and so on. This will keep you from forgetting what you've already put in each bag.
Packaging gifts is a big part of the fun for me. I printed the ingredients and mixing instructions for the scone mix on strips of paper and tied them around the bags in tiny envelopes with baker's twine. You could do something similar, or keep it even simpler and just tape the instructions to the bag. Just remember that if you plan to do any writing on the bag itself, do it before filling it -- it's a lot easier that way.
I chose to write a freshness date on the bottoms of my bags. Using the mix within four months will make sure the cranberries stay moist and the leavening agents active. Refrigeration, though not required, always keeps dry goods at their freshest.
At the bottom of this post I've included the recipe for the mix as well as links to free printables of the ingredients and mixing instructions.
Now I thought I'd show you what the mixing and baking process looks like in photos. Last weekend I used one of my own mixes to make a batch of scones. I made a variation on the original, including chopped, toasted pecans both in and on top of the scones. I love this addition, but I'm always careful not to include nuts in a mix unless I know for certain that the recipient is not allergic.
If you pay attention to nothing else about the process of mixing scones, read this: Do not overmix the dough. It's so important to use a light hand, erring on the side of undermixing in order to keep the final product tender and light rather than dense and tough. Keeping the butter and wet ingredients extremely cold and stirring only until things come together are both vital. Notice in the last photo above that before forming, the dough is crumbly with visible bits of butter and flour; this is what you want.
I love these scones. The glaze on top creates a crunchy lid that contrasts beautifully with the tender interior. They're not too sweet and they have the perfect tangy pop from the cranberries. There's a convenience factor, since you can either bake all of the scones at once or freeze some of them to bake fresh at a later date. If you gift this mix, the recipient will love it, too, because the preparation is spelled out easily in the instructions and requires no special equipment.
Here are the links to the printable PDF files. They are ideal for printing one file on the front of the page and the other on the back. Each page will yield four copies.
I hope you enjoy making and gifting these scones this holiday season. If you try them, I'd love to hear about them!
Cranberry Harvest Scones
For the Mix:
makes 12 scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used a multigrain all-purpose blend)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 Tablespoons orange-vanilla sugar, divided
Combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cranberries, and 1 Tablespoon of the orange-vanilla sugar in a bag. Put the remaining 2 Tablespoons orange-vanilla sugar in a small baggie and seal. Place the baggie on top of the mix.
For the Scones:
- 1 recipe scone mix
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
- 3 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 425 with a rack positioned in the center. Set aside small baggie of orange-vanilla sugar. Pour scone mix into a large mixing bowl. Grate frozen butter using the large holes of a box grater and add to scone mix; stir well. Whisk together eggs, yogurt or buttermilk, and 2 Tablespoons maple syrup. Add to scone mix and stir JUST until combined – do not overmix. Divide dough into 2 disks about 2 inches thick. Cut each disk into 6 equal triangles. Lay triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment. In a small bowl, combine reserved orange-vanilla sugar with 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup and water. Brush this on the tops of the scones. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Alternatively, freeze unbaked, shaped scones and bake from frozen state for about 18 minutes.