“Have you smelled the orange tree?!” “No, why, what’s wrong with it?” I asked, because we don’t exactly have green thumbs around here. “Nothing, it smells incredible!” Sure enough, as if overnight, the once sad little orange tree outside of our kitchen window had exploded with thousands of fragrant little white flowers. Humming with bees and all of a sudden looking much perkier than I remember it, the orange tree was in full bloom.
There is no greater smell in the world than the smell of sweet and fragrant orange blossoms. That is a scent I would like to smell every day for the rest of my life…breath it in, ah it’s pure spring! Orange Blossom Cream Scones with an orange blossom glaze were dreamed up on the spot.
Cream tea scones are one of my favorite things in the world especially when you get one hot out of the oven, broken open and slathered with jam and cream. Holy moly, I adore scones. King Arthur Flour has an amazing and easy recipe which I always make. This past weekend however, with my kitchen windows wide open so that my entire kitchen smelled like orange blossoms, I tweaked the recipe by adding in fresh orange zest and orange blossom water in honor of my little tree that could.
If you’ve never baked with orange blossom water, it’s a light and fragrant water flavored with fresh orange blossoms. It’s used a lot in Middle Eastern desserts and I happened to have a bottle from a cocktail I made at some point. Part of me wanted to make my own orange blossom water with all of the fresh blooms on my tree, but honestly…who has time for that?
So in it went, an entire tablespoon of orange blossom water into my cream scones and more into the glaze. These scones are heavenly. I dodged bees and snipped a few sacrificial branches from the orange tree for garnish. I couldn’t resist the smell of the freshly baked scones mixed with the orange blossoms. Later, I arranged them in a small vase and placed them in our bathroom. If you have the chance to bring fresh orange blossoms into your house, do it…and make these scones, breath deeply, spring is on it’s way!
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, to taste
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1⅓ cups heavy whipping cream (or less based on dough)
- additional heavy cream, for brushing on scones
- For the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Sprinkle the orange flower water over the dry ingredients, mix in the orange zest, then drizzle in the cream, tossing and stirring gently all the while and adding just enough to make a cohesive dough. There shouldn't be any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, but the dough shouldn't be particularly sticky, either.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half, and gently pat each half into a 5½" circle about ¾" thick.
- Brush each circle with heavy cream, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.
- Place the two circles of dough on the baking sheet, and cut each into 6 wedges. Pull the wedges apart a bit, leaving them in a circular pattern with about 1" space between each wedge.
- For best rising, place the pan of scones into the freezer for 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Bake the chilled scones for 20-25 minutes, until they're starting to brown, and they're baked all the way through, without any wet dough in the center.
- Remove the scones from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
- While the scones cool, make the glaze. Mix powered sugar with orange flower water, orange juice and orange zest.
- Drizzle over scones and serve immediately.
- If you are making these scones ahead skip the glaze until serving. Store cooled scones airtight at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. To refresh, microwave individual scones very briefly; or place scones on a baking sheet, tent with aluminum foil, and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through.