Flaky Cranberry Scones

hands holding flaky cranberry scones
Photo: Matthew Septimus

Crunchy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, these scones studded with dried cranberries and lemon zest couldn't be more satisfying. They're also the ideal make-ahead treat, as the pastries have the best shape when baked from frozen. This recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum's " Rose's Baking Basics."


  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 2 ⅓ cups bread flour, preferably Gold Medal

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder, only an aluminum free variety

  • teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon , loosely packed, finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½- to ¾-inch cubes and refrigerated at least 30 minutes

  • cup dried cranberries, cut in half

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in center. Line a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap; line a baking sheet, preferably insulated, or a double layer of two baking sheets with parchment. Whip cream just until soft peaks form; refrigerate.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Add butter cubes and, using a fork, toss to coat it with flour. Press butter cubes between your fingers to form very thin flakes. Stir in cranberries. Make a well in center. Pour whipped cream and honey into well; using a silicone spatula, stir flour mixture into cream mixture until ingredients are moistened.

  3. Lightly knead dough in bowl just until it holds together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead a few times until dough is a little stretchy and can be shaped into a smooth disk.

  4. Press dough evenly into prepared pan (or shape dough into a 9-inch disk, 3/4 inch thick, without using pan). Press in any loose cranberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  5. Lift out disk of dough using plastic wrap. Using a sharp knife, cut disk into 8 even wedges. Transfer to prepared sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. (Alternatively, wrap wedges individually and freeze.)

  6. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate sheet and continue baking until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. (If baking frozen scones, bake 20 minutes, then rotate sheet, cover loosely with foil, and continue baking 10 minutes more.)

  7. Transfer sheet to a wire rack. Using a pancake turner, transfer scones to another wire rack; let cool until warm or room temperature. Scones will be slightly moist. If you prefer a more traditional, drier scone, let sit, uncovered, overnight. Scones can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days or frozen up to 3 months.

Cook's Notes

If not using Gold Medal bread flour, you can substitute half other bread flour and half unbleached all-purpose flour.

At least 15 minutes before whipping the cream, place into a medium metal bowl, cover, and refrigerate with the mixer beaters alongside.

Beranbaum is famously precise and uses an instant-read thermometer to test doneness. An instant-read thermometer should read 212 to 215 degrees for these scones.

Excerpted from

"Rose's Baking Basics" copyright 2018 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography copyright 2018 by Matthew Septimus. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


To make half-size scones, divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape each into a 6-inch disk. If using a cake pan to mold the disks, use a 6-inch pan. You can lift the first disk out of the pan right after you shape it, wrap it, and then reline the pan to shape the second disk. In Step 5, after the first 10 minutes of baking, the remaining baking time will be only about 5 minutes more.

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