Updated: Jun 14
Baking has always been an important part of my life. I spent my childhood summers in Amarillo living with my great grandmother and grandparents while I worked at the family business. My GiGi taught me how to make candies, my Nana was always making cookies and treats. I can't think of a single family member that didn't know how to prepare a delicious dish. I am so thankful that the women and men in my childhood graciously allowed me to take part and ask questions during these times, and showed me how to pursue the task with joy, thoughtfulness, and love in your heart. I stand by the thought that "food" should be listed as it's own love language. Thanks to my family, I found a passion in preparing and sharing food at a young age.
When I stayed with my great grandmother, GiGi, we would start our mornings drinking black coffee while reading the newspaper and funnies. I remember after a long morning of reading books, I asked her if we could make a fresh pot as a pick-me-up. She perked up with a better idea- hot tea. The only tea I had ever come across was those low-quality afterthoughts of tea bags offered at the coffee station in hotels. Sensing my lack of enthusiasm, she asked me to just take a look at her tea selection and try one cup. She probably also mentioned something about not wanting to send me back to my parents with stunted growth from drinking too much coffee- even though I know she didn't believe that myth for a second. Wanting to make sure I would get to stay with her again, I conceded.
She pulled out her collection of loose leaf teas and cute vintage strainers. A beautiful orange tin and the familiar word, "cinnamon", called to me as I chose a sachet of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from Harney & Sons. I was hooked from the first sip. Fast forward about 15 years and I still drink at least one cup of tea every day. When my GiGi passed away in 2016, I took home her tea collection and supplies. In the collection, that same old Harney & Sons tin remained. Some people may throw away old teas, but this is a high-quality tea collection from someone that lived through the Great Depression, and they were stored properly. Let me tell you, my ration of that 15+ year old Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is still so flavorful and fragrant.
Recently I've been reading a lot of period dramas that consistently use "afternoon tea" as their setting. The author describes delicious scones and biscuits and tea sandwiches in a way that any good author should. I am easily influenced, so I decided to come up with a scone recipe to eat while I sip hot tea with a good book. My first batch was Earl Grey Tea flavored because it is my current obsession. They tasted so good (recipe coming soon) that I started thinking about all the other flavors I should create. I really enjoy having tea leaves inside of my scones. When I opened up my tea collection and my eyes landed on that orange tin, I had a "That's so Raven" type vision of myself biting into a hot orange cinnamon spice tea scone, topped with orange icing and candied orange slivers. Mmmmmm
My husband (my biggest food critic) wasn't excited to hear that my next batch of scones would not be the tried and true Earl Grey. When he got a whiff of the orange and spice scents wafting from the oven he "reluctantly" decided he would "give it just one bite." When that bite hit
his tongue I could practically hear the symphony playing behind his closed eyes. My scone recipe is the perfect balance of butter, crumb, and moisture. The high quality tea leaves from Harney and Sons make each bite steam with fall aroma. The refreshing orange glaze and candied orange sliver on top allow you to decide just how sweet you want your scone to be. If you are like me you will start with just a drizzle of glaze and then decide to fully slather it with the energizing zing of sweetness. The candied orange recipe results in some delicious orange syrup that can sweeten and flavor a multitude of goodies. I recommend freezing the uncooked scones and cooking one (or three) for yourself as you mix up the icing. That way, when you want a hot fresh scone, they are just a preheat and a bake away. I hope you make these scones and sweeten a hot cup of tea with the orange syrup and sit down to a Victorian Era book or show. I'd love to hear feedback from you on your own scone making experience!
Orange Cinnamon Spice Tea Scones
Makes 8 scones
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 batch of Candied Oranges
1/3 cup sugar
2 oranges (1/4 cup juiced and both zested)
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), frozen
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tea satchels of Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea (cut satchel open)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 TBS melted butter
Start your batch of candied oranges so they can cook and rest the day before for ultimate flavor. Place your stick of butter in the freezer as well.
Juice one orange+ until you get 1/4 cup. Set juice aside. Zest two oranges and set half of the zest aside for the icing.
Combine zest of one orange with sugar and massage them together with your fingers so oils are released.
In a medium mixing bowl. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, tea leaves and baking soda.
In a small bowl mix together egg and sour cream until fully combined.
Stir in your orange zest sugar to the dry ingredients.
Grate butter and cut it into the dough. Important to keep butter solid and cold through the entire process- may need to pause and set it in freezer depending on how warm your environment is.
Stir the sour cream egg mixture into the dough. It will seem too dry, just continue to mix until you can pull it from the bowl and set it on the counter as a complete ball.
Shape dough into a circle 7-8 inches in diameter and 3/4 in thick. Cut like a pie into 8 equal triangles.
Flash freeze on a baking sheet before transferring them to a gallon size bag.
Make the icing by whisking the 1/4 cup of orange juice with 1.75 cups of powdered sugar, remaining zest, and 1-2 TBS of melted butter.
Bake scones from frozen for 400 degrees for 17 minutes. If baking fresh/unfrozen, set timer to check them by 12 minutes. Done when getting gold color and no longer looks doughy. Time may differ depending on the oven so keep an eye out near the end.