Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones

Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones
Poor breakfast. The forgotten meal on Thanksgiving day. Everyone is too busy bustling over the turkey, and the stuffing, and the gravy, and ohhh the desserts. But poor old forgotten breakfast.

Now I know what you are thinking. “I just don’t have time to make breakfast. I have to boil the potatoes, steam the carrots, casserole the green beans. And the turkey. The turkeyyy!!”

Well what if I told you a quick 20 minutes in the oven the morning of is all you need to have your family waking up to the sweet, sweet smell of Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones.


It’s the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a mixer was stirring, not even a food processor. The apple pie has been made and stuffing prepped, but what about breakfast? It’s time to impress.

It’s time to win Thanksgiving. And considering calories don’t count on this glorious 4th Thursday in November, why wouldn’t you go for the gold?



With scones it is very important that your butter and buttermilk are VERY cold. I even go as far as sticking my butter in the freezer as I assemble the rest of my ingredients. The cold clumps of butter that remain in the dough are what contribute to the flakiness of the scone. Since we are also adding apples, this scone is the perfect balance of tender and flaky. Rehydrating the cranberries also prevents the cranberries from sucking moisture out of your scone. No dry breakfast biscuit here!


I need a bigger bowl.

I went with the pastry blender method this time around, but since my bowl was so small I ended up using my fingers to break up the butter. I only recommend this if your hands double as ice packs (as mine do). Otherwise you will heat up the butter and end up with a tough, flat final product. If you choose to use a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment on medium-low speed being careful not to over mix. Clumps of butter may not all be uniform, but that is a good thing.

Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones

No rolling pin needed here! Once you dust your work surface with flour, simply turn out the dough and gently press it into a rectangle shape about 1 1/2″ thick.


Be gentle when reforming your dough. Instead of piling the dough together, mixing in extra flour and over working the dough, just squish the open spaces together and press back out to an even 1 1/2″ thick.

You can also cut these puppies into the traditional triangle shape. Press dough into a 1 1/2″ think circle. Cut the round in half horizontally, then vertically. Cut each quarter into three triangles and there you have it!


This recipe comes to you as an adaptation from the Tartine Cookbook. Typically, scones are finished off with a quick brushing of heavy cream then sprinkled with course sugar. These scones however are finished off with a little extra melted butter. Both work great, but the butter adds extra tenderness and richness.


Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones

So there you have it. Tender, rich, flaky scones with all of the flavors of the season. I wish I had more photos of the finished product, but they all disappeared too quickly (and I am sure yours will too)!

Cranberry Apple Buttermilk Scones


  • Heaping 1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice (water may be substituted)
  • 1 large (250 grams) Granny Smith apple
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 and 3/4 cups (680 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (255 grams) unsalted butter (very cold, cut in 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
  • About 3 tablespoons melted butter for brushing
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Rehydrate your cranberries in a small saucepan by heating cranberries and juice (or water) on medium heat for about 8 minutes or until plump. Set aside to cool. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan. Peel and chop apple into small cubes. Add to skillet. Allow apple to cook down for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Continue to cook an additional 5 minutes until apples are tender but hold their shape. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk for about 30 seconds to equally distribute all ingredients. Using a pastry blender cut cubes of COLD butter into flour mixture. Continue blending until blueberry-sized lumps of butter remain. Add cold buttermilk, mixing with a spoon as you pour. As the dough starts to come together add in the drained cranberries and sautéed apples. Continue to mix just until the dough holds itself together.
  3. Dust your work surface with flour. Turn dough out on to surface. Using your hands, press dough into a rectangle shape about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut out scones using a 3-inch diameter round cutter. Reshape dough by gently pressing ends together and continue cutting, being careful not to overwork the dough. Place scones on baking sheet, brush tops with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 16-20 minutes, rotating halfway, or until tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve while hot!
  4. If prepping ahead, place scones on prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to bake. Add melted butter and sugar right before baking. You can also freeze unbaked scones individually wrapped in plastic wrap. To bake, pull scones out of the freezer, unwrap, and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, add sugar, then preheat the oven. Once the oven is ready, bake as directed.

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