Planning family’s flavor favorites

Scones may look complicated but the process can be simple. This recipe combines sweet with tart with the familiar flavors of orange and cranberry.

Some tastes naturally go together. Can you imagine peanut butter without jelly or cookies without milk?

I am a firm believer in thinking outside the box when it comes to flavor combinations but during the holidays, I think we can agree, some combinations should stay together.

When I was growing up, we would discuss the menu for our Thanksgiving dinner and wonder if we should shake things up just a bit. One year my mother suggested a standing rib roast.

I remember her being so excited to undertake this show-stopping culinary centerpiece. She even put the frilly paper ends on the bones to make it especially festive and memorable. I remember being disappointed to not have turkey and all the other usual suspects since it was Thanksgiving.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it was delicious, as my mother rarely made anything less than stellar, but we get used to and look forward to those traditional holiday dishes. I never have heard anyone saying, “Oh gee, do we have to have green bean casserole and yams again this year?”

This holiday season most likely will look different for many of us. Smaller gatherings and less socializing will have us hungry for familiarity and taste combinations that spark nostalgia.

One of my favorite flavor combinations this time of year is orange and cranberry. That blending of sweet and tart comes together in a variety of ways between Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season. Whether in a cocktail, a muffin or my personal favorite, orange cranberry scones, this classic combination is a winner in my book.

Scones have started to make a come­­back, thanks to local coffee shops including them in their glass cases that have our mouths watering as we try to decide which sweet treat will accompany our pumpkin spice latte.

Many people see scones as a less sweet alternative to pastries or doughnuts. The addition of cranberry and orange also lends to the thought of them being almost healthy.

If you think of scones as a fancy, hard-to-make baking project, think again. Coffee shops and bakeries have discovered scones are a huge bang for your buck and super easy to make.

Here’s a recipe for simple yet delicious orange cranberry scones that will add that familiar taste profile as well as make your family feel special. They will think you toiled for hours in the kitchen, but we can keep the simplicity our little secret.

I want to stress the importance of chilling the butter and letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for a full thirty minutes. I must admit, I once got in a hurry and did not let my dough chill long enough, resulting in my scones spreading a bit more than normal, though they still tasted heavenly and there were no complaints from the family.

Just the smell and taste of orange and cranberry, that perfect combination, had us looking forward to the upcoming holidays together.

Kathy Nicarry is the former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe. Her style unites her passion for cooking with love of the natural world. She can be reached at kjsh956@yahoo.com.

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