I’m stuck on darling little clementines. Their sweet, juicy fruit is a burst of sunshine on a gray winter day. At just 35 calories per average-sized clementine, they are a smart snack when eaten out of hand. They offer lots of fiber and a good dose of Vitamin C.
Just before Christmas, I ordered a case of organic clementines from my local natural food co-op. My grandchildren love the little citrus fruit. My three-year-old granddaughter refers to them as cuties, enunciating each syllable so that it comes out sounding like “Q-teez.” All the grandchildren were expected to be here during the holidays. Unfortunately, the flu bug came to our house during the Christmas weekend. The ones who were here got sick. The ones not here never came because of the stomach flu-infested house. I had lots of bright orange clementines left in the large, 25-pound box.
When they are stored in a cool place, like my northern Minnesota garage, they keep well for a few weeks. During that time, I’ve used the easy-peel citrus fruit in all kinds of ways. I’ve used the juice in marinades and vinaigrette and have splashed it into sparkling water for a refreshing beverage. The fruit has been tossed into salad and stirred into rice pilaf. The aromatic zest has been shaken into salad dressing and has flavored scones. Yes, scones. One of my favorite morning treats with a cup of steaming, strong, dark coffee.
The Clementine Cream Scones I write about in my column this week are flecked with chopped dried apricots and chunks of toasted pecans. Their fresh flavor comes from clementine juice and grated zest. They are heavenly.
Once I developed these Sweet Potato -Clementine Scones with Clementine Honey Glaze, it was hard for me to decide which of the two clementine-spiked scones is my favorite. To make these moist, orange-hued scones, I mashed up a baked sweet potato until I had enough to fill a 3/4-cup measure. Their tender texture is a result of the magic cream and butter and sugar create when they are stirred into scone or biscuit dough and baked at a high temperature. Clementine zest and juice add fragrance and bright flavor to the scones. Dried cranberries and broken toasted pecans add welcome texture and another layer of flavor in each bite of a Sweet Potato-Clementine Scone.
The scones are delicious just as they are, but drizzle a bit of Clementine Honey Glaze over the top, and they are impossible to resist. A long time ago I had seen a Honey Almond Glaze over on Katie Goodman’s Good Life Eats blog. She spooned the glaze over Pear Almond Scones. I used her idea to create Clementine Honey Glaze.
I ate one scone while it was still warm from the oven. I ate one for breakfast this morning. I ate another one a little while later. After all, I had to taste a scone drizzled with Clementine Honey Glaze. I can’t stop eating them. I’m serious.
I guess it’s not all bad that my house was filled with stomach-flu afflicted humans during the holidays. If we’d all felt well, we would have eaten well. There would have been no clementines left in the box for making scones.
If you are like me and just can’t get enough of sweet little clementines, you will want to check out the salad I made on Lakeland Public Television. I used clementines in the salad and in the vinaigrette. Just click HERE.
Clementine-Sweet Potato Scones with Clementine Honey Glaze
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) clementines
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
- 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup mashed baked sweet potato
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Grate the zest from all of the clementines. You should have at least 1 tablespoon of zest. The more the better.
Squeeze enough juice from the clementines to make 1/4 cup. Set zest and juice aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Cut the butter into small cubes and scatter over the dry ingredients in bowl. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This can also be done in a food processor.
Stir in chopped nuts and dried cranberries.
In a small bowl, mix mashed sweet potato with whipping cream, reserved 1/4 cup clementine and grated zest. Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients in bowl. Stir just until combined.
Scoop 1/2-cup mounds of dough on prepared baking sheets, forming 8 scones.
Bake scones in preheated 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven when scones are puffed and golden. Transfer scones to wire rack to cool completely. When scones are completely cool, drizzle with Clementine Honey Glaze. Makes 8 scones.
Clementine Honey Glaze
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon local honey
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed clementine juice
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. When glaze is smooth, drizzle over cooled scones.
Tips from the cook
- Toast pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a plate to cool. Be sure pecans are completely cool before adding to the mixing bowl.
- If you prefer smaller scones, use just ¼ cup of batter per scone and adjust baking time accordingly.