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Friday, January 22, 2010

Orange-Jamaica (hibiscus flower) Scones

While shopping at Trader Joe’s one day, I noticed a package of dried hibiscus calyces, known in Mexico as jamaica. I love hibiscus herbal tea, and the package was pretty cheap, so I couldn’t resist.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised! The flowers have a sweet flavor – almost like a cross between strawberries and cranberries without the tartness. Very tasty. I decided they’d be good in scones. A quick internet search yielded 0 hibiscus scone recipes (go figure), so I modified a cranberry scone recipe instead.

Orange-Jamaica (hibiscus flower) Scones

4 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries*
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

*Of course, I used the dried hibiscus flowers in place of cranberries for this recipe.

I didn’t use unsalted butter, and I should have. Or less salt. The scones turned out a bit too salty for my liking. Otherwise, they’re pretty good.

I still have a few flowers left, but I may have to buy more, because I found an awesome hibiscus flower agua fresca recipe that I am dying to try.


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  2. Let's not forget about what hibiscus flowers can be used for! Not only herbal tea, but also cocktails: try them with champagne for instance.

  3. excellent! i just made a batch of jamaica agua and several concentrates for freezing in popsicle molds. i have a huge batch of the left over jamaica flower this recipe will be great -- instead of thowing it out i am going to use the moist flower "leftovers" in place of the cranberries.