In large, heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter and heat, swirling pan often, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; strain, discarding solids in bottom of pan, and chill until firm.
Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried gingerroot, sugar, dried orange peel, and fresh orange zest into bowl of food processor with steel blade, and pulse until well blended. Cut chilled browned butter and remaining 1/2 cup cold butter into small cubes; add to flour mixture a little at a time, pulsing after each addition and until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Turn into large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup flour and candied ginger to processor bowl and process with steel blade until finely minced. Stir ginger-flour and raisins together with flour mixture in mixing bowl; make well in center.
In small bowl, combine cold buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla; pour into well and stir together just until combined. Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead together and pat into rectangle 9×13-inches and 1-inch thick. Oil or flour the blade of a very sharp knife, and cut the dough 3X4 into 12 squares. Then, cut each square diagonally to make 24 triangles. Arrange wedges well apart on parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix egg yolk and cream together; brush over tops of scones. Bake for 20 minutes at 375°F until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix sifted confectioners’ sugar and strained orange juice until smooth. Brush onto tops of scones, and sprinkle with minced ginger and orange zest, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature on same day baked.
1. For best results, use these products from Whole Foods Markets:
- Plugrá European-style butter
- King Arthur all-purpose flour
- Nielsen-Massey vanilla
2. For dried gingerroot, wash and peel gingerroot. Slice 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick or grate. Arrange slices or shreds, well separated, on foil-covered wire rack, and place in oven at 130° to 140°F for 10 to 15 hours, turning or stirring every 3 hours until dry. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 1 year.
3. For Vanilla-infused Sugar, combine 1 cup (250mL) sugar with 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) vanilla extract and mix until no lumps remain OR 1 to 2 weeks ahead, combine 1 whole vanilla bean with 1 cup (250mL) granulated sugar in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Shake the container occasionally. Allow to stand until vanilla beans flavor the sugar, 1 to 2 weeks. Remove vanilla sugar as needed and replace with an equal amount of granulated sugar. Replace vanilla beans when they give up their flavor.
4. For dehydrated orange zest, wash and dry orange. Grate the peel leaving white pith over the fruit. Arrange aluminum foil over oven rack and spread zest in single layer. Place in a cool oven at 200°F and bake for 1 hour, turning once. If it is not completely dry, turn oven off and allow zest to remain in oven for at least 1 hour longer or overnight. Store in airtight container in a dark place.
5. Do not confuse candied ginger with crystallized ginger. They are different. Both are simmered in sugar syrup until tender and then drained. Crystallized ginger is coated with coarse granulated sugar crystals while the candied is not.
6. For Candied Orange Zest, combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. With zester or vegetable peeler, remove peel from 1 medium orange and cut in very thin strips. Add to saucepan and simmer on medium-low heat for 8 minutes. Drain and dry on paper towel. Then, sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over all.
7. To prepare scones ahead, pat out rectangle onto lightly oiled baking sheet and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. Allow to thaw for 5 minutes and cut into wedges as directed above. Rearrange on a clean parchment-lined or lightly oiled baking sheet. Finish and bake as directed above.
- 1 Cup unsalted butter, divided
- 4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 4 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 Teaspoon dried gingerroot*
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla-infused sugar*
- 1 Tablespoon dehydrated orange peel*, minced
- 2 Teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup diced candied* soft ginger
- 1 Cup California raisins, coarsely chopped
- 1 cups very cold buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice with pulp
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
Glaze and Garnish
- 1 Cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons strained fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 3 Tablespoons minced crystallized ginger* (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons minced candied orange zest* (optional)