Cranberry Almond Scones

These Cranberry Almond Scones are the perfect sweet treat to go alongside a cup of tea or coffee on cold winter mornings. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.

Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends

It’s kind of amazing how well cranberries have done for themselves, considering that all on their own, they’re puckeringly tart with zero sweetness. Yet somehow, I love them, and every year I can’t resist buying a bag as soon as they hit the stores. Even if I have no idea what I’m going to do with them. (It doesn’t take me long to figure it out.)

Last year, I literally got up at three in the morning because I needed to go buy cranberries. Does this make me weird? Probably. Let’s move on.

As not-great as they are on their own, though, it doesn’t take much to turn cranberries into beautiful little gems of flavor. Their tartness is the perfect counterbalance to sweet treats, and these scones are my favorite example of how good fresh (not dried) cranberries can be.

Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends
Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends

This year, I actually knew exactly what I wanted to make when cranberries hit the stores. The idea for these scones came out of nowhere — like my brain just sucked it out of the ether and said “yep, that’s what I’m gonna make.” But I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to make them, so I started looking at recipes for inspiration… and ended up finding the most genius trick ever for almond scones.

In this recipe by Judith Rae, over on Food52, she freezes a log of almond paste, then grates the hard marzipan on the big-hole side of a box grater, just like cheese. These little shreds get tossed with the dry ingredients so each one gets coated with flour and evenly dispersed. When the scones bake, they melt into the dough, spreading a perfectly even layer of almond flavor throughout.

The almond paste also lends a lovely, very slight chewiness to the inside of these scones that I can’t get enough of. It’s an addictive texture that almost forces you to slow down and savor every bite.

Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends
Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends

I made some changes to that recipe based on my previous scone experience, and am super happy with the way these came out. Hands down, they are the best scones I have ever made… but the credit really does go to Judith over at Food52 for introducing me to the grated-almond-paste trick.

You can bet I’m going to be stashing my almond paste in the freezer from now on, and grating it into all my almond flavored desserts.

Cranberry Almond Scones | Will Cook For Friends

These scones are golden and crispy around the edges, tender on the inside, and have just the slightest bit of chewiness from the almond paste that makes them extra satisfying. They are just the right level of sweetness for a decadent breakfast or a light dessert, and the little grenades of fresh cranberry are a welcome burst of brightness amid all the almond flavor.

I sent some to work with my husband to share with his coworkers, and one of them declared these to be even better than the scones he grew up with back in England. I’d call that a success!

Do you have a favorite scone flavor? Share in the comments below!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Almond Scones
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These scones are lightly crisp at the edges and tender inside, with just a tiny bit of chewiness from the almond paste. The fresh cranberries burst open in the oven and the little pops of tartness are great against the sweet almond scone. Before making this recipe, be sure to put your almond paste in the freezer well in advance so it's frozen solid when you're ready to use it!
Serves: makes 8 large scones
Dry ingredients:
  • 3 cups (380g.) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ⅓rd cup (76g.) sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 TBSP (3oz.) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 7 oz. almond paste, frozen (I used this one)
  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup milk, or almond milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (can substitute white vinegar if you want)
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the top:
  • 1-2 TBSP milk, for brushing
  • 3-5 TBSP sliced almonds
  • 1-2 TBSP coarse sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F., and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first five dry ingredients (the flour to the salt). Add the cubed butter, and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter (or, transfer everything to a food processor and pulse a few times) until the butter is in pea-sized chunks.
  3. Grate the almond paste on the large-hole side of a box grated. Using your fingers, gently mix the shreds into the dry ingredients so each one is separate and coated with flour. Mix in the cranberries.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet, and stir until everything is just evenly combined.
  5. Sprinkle some flour on your cutting board or counter, and turn the dough out of the bowl. Gently shape the dough into a mound, and pat the mound into a disc about 1 inch thick. (If you want to make twice as many smaller scones, you can split the dough in half and make two smaller discs.)
  6. Brush the top with milk, and sprinkle evenly with sliced almonds and sugar -- I like to gently pat the almonds into the top of the dough to make sure they stick. Using a long knife, divide the dough into 8 even triangles (like you would a pie).
  7. Place each scone on your prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of space between them. Bake on the center rack for about 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown. (If you made smaller scones, reduce the baking time and keep a close eye on them.)
  8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in. Scones are best eaten right away, while they are still a little warm and lightly crisp at the edges, but they will keep well for up to 4-5 days. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream, creme fraiche, or clotted cream.
Whenever I have leftover cranberries from a recipe like this, I sugar the extra. Making sugared cranberries is super easy, and the results are gorgeous for garnishing the plate. Plus, they're fun to eat! You can find the method for sugaring cranberries in the recipe notes for this recipe: Cranberry Orange Aperitifs

This recipe is adapted from these almond scones from Food52. Credit goes to them for the grated-almond-paste trick -- thanks, Judith Rae!

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17 Responses to Cranberry Almond Scones

  1. Karlie December 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    oh my these look amazing! I’ve never cooked with almond paste now I have a reason. Agreed with the sentiments on cranberries.. they’re not sweet but somehow irresistible?

    • Willow Arlen December 13, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

      Thanks, Karlie! I’ve only used almond paste a few times myself, but it really adds something special to these scones. I hope you try them!

  2. Lauren @ Lauren Caris Cooks December 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    Wow! These look divine Willow! I absolutely adore anything almond, and grating cold almond paste into the batter is a genius idea, I bet it makes the texture gorgeous and squidgy too! I love cranberries too, might have to try and make a vegan version of these gorgeous scones!

    • Willow Arlen December 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm #

      Thanks Lauren! You should definitely give them a go. I bet a vegan butter would work in these, and almond milk is an easy sub for the cows milk. If you do try them, I’d love to hear how they turn out and what substitutions you make!

  3. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert December 13, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

    Made these last Christmas and loved them! Brilliant use of almond paste. Love your version too.

    • Willow Arlen December 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      That’s awesome, Tricia! If you like cranberries, you should definitely try this version. The little pops of cranberry tartness are my favorite part!

  4. Abby @ Heart of a Baker December 15, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Ohh cranberry and almonds are such a perfect pair! Those little pops are too perfect for the holiday season :)

    • Willow Arlen December 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

      Thanks, Abby! They do go SO well together, and they would be a fantastic treat for the holidays!

  5. Jennifer Farley December 15, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Cranberry scone twins! These are beautiful :)

    • Willow Arlen December 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Heheh, thanks, Jennifer! Your scones were gorgeous, I can’t wait to try them. I almost want to make them both for the holidays, a sweet and a savory. :)

  6. Caroline December 15, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    I love baking with almond paste! It really amps up the almond flavor and like you said…those bits of paste throughout melt into the dough and are so decadent! Scones may be my favorite thing to bake…I’d love to make these for Christmas morning!

    • Willow Arlen December 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Thanks, Caroline! Isn’t almond paste awesome? I’m just starting to bake with it and I love the flavor and texture it adds. Do you have a favorite almond paste recipe? I’d love to hear what it is!

  7. Ruby & Cake December 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    You take such beautiful shots of food – i get hungry as soon as I click over to your blog. I love the idea of putting almonds and cranberries into scones – perfect for Christmas.

    • Willow Arlen December 17, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      Aw, thank you so much, Ruby! That means a lot coming from you, because I feel the same looking at your blog. :)

  8. Kristi December 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    OMG! Made these on friday, they are the bomb! Love the crunch on the outside and the moist inside. Cranberries are a perfect pop of tartness! Thank you for this recipe… making again soon!

    • Willow Arlen December 19, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      This makes me so happy, Kristi, thank you for taking the time to comment! I’m so glad you liked these scones, sounds like they turned out perfectly. Reminds me I need to make another batch myself!

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