#SamLikesItHot: Cranberry calamansi scones

Sam Oh
To give scones a local twist, I swapped orange for calamansi

LET'S SIT AND SCONE A WHILE. Make your own scones, set the mood for a wonderful bonding with mom. Photo by Sam Oh

MANILA, Philippines – You weren’t one of those people who totally forgot about Mother’s Day, were you?

Admittedly, I’m not the best at keeping track of these things, either (and the times it slipped my mind, I frantically made up for it) but I made it a point to treat my Mom to something special this year. 

Rewind to about a month ago. I went to brunch with a friend at TWG (tea heaven!) and I fell head over heels for scones. Dotted with golden raisins, they were golden brown and crisp outside while soft, buttery and slightly chewy inside.

Served warm with clotted cream and tea jelly, they were so delicious with my fruity red tea that I just had to order another serving. They made quite on impression on me!

Cut to Mother’s Day and I thought that, aside from the dinner I planned to cook for her, some mother-daughter bonding time over (iced) tea and scones would be a treat for both of us. Besides, I had been lusting after one of Martha Stewart’s scone recipes since that brunch, one that featured cranberries and orange zest.

It was time. To give them a local twist, I swapped orange for calamansi.

To make cranberry and calamansi scones, you’ll need:


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ t calamansi zest
  • 5 T cold butter
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk 

1. When I started baking, I used to measure butter with a cup or spoon. It was messy and greasy, a total drag. And then a chef told me that the standard 225 gram bar of butter is a cup. This completely changed my baking experience!

In this case where 5 tablespoons of butter is needed, a little math is required. Keeping in mind that 4 tablespoons is a quarter cup, cut your butter into 4 equal parts. Set one part aside.

Take one of the quarters and cut a 4th of it. Voila, 5 tablespoons! The butter needs to be very cold so keep it in the freezer until needed.

2. Buttermilk isn’t readily available in supermarkets but you can easily make a substitute. To make the required 2/3 cup, add 1 T of vinegar into your measuring cup and fill the rest of the way with milk. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. You’ll see the milk turn lumpy right away. Fascinating!

Photo by Sam Oh

3. While waiting for your buttermilk, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and calamansi zest into a medium bowl and whisk with a fork.

A note on calamansi zest: I felt pretty ridiculous taking a zester to the tiny fruit. Use a fine grater instead and be gentle. 

Photo by Sam Oh

4. Add cold butter into the bowl and cut using a pastry cutter. This can also be done in a food processor.

The objective is to cut the butter into somewhat uniform pieces the size of peas.

Photo by Sam Oh

5. Create a well in the center and pour in buttermilk substitute. Mix well. So pretty with the specks of green calamansi zest!

Photo by Sam Oh

6. Add dried cranberries and mix some more to distribute.

Photo by Sam Oh

7. Transfer the dough on to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and flatten with your hands to form a disc about a quarter of an inch thick.

Bake in an oven preheated to 200 C until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Photo by Sam Oh

Mother-daughter tea time bonding starts…now!

Photo by Sam Oh

Tart cranberry and an undercurrent of citrus enveloped in a warm, buttery haze — that’s cranberry and calamansi scones for you. Because they were pretty flavorful on their own, I skipped the jam and served them with cream cheese and honey instead.

I also flavored the iced green tea with a splash of mango nectar. Not too shabby for tea time at home, right?

My Mom enjoyed the scones and tea immensely, although I have a sneaking suspicion that she was just happy to sit down and talk with me. Perhaps we should make this a monthly thing?

There’s a wealth of scone recipes to try…but there aren’t enough scones in the world to express how much I appreciate and love my Mom.

Belated happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Moms out there! – Rappler.com

Check out our other recipes:

Sam Oh

Sam Oh is a professional TV and events host, radio jock, and foodie wannabe. Catch her on radio at 99.5 PlayFM, Monday to Friday, 6am-10am in “The Playground” with Tim Yap and Nikko. She is also a food blogger at Sam Likes It Hot. If you have questions or recipe requests, email desk@rappler.com with subject heading SAM LIKES IT HOT.


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