Holiday Giving: Cranberry Orange Scone Mix in a Jar

December 14, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

cranberry orange scone mix

In my family, we always eat the same breakfast on Christmas morning. It consists of eggs cooked sunny-side up, crispy turkey bacon and a warm bread product. Some years, it’s crusty sourdough bread. Others, we toast slices of panattone. Last year, upon my father’s request, I made a batch of bear claws (they were good but deeply imperfect). Of all our breakfast breads, I think my very favorite was a batch of cranberry orange scones.

jar with funnel

It’s a recipe my mother plucked off the internet some years back and was so easy and good that I asked her to send it to me. I’ve made them many times in the last four years (the recipe print-out is dated 2006) and now, I’ve adapted the recipe to make a gift out of the mix. I’ve managed to get the whole thing into a pint jar, save the 1 egg, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 a cup of buttermilk that the recipient will have to provide. Gifted with a jar of homemade jam, it becomes a Christmas breakfast kit that I think many a household would be happy to have.

filling the jar

You begin with a pint jar. If you’re preparing a batch for particularly good friends, I recommend using a lovelier than average jar. I’ve pulled a sturdy, vintage one from my collection to use here and I think it adds to the charm of the gift. Layer 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (sea salt is best if you have it) into the jar. Put the lid on and give it a good shake, so that ingredients integrate. Once they are combined, make sure to tap the jar gently on the counter a few times, to better compress the ingredients into the jar.

orange sugar

Measure out 1/4 cup of sugar into a small jar and grate the zest of one orange into it. Use your fingers to work the zest into the sugar. The sugar will act as a preservative and will help the orange zest maintain its fragrance and flavor longer than if you just heaped the zest into the jar on its own (a small jar of orange infused sugar would make a tasty gift all on its own as well).

cranberry orange scone mix

Pack the orange sugar on top of the flour (if your orange sugar is very moist, laying a small piece of plastic wrap between the flour level and the sugar level will extend the shelf life quite a bit. Just make sure to tell your recipient to look out for it) and finish the jar off with 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Should you realize as you’re making up a jar that you’re actually out of dried cranberries, feel free to substitute dried blueberries. Had I not already written up the recipe card, I would have simply called these blueberry orange scones, but that’s what I get for my poor pantry maintenance.

Write the following instructions on a small card (if you’re doing a number of these, feel free to print it up on the computer. Though, the handwritten touch is nice, provided your penmanship is legible).

1. Empty the contents of this jar into a bowl.
2. Cut 1/4 cup of butter into the flour.
3. Beat 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 egg together. Add them to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
4. Once combined, turn out batter onto a cookie sheet and pat into a circle.
5. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden on top.
7. Serve with jam.

One thing to note is that this scone mix doesn’t have the longest shelf life ever, so do try to gift it soon after mixing.

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43 thoughts on "Holiday Giving: Cranberry Orange Scone Mix in a Jar"

  • I love this idea! I have a million jars (I just can’t seem to throw them away!) Making the orange sugar is another great idea as well. I shall have to save this for next year! (*This year is too late!)

    1. Note that buttermilk in a recipe can be substituted with whole milk and vinegar (1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 tsp cider vinegar)

  • Jason, I’m sorry I didn’t get this post up sooner. I need to remember that not everyone is a gift procrastinator like I am.

  • You have no idea how much this idea made me smile! I have a book devoted to mason jar cookie kits just like this one, but I wanted to pair it with a jar of my Alaskan Spiced Blueberry jam, and this would be PERFECT! Thanks so much for the great idea.

    Also, adding a pinking sheared circle of fabric under the ring makes a particularly nice addition. 😉

  • I know what the door prize at my christmas-craft party will be! I may use diced dried apples, as I’m not sure of my dried cranberry supply either. How long would you say this lasts? I would like to put an ‘expiration’ date on it so it gets used in a timely manner.

    1. Emily, you could replace the cranberries with dried apples. As far as the expiration date goes, I’d say no more than a few weeks.

  • I am ‘really’ new to canning. So new, that I’ve only gotten as far as buying some supplies, am doing a ‘lot’ of reading & signing up for newsletters like yours to learn as much as I can.

    One thing I was wondering when reading your post was, could you put the blueberries (and maybe the sugar/zest) into separate wrappings (snack sized baggies) and place an oxygen packet into the jar? Would that make the shelf life longer?

    Please accept my inexperienced, newbie question ;0)

    Sounds delicious, though & can’t wait until I’m confident in canning!

    1. Jean, you could bag everything up individually. Or you could just put a piece of plastic wrap between the flour level and the sugar level. That’s the thing that compromises the shelf life, the contact of the moist sugar with the flour mixture.

  • Thanks so much for posting this great gift idea! We give mostly canned goodies for Christmas gifts. This will be a great addition!

  • Great idea! One suggestion: since not everyone has buttermilk on hand, why not add that buttermilk powder to the jar (I think the brand is Saco?). Then the recipient only needs butter, egg, and water. Is there a reason that wouldn’t work? I guess you’d want to try to keep it away from the baking powder in the jar, but if you put it under the flour I would think it’d be ok.

    1. Caitlin, I did think about using buttermilk powder. The problem with it is that the dried buttermilk powder I have needs to be refrigerated after opening. I didn’t want to add the extra step and require my recipients to keep their jar of scone mix in the fridge.

  • This is perfect timing. I’m preparing gift boxes for some relatives who moved away FROM Cape Cod to Arizona, and cranberry stuff is very “big” in our family. I’ve been looking for some scone mix to tuck in with the jam I’msending.

    1. You can make your own buttermilk substitute by adding 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice to a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filling up with milk. Let sit for 10 minutes. There you go!

      1. Thanks for the homemade buttermilk formula, Amanda! You can also substitute some thinned down yogurt for the buttermilk.

  • Thank you for this idea! I have a friend who doesn’t like whole wheat flour. Do you think I could just use regular white flour? And if so, does the flour have to be pastry flour?

    And to clarify: the sugar keeps the zest from molding? We live in a real damp environment, so I thought I would check on this.

    1. You could certainly substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat. And you don’t have to use pastry flour in that case, just regular. The sugar keeps the zest from molding for awhile, but it’s not a long-term panacea. I’d recommend to your recipients that they use it within a few weeks.

  • Hi Marisa,
    Is that Ball Perfect Mason an antique jar or are they still making them? If they are still making them, any idea where I could get a case of them? Can’t seem to find them online and it’s just such a lovely jar 🙂

  • What a lovely gift, Marisa. Love the addition of orange sugar. I made some cookies a couple weeks ago that you roll in orange sugar, and had gobs of the sugar leftover. This would’ve been a perfect use for it!

  • I will be using this idea for several gifts. One thing that would be great with it – that tangerine dust that you (at least I think it was you)wrote about last year. I made that for my sister and she loved it. Of course I can’t think of what exactly it was called and I have misplaced the recipe. Can you help? Thanks

  • I think Lynn’s question and your answer may have already answered my question – I have dehydrated orange peel so I could mix that with the sugar for a longer shelf life?

  • This is a lovely idea; I was thinking recently of scones and my favorite are the orange cranberry ones; I will make this!

  • I could add nuts to this and it would work just fine? Hoping so because I have lots of walnuts to use up and I think it’d taste great…

  • What a fab idea! the orange sugar smells amazing… never thought of this before… ive substituted a few dried fruits sultana’s, dried apricots worked really well and dried cranberries just look great to give!

    thanks for the idea!

  • OMG Marisa — that is the cutest idea. Thank you! I made up 4 jars this weekend and if I will be making 4 more after I pick up some more cranberries and oranges on my way home tonight. I put a short little jar of blueberry lemon vanilla jam from The Blue Chair cookbook on top of each and wrapped with cellophane with Christmas ribbon and as my forte is graphic creations the instruction card is displayed through the cellophane. I am sure I will be using this for years to come. Next year will have to make tons more of the little jam jars as they are perfect to sit on the top and just the right amount. Of course, at the end I noticed about “not the longest shelf life” but I gotta think they will last a week, yes? My only concern being the rind with the moisture although I gotta think the sugar helps preserve that long enough to mix it up on Christmas morning if made up in advance? I’m keeping them in a very cold back bedroom for the time being. Thanks again — I LOVE this idea.

  • I tested these with Lemon Sugar which I had in my pantry already and used 1/2 tbsp lemon juice & regular milk to make my “buttermilk”. These were popular on Sunday morning so I went ahead and gifted one to my SIL at our family Christmas on Sunday afternoon. I also grabbed the orange peel from my husband’s orange on Sunday and am now ready for the Orange version. Thank you, Cathy

  • I tested these with Lemon Sugar which I had in my pantry already and used 1/2 tbsp lemon juice & regular milk to make my “buttermilk”. These were popular on Sunday morning so I went ahead and gifted one to my SIL at our family Christmas on Sunday afternoon. I also grabbed the orange peel from my husband’s orange on Sunday and am now ready for the Orange version. Thank you, Cathy

  • I like this idea. I am thinking you could used dried orange or lemon zest to increase the shelf life. I would still put the fruit in a baggie or plastic wrap to keep it moist though. You can usually buy the dried zest at the grocery store by the spices, but you could probably also vest the fruits and put it in the oven on low temp (or a dehydrator if you have one). I think this needs to go on my list of things to remember for later.

  • I love this! I am planning on making half the christmas gifts this year. My mother in law LOVES stuff like this. Thank you for posting it 🙂

  • My 4 year old daughter LOVES scones and asked to make a “scone in a jar mix” for Christmas gifts – this is perfect!!!

  • Anyone else think the amount of flour is too low? My dough comes out really wet, and there is no patting it into a circle because it just sticks to everything. I thought scone.dough was similar to regular biscuits.

  • I just tested them and found them too wet so I added 3/4 cups more of flour and they worked perfectly!
    Very yummy.