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Orange Almond Buttermilk Scones


3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 roll almond paste, 7 ounces, chilled
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Sugar and crushed almonds, optional garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or butter and flour them.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
3. Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or food processor until mixture has a coarse texture, with small-pea-size pieces of butter visible.
4. Using the large-hole side of a box grater, grate the chilled almond paste into the bowl of flour mixture and toss until completely mixed in.
5. In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, mix orange rind, buttermilk, 1 egg and almond extract, until well blended.
6. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir vigorously until dough forms a ball.
7. Turn out onto a lightly floured work table and knead 6 to 8 turns. Shape into a rectangle and roll out to a 1/2 inch thickness.
8. Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out scones and place on the cookie sheets.
9. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with a tablespoon of water. Use this to brush the tops of the scones.
10. If desired, sprinkle the tops with sugar and-or crushed almonds.
11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks.

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