Winter is the coziest season to gather with friends, but it often feels super hectic because of holiday parties, travel schedules, and general end-of-year business. Still, I love making the time to host simple gatherings at home that don’t take much planning or fuss to pull off—cocktail hours, potluck dinner parties, and brunches (my favorite) are all low stress ways to get a group together.
When I am entertaining during this busy time of year (or, truthfully, any time of year), I keep things pared down—and that includes everything from setting the table to the food I serve. There is no need for elaborate place settings or menus; just put on chill holiday playlist, cook a couple of uncomplicated dishes, pick out a pretty bunch of flowers or branches, and gather at the table with friends to enjoy the season.
I always bake something simple when I am hosting brunch, and that usually means scones (or possibly roasted pears). These wholesome spelt scones use a simple formula that can be adapted to suit whatever fruit is in season. In the fall and winter, fresh, tart cranberries pair just right with orange zest and sweet vanilla, but they are equally delicious with blueberries or blackberries and a bit of lemon or lime zest in the warmer months.
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus a bit more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- Seeds of one vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- A healthy dollop of yogurt (like vanilla or plain), for serving
What fruit and flavors would you want to add to these scones for your brunch? Tell us in the comments below.
When it comes to their traditional Icelandic yogurt, siggi's keeps things simple—just like Yossy does when she's hosting a cozy holiday brunch. See all their flavors, ranging from plain (no added sugar) to several naturally-sweetened fruit varieties, here.