How to Make Healthy, Whole Grain Fruit Scones (Recipe)
How long do you have to incubate an idea before making it a reality? Ever since the boys left elementary school and the comfort of both morning and afternoon snacks, I’ve tried to get them to take something to school to bridge the hunger gap between their very early home breakfast and school lunch break. Every time I suggested taking along a nutritious and tasty baked good for a mid-morning snack, I was basically told that those two are mutually exclusive – a common misconception.
Last weekend, I was finally motivated to come up with a healthy, delicious scone recipe that was easy on the butter and sugar, packed with whole grains and rounded out with fruit, nuts and just the teensiest bit of chocolate so they could masquerade as a “treat.” Granted, your definition of healthy comes into play here, but with minimal fat and sugar, these really do fit the bill quite nicely.
The recipe was inspired by one torn from the pages of an unknown magazine more years ago than I care to admit, that’s been languishing in the back of my file for more years than I’d like to think about. (Thankfully, there’s no date on it to remind me how long this idea has been in the “incubator.”) When school started I unearthed it and placed it in the cookbook/recipe holder on our kitchen counter where it sat, mocking me, for weeks.
On weekday mornings I’d think how easy they would be to whip up after dinner. And once dinner was over, a weekend afternoon seemed like a far better time for a baking project – even a small one. Now that half a dozen or so weekends have past since school started and the holidays are just a – shhh — whisper away, I decided it was high time to get this off – or rather on – my plate.
Sunday morning as I was sipping my coffee I began tinkering with the original recipe and soon enough I had something I was ready to give a whirl. The resulting scones are far more snack-like than treat-like and I thought about perhaps replacing some of the whole wheat pastry flour with a little all-purpose flour and maybe adding a little more sugar. And as I thought, one by one, those little scones began to disappear. Seems tasty and nutritious aren’t so mutually exclusive after all.
These are very simple scones to make and I’ve offered a couple variation suggestions at the end of the recipe. In addition to changing up the dried fruits and nuts, you could also change the spices to suit your taste and mood. A little vanilla extract would be good in some cases and, of course, you could always add a little more dark chocolate. Remember how healthy that is?
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1 – 6oz container plain low fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup low fat milk
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- ½ cup chopped, toasted almonds
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped dark chocolate
- 2 Tbsp milk
- Raw or granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Beat sugar and butter with a mixer until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk lemon zest into flour mix and add to the mixing bowl with the sugar and butter. Mix briefly and fold in oats.
- Combine yogurt, milk and olive oil and add to batter. Mix briefly until well-combined. Gently fold in cherries, almonds and chocolate with a rubber spatula.
- Scoop small mounds of dough onto a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper or lightly greased.
- If desired, brush tops of scones with a little milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until light brown.
Variations: Lemon Blueberry – Omit cherries, almonds and chocolate, increase lemon zest to 3 teaspoons and add 1 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries.
Cranberry Walnut – Replace cherries and almonds with 3/4 cup dried cranberries and ½ cup chopped walnuts. Chocolate would probably be good with this as well.
Apricot Ginger – Replace cherries and almonds with ¾ cup slivered, dried apricots and 2 tablespoons chopped, candied ginger. Chocolate would definitely be good with this variation!