I love scones. All scones. Unfortunately my body doesn’t love scones. I eat just one little old scone and an hour later I feel ravenous, a little foggy, a little blue, a little out of sorts, a little irritable. I want to eat everything in site. I want to take a nap. Let’s just say that the combo of white flour and sugar in that one little scone wreaks havoc on my system and my mood.
My mission? A scone my body likes.
I’ve been playing with recipes to whittle down the “whites” and boost up healthier ingredients without compromising taste and texture. Traditional English scones tend to bit on the dry side — the perfect canvas for clotted cream and homemade jam. In this recipe I’ve tried to maintain the integrity of the scone while giving it an upgrade. The white flour is greatly reduced (in the next go-round I’ll attempt to reduce it even more and substitute spelt flour, but that’s for another day). The base is nutty, whole-grain oatmeal, which gives it a “fall apart” texture, rounded out with a bit of whole wheat and unbleached flours.
In order to reduce the dairy I substituted 2% Greek yogurt thinned with a bit of unsweetened almond milk for the buttermilk. Greek yogurt has much less whey, lactose, and sugar because it is strained. Thinned to a creamy, liquid consistency with almond milk allows it to step in for buttermilk.
The addition of figs and ginger made these scones pop. What a delicious combination. (Next time I’ll try figs and dark chocolate and/or ginger with a bit of lemon zest.) When you take these out of the oven you’ll find them to be a little on the moist side (the yogurt, figs and ginger all add to that) and delicious. Once cooled, however, they seem to “dry out” to a true scone texture. We ate them with a touch of apricot all-fruit spread.
Let the scone-making begin!
Ginger & Fig Oatmeal Scones
(Although I do not specify, I use organic ingredients wherever possible.)
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (plus a little for sprinkling on top)
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2/3 cup of Greek yogurt thinned with almond milk (start with 1/3 of a cup of yogurt and thin that and continue of add both until you reach 2/3 cup)
2-3 figs chopped
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
Milk for brushing the top
1. Raise an oven rack to its highest position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly butter). (If available, stack two baking sheets to ether. Invert the bottom baking sheet so that the top sheet sits atop the bottom sheet. This will prevent burning the bottoms on your scones.)
2. In a large bowl combine the oats, unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (You may find a whisk helpful.)
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and pop them into the dry mixture. Mix to coat the droplets of butter. Then, using your fingers, rub the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form.
4. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Beat in thinned yogurt. Pour this into the flour mixture. Stir until evenly moist.
5. Lightly flour your work surface. Place the dough onto it and knead it (about 4 times should do the trick).
6. Fold in the figs and ginger.
7. Gather the dough into a ball. Pat it into a disk 3/4 inch thick. Transfer it onto the baking sheet.
8. Cut the disk into 8 wedges (use something plastic if you are not using parchment paper). Lightly brush the wedges with milk and then sprinkle on some oats to “finish” the scones.
9. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. (I checked my scones at 20 minutes but found them ideal at 25 minutes.)