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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Raisin Scones

In a busy world, where more and more families spend increasing amounts of their budgets on eating out and commercial food, sometimes you just want home baked goodness. It is a form of love embodied in flour, sugar and butter. It can be self-love when you deserve a treat, love for your neighbors, or love for a friend. But no matter how you slice it or slather it in butter, baked goods are always welcome.

In our department we have a lovely tradition of rallying to help cook meals for the new parents in our department. One of my good friends, Berit, is set to give birth any day now. Unfortunately, all the sociologists are heading out of town for our big annual conference (which has also been keeping me busy at the laptop and out of the kitchen). So before we all head out, I decided to make her a few treats to have on hand so that if the baby comes, she'll have tasty, nutritious, homemade food easily available.

I whipped up a pot of my to-die-for chicken tortilla soup (post forthcoming), and then decided to do something that could cover that breakfast/midnight snack territory. It didn't take me long to decide on scones...they've been practically an obsession since late spring (Old Fashioned Irish Raisin Spice, my new fave Lemon Cherry and an attempt at Margarita Lime scones that wasn't good enough to warrant your attention, but wasn't bad enough to qualify for the follies). I knew I wanted something hearty, so whole wheat was definitely going in the mix. I also knew that I had some buttermilk in my fridge that I wanted to use up, so I decided to hunt around for a good buttermilk-based scone recipe.

The result is a delicious, satisfying, and hearty snack with a good hint of sweetness. An indulgence that won't break the caloric bank, this recipe is great for expectant mothers and regular folk alike.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Raisin Scones

This recipe is modified from Baking Sheet's Buttermilk Scones

Makes 6 medium scones.

1 cup + 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter, very cold
5 tbsp buttermilk
2 tsp Mexican vanilla
1/4 cup (packed) raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

For topping:
1 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp sugar in the raw

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and stir well to combine. Remove the cold butter from the fridge or freezer (I use mine directly from the freezer). Using a knife, cut or shave the butter into small pieces. Then rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles very coarse sand. Add the buttermilk and vanilla, stir to combine. It will come together into a wet dough. Add the raisins and stir to distribute well. The dough should be sticky and wet, but firm enough to hold its shape and not runny.

Roll the dough into a ball and then press gently into a disc about an inch thick. Place the disc of dough onto a well seasoned baking stone or a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut the dough disk into six wedges. Separate the wedges so there is at least an inch between each of them. Working with your finger or a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides with 1 tbsp buttermilk (total for all) and sprinkle generously with the coarse sugar.

Bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned.
Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve warm with butter.

Because a reader asked, here is the estimated nutritional content of each scone, based on making 6 medium scones (based on Calorie Count)

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Serving Size 75 g
Calories 188
Calories from Fat 59
Total Fat 6.6g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 16mg
Sodium 161mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.9g
Dietary Fiber 3.2g
Sugars 10.6g
Protein 4.1g

Vitamin A 4% • Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 8% • Iron 5%


UFRV said...

Gosh, those look so good! I've never had scones before (well, I live outside the US), so I think I'm going to give those a try! Wish me luck!

Any idea on how to "make" buttermilk, I'm afraid it's not an item I can find in the supermarket around here.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

UFRV-Good luck sconing! When you are done loving these hearty medium scones, be sure to give the lemon cherry scones a go as well.

And I do know how to make buttermilk: add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir briefly and then continue with the recipe as written. The only thing I would suggest is that while I have great luck baking with low fat buttermilk, I do not find the same results when I convert low fat (skim) milk to buttermilk. Buttermilk itself is pretty thick, so be sure to use at least 2% milk. If you aren't shy of calories, I actually think half and half would be even better. If you are using a milk+vinegar for buttermilk sub you may also want to add the liquids carefully. I believe that it might be better to only use 4 Tbsp of the sub in the recipe rather than the full 5.

Happy baking!

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Wow, what an amazing tradition - cooking food for new parents. Where are you located? I can't imagine something like that happening in NYC! (If you tell me you're in NYC I'll fall off my chair.)

The scones look and sounds delish!

Jescel said...

what a thoughtful friend you are... i'd love to sample your corn tortilla chips and some of those scones.. i've made your chewy cookies, by the way. but they were gone before I could take photos of 'em. 'twas very good..i mixed dried cranberries and raisins together. yum!

Kate / Kajal said...

They really look fantastic Erin, i'm yet a scone virgin, never tried to make them. Definitely bookmarking this recipe for the day i get down to doing it ! Thanks !

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I find making scones really comforting. I appreciate your healthy take on them too.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

Ari: I'm not in NYC, so you are safe in your seat. But I do live in Chicago. One thing I love about our city is that it is a big city that just doesn't behave that way. We're still busy thinking we are just another midwestern town.

jescel: glad the cookie recipe worked out for you. those definitely went into my "heavy rotation" file fast. Anything I'm compelled to make twice within the first month is a big win in my book. Cranberries sound great of course.

kate: I held back on making scones for a long time, but now there's no turning back.

Susan: these are definitely comfort food. lip smacking comfort.

Susan said...

I love scones but have never tried whole wheat ones..these are on my "must try" list. Thanks for the recipe.

vb said...

So glad to see someone else using whole wheat flour when baking. These look delicious. I happened to have a scone pan too. Hmmmm.......

Kaissa said...

I came across this recipe by googling for whole wheat scones. This is exactly what I was looking for! I didn't have buttermilk so I used your substituion and it worked perfectly. I have made these three times in three weeks! I take one to work for breakfast every day. Last weekend when I made them I modified the recipe a tiny bit - I added dried cranberries instead of raisins, threw in a tablespoon (or so) of orange zest and continued as directed. When they came out of the oven I but a tiny bit of glaze made from powdered sugar and oj on top, then sprinkled with chopped pecans. Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous recipe!!!

Melissa said...

Oh lady, you have made me so happy! I made your lemon-cherry scones for a potluck last week and loved them, but for everyday snacking purposes I wanted something with a little more fiber. So I decided to try out this one. How delightful! The smell, the nice texture, the crusty sugar on top...ahh. Finally, a happy substitute for high calorie, store bought, no fiber scones! Thank you much!

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet said...

Susan and VB: glad to see they caught your attention. I hope you made them with great results!

Kaissa: Woo hoo! I love to hear that any recipe was such a score it got made three times. And mmmm: I'm sure the modification to make them into the classic orange and cranberry was a winner. I have been meaning to do this myself lately, because it is one of my favorite taste combos.

Melissa: comments like that really make my day. You have put a giant smile on my face. Glad to hear you liked them!

Kara said...

I made these last night (with blueberries instead of raisins) and they were AWESOME! :) I can't wait to make them again - yum.

Lou said...

I followed your recipe to the letter and, as of this minute have just taken the scones out of the oven. My very first scones! Thank you - your recipe rocks. (PS, if I double the recipe to make more, how should I tweak the quantities?)

Erin said...

Kara & Lou: Glad to hear they turned out well! There are a number of other awesome scone recipes I've cranked out. There's blueberry scones with clementine (or orange) zest and pistachios, or my long time personal favorite: lemon cherry!

Roisin said...

Great recipe - but am having trouble working out quantities. Any chance of some metric conversions? Cant figure out how to measure Tablespoons of butter esp if it is to be from fridge or freezer - help!! My first batch were yummy but second batch not so def need help with amounts. Thanks Roisin

Erin said...

@Roisin: So sorry the metrics didn't work out. One tablespoon of butter is just a little bit more than 14 grams of butter . So the 3 Tablespoons called for in this recipe would be just shy of 42.5 grams of butter. I'm sure you'd be fine using either 42 or 43, depending on how the metric grams of butter are parceled out.

The quality of the final product is going to be ultimately more determined by your technique than whether you use a little more butter. Use cold butter and combine well but dont over mix or they will be tough.

Let me know how it works out!

Merlin said...

thank you so much! these scones are so tasty, and I really like the addition of cloves and cinnamon. I made these for a party, but ... i kind of want to eat them all myself :D
thank you!

Shakira said...

These taste amazing! Thank you! Does anyone have any idea of how many calories might be in one of these?

Erin said...

Shakira: Glad you asked! I popped on over to Calorie Count and input the recipe details and serving size to get their estimates of the nutritional information per serving, which I have now included at the end of the recipe. Not too shabby considering that Starbucks Scones have 500 plus calories!

Diana said...

WOW! I have been looking everywhere for a healthy alternative to the traditional scone that would still be tasty enough to entice my kids. These fit the bill perfectly. I made mine with cranberries and golden raisins, then brushed the tops with melted butter and tossed on some chopped walnuts in place of the buttermilk/sugar combo in the recipe. My four and two year old were lining up for seconds!

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