Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple Oat Scones

As much as I love to bake, that love is tempered by the amount my jeans will stretch. So I'm always looking for a way to healthy-up a baking recipe - reducing the sugar and butter, and making sure there's lots of nutrition packed in. Granted, my holiday baking doesn't reflect this at all, because I think christmas cookies just need to be the real deal. But most of the time, a few simple tweaks can make a recipe both tasty and healthy enough to eat every day.

Some of my favorite tricks are substituting part or all whole-grain flours for white flour, reducing sugar by 25% or so, or replacing sugar with honey or maple syrup, swapping butter or oil for applesauce or pumpkin puree. Adding some form of nuts and/or fruit both adds flavor and nutrition content. And in short order, I can have a whole new recipe. Occasionally, a few too many swaps will turn the recipe into something unrecognizable. But other times, the recipe is a definite keeper, like these scones.

Apple oat scones

Enjoy these for breakfast or as a snack. They're best if you warm them for a few seconds in the microwave. Top them with butter and honey if you like, but I enjoy them just as they are. 

Apple Oat Scones
These are slightly sweet, with a fantastic nutty flavor from the grains. To make oat flour, process oatmeal in a food processor until you reach a flour-like consistency. 
Yield: 16 scones

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups oat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup milk or almond milk, plus additional for brushing.

1. Combine flours, baking powder, salt,  and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter in using a pastry cutter or a fork, until the mixture is slightly crumbly. Stir in the almonds and apple.
2. In a second bowl, combine maple syrup, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir to combine, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture comes together. It will be fairly dry, but be sure all of the flour is incorporated.
3. On a baking sheet lined with parchment, scoop out about 1/4 cup dough at a time, and shape each into a slightly flattened disc. Brush the top with milk, and transfer the sheet to the freezer. (Note: you can put all the scones on the same sheet for this step, then separate them for baking). 
4. Freeze for about 20 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Remove the scones from the freezer (divide between two trays if needed, leave about 2" between each scone), and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then remove to a wire rack. Enjoy warm. 

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