Monday, September 17, 2012

Makeover Monday: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Scones

As the numbers on the calendars get higher and higher, the numbers on the thermometer are getting smaller and smaller.  Thank goodness!  And with that, my baking strike is officially over.  It is still pretty warm some afternoons, but the mornings have been nice and cool.  It's the perfect weather for some morning baking!

I've made scones a few times, and have always loved them.  But scones are one of those delicious breakfast foods that can be calorie stealth bombs and end up having as much fat and sugar as a dessert.  Case in point, my sinful white chocolate chip scones with peppermint glaze.  While I am all for the occasional a.m. splurge, I appreciate having some healthier breakfast options in my arsenal as well.  And this past Saturday, I was feeling like a good girl so I whipped up a batch of these whole wheat cinnamon raisin scones.  These are still sweet and satisfying, but I tried something unheard of in a scone recipe to give them a healthy twist.  And it worked!  Go me! 

What makes most scones a less-than-healthy start to the day?  Refined flour, sugar, whole milk or cream, and lots and lots of butter.  All that chronic-disease-inducing goodness is often topped with even more sugar in the form of a glaze.  I've been there, done that!  What do these scones have that make them a breakfast treat worthy of Makeover Monday?  Whole wheat flour, Splenda, skim milk, raisins, walnuts, and canola oil.

Yes, canola oil.  Not butter.  Canola oil.  I saw canola oil listed as a healthier ingredient substitution on a recipe from the Oregon State Extension Service.  On paper, it sounds like a great idea to swap out butter, with all its saturated fat, for omega-3 rich canola oil.  But butter is what gives scones their fluffy texture.  Could canola oil really be used in a scone recipe?

There's only one way to find out!  I gave it a shot.  My main fear was that the dough would be impossible to work with.  In my experience, scone dough can be a little sticky, but it's important not to overwork it.  But to my surprise, this dough actually came together quite nicely.  And without the step of cutting in butter, these scones were probably even easier to make than any of the other recipes I have tried.

So far these scones had healthy and easy going for them.  Can they also be tasty?  They sure can!  These were well spiced, hearty, and nutty.  Without the butter, I will say the texture was maybe more like a quick bread than a scone.  But I think the swap was well worth it!  I can definitely recommend these yummy whole wheat treats to anyone looking for a delicious breakfast treat that you can actually feel good about eating.

Oh oven, how I've missed you!

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Scones
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Splenda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup fat free buttermilk (or 1 Tbsp vinegar + enough skim milk to make 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Stir in raisins and walnuts.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk (or vinegar and milk mixture) and oil.  Add to dry mixture and stir gently just until starting to come together.
Knead dough 2-3 times just until dough forms a ball.  Pat into a circle, about 6 inches wide.  Cut into 8 wedges.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet.  Bake 18-20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Oregon State Extension Service.

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