Scones, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… almond scones, swirled cloudberry scones, coconut chocolate chip scones, cranberry orange scones, dark chocolate tangerine scones… For today’s picnic, wholesome almond lingonberry scones.
The scone itself is a handheld delight. It is the perfect size not to share and it pairs perfectly with a freshly brewed cup of French roast. Its base recipe is the ideal vehicle with which to switch up a few ingredients in order to transform this pastry from sweet to savory. Although, I generally like to keep this one sweet. The ultimate scone will have a crunchy exterior and a buttery, flaky interior.
Butter and cream. Of course those are the key ingredients. Add in some sugar and some white flour. There you have the quintessential list for a heart attack, right? So, how could I alter this recipe and still have a treat I wouldn’t have to apologize for before I serve it. “Here are some freshly made wholesome scones, Jack. Sorry, they may be a bit dry and flavorless. That’s because I used whole wheat flour and no sugar to make it healthy. Enjoy them. They’re good for you!”
We interrupt this blog writing to go shoot a bear! Please stand by.
In the middle of the photo shoot for the scones, we received an urgent text message. “Bear in the creek right below my house! I think it’s eating grass. It’s a big one!” Ah, a day in the life of chefs and photographers. Within a skinny minute, we had the scone shoot safely stowed inside (away from the magpies), lenses changed, tripods attached, bear spray in hand and we were out the door. Sure enough, Big Boy was filling up on a tasty snack of plants while patiently waiting for the salmon run to get into full swing. This guy looks like he’s packed away plenty of calories already!
Back to the scones…
Summertime means finding ocean bright salmon to fish for and searching for ripe blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries (known locally as low bush cranberries). Summer also means it’s time to empty out the freezer of the remaining items stockpiled from last year. Down to the final fillets of salmon, a few quarts of blueberries, and a bag of lingonberries, this is a fun and easy task.
My reinvented scone recipe had lingonberries written all over it. I had a half a gallon of the bright red beauties waiting in the freezer door. To keep this recipe healthy, I wanted unsweetened fruit – so no Craisins allowed. This recipe resulted in fewer calories, half the fat, lower cholesterol, lower salt, three times the fiber, a third of the sugar, and more protein – and yet, it passed the Jack taste test with flying colors.
Have you ever gone to a bakery and ordered a bran muffin? They’re usually not very tasty, right? But you feel like you did something good for your body by ordering one. Well, this recipe resulted in scones that are waaayyy better than those muffins. If I went into a bakery and found this scone on the “healthy menu” I would actually be excited! It has the nice crunchy texture you want on the outside. The scone is soft and moist on the inside and rises nicely in craggy peaks. It has a subtle sweetness from the little bit of sugar. The lingonberries are downright sour, but in the best possible way. For our picnic, I did sweeten them up a bit by bringing along a jar of banana lingonberry jam to turn the scones into a dessert.
Wholesome Almond Lingonberry Scones
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ stick unsalted butter, frozen
- ¾ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 cup frozen lingonberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together first six ingredients.
- Grate butter into flour mixture (use largest shredding holes of a cheese grater).
- Toss butter shreds in flour but keep them separated – not clumped.
- In a smaller bowl mix together yogurt, egg, and extracts.
- Use a fork to stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Fold in lingonberries and ½ of the almonds.
- Break the dough into eight pieces.
- Place each piece onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in center of oven for 18-27 minutes.
- When the scones are done, a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean. Mine needed a few more minutes than 18.
- Let cool for a few minutes and serve. Or store in an airtight container to serve later.