Scone Showdown



A week or so ago I posted about enjoying masala spice tea. Well, all that tea drinking got me to thinking about scones. Traditional scone recipes often call for half and half. Normally, that would be fine but this last week I indulged in sweets quite a bit (it was Girl Scout cookie delivery week at my place of employment). With that guilt laying on my mind, I set out to find a low-fat scone recipe I could feel good about but not feel like I was denying myself.

I tested two scone recipes. One is from the American Cancer Society’s Healthy Eating Cookbook (2005). It’s a traditional scone recipe.

2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/8 sugar
1/4 c. margarine
1/2 c. low-fat milk or buttermilk
1/3 c. dried fruit (I used raisins)

Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients. Cut up the margarine into chunks and cut it into the flour mixture. I prefer a pastry knife. I used to use a fork which also works pretty well. Once the flour/margarine mixture looks all crumbly, add the milk and fruit, and mix together. Plop the dough onto a floured board and knead a few times. Don’t over knead (I think I kneaded too much which added too much extra flour into the dough). Pat dough flat to about a half inch thickness. Most recipes tell you to pat into a 9 inch circle and then cut the dough into wedges. I like to use a variety of shapes so I break out my cookie cutters and have some fun.

Bake for 15-16 minutes.

At 135 calories with 4 grams of fat, this is a guilt-free scone that has a fair flavor. As I mentioned before, I think too much extra flour was added during the kneading process so the scones were a little dry.

The other is from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook (2000). The Tart Cherry and Vanilla Scones recipe caught my attention because it uses cornmeal. However, I used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. boiling water

Add the boiling water to the cranberries and let them set for about 10 minutes.

Combine dry ingredients:

1 3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

To the dry mixture add:

2 T. margarine
2 T. vegetable shortening

Cut the margarine and shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry knife until it is all crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine:

1/3 c. plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 c. low-fat evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. butter extract (I actually used almond extract)

Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until sticky. I usually do a lot of the mixing with my hands. It just seems to go better that way. Just be sure to remember to remove your rings and watches beforehand.

Place dough on a floured board and knead 4-5 times. (I was careful not to overknead this time). Pat down to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or knife. Place onto greased cookie sheet.

Beat one egg and use this to lightly glaze the top of the scone. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake for 18 minutes.

The cranberry vanilla scones are higher in fat and calories (6 grams of fat, 255 calories), but the numbers are still low enough to not feel too bad about. The flavor was very nice even with my substitutions. And the cornmeal gave the scone an interesting texture that wasn’t too dry.

American Cancer Society’s healthy eating cookbook. (2005). Atlanta, GA:  American Cancer Society.

Wesler, C.A. (Ed.). (2000).  The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook.  Birmingham, AL:  Oxmoor House.


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