Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Scones for breakfast

If you are anything like my family breakfast time seems like a trip down the autobahn. Fast, fast, and fast. Time for breakfast? Heck, we barely have time for coffee! Kids need to be awaken, dressed, “No, put that down”, hair combed, “We have to get the tangles out!”, and into the car, "SIT DOWN!". So breakfast quickly becomes a banana for one, an apple for the other, and a coffee in a to go cup for everyone else.

Add to that my desire to get more whole wheat and fiber into my family’s diet and the challenge can quickly become overwhelming.

My attempt to create a solution was to pick up a copy of King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains. This is an amazing book of whole grain recipes. The volume includes cakes, pancakes, waffles, scones (presented here), and many other delicious recipes. In a lot of the recipes the author actually warns you if the end result is going to have a heavy grain taste to it. These tips are helpful in deciding what to make for the adults and what to make for the kids. So if you are struggling with getting the required fiber and whole grains into your busy family’s belly, I suggest you grab a copy of this book and a bag of whole grain flour and get ready to change the way you do baking!

Are you ready to change your morning routine?

These scones are so easy to make. I assembled them the night before and put them in the oven while I was still half asleep the next morning. One of the changes I made was instead of raisins or currants I used craisins, which are dried cranberries. My beautiful wife doesn't really care for raisins and this was a sweet/tart compromise.

Oat and Craisin Scones


Yield: 1 dozen scones
Baking Temperature: 375 F
Baking time: 22 to 25 minutes
¾ cup (3 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
¾ cup (3 1/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 5/8 ounces) oat flour
¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces) sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup (1 ¾ ounces) currants or raisins (Lewis note: I used Craisins)
1/3 cup (1 1/8 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 large egg
½ cup (4 ounces) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk or cream for brushing the tops
Coarse sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

(Lewis note: If you haven’t yet made the jump to silicon liners you’re missing out. These things will save you a mountain of money in parchment paper. Although they aren’t meant for high temp bread baking – where temperatures regularly go above 450 – 500 degrees F, they are perfect for this kind of thing.)

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles bread crumbs.

(Separation of salt and yeast - VERY IMPORTANT!!!!)

Add the currants (raisins or Craisins for a twist) and oats, and stir with a fork just to mix them in: you don’t want to crush them more than necessary.

Whisk together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl or large measuring cup. Add, all at once, to the dry ingredients, and stir lightly and quickly with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead two or three times. Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a circle about ½ inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. Use a baker’s knife to divide each circle into 6 wedges.

Transfer the scones to a baking sheet, leaving an inch of space bwtween them. Brush the tops with milk (or cream) and sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake until the scones are puffed and golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes.

Serve warm.


Maple-Walnut scones: Substitute maple sugar for the granulated sugar in the recipe, and replace the currants with chopped walnuts. Add ¼ teaspoon maple flavoring with the vanilla, and sprinkle the tops with maple sugar.

Cinnamon-Pecan Scones: Substitute chopped toasted pecans for the currants in the recipe, and add 1/3 cup cinnamon-flavored chips to the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with cinnamon-sugar before baking.

Cherry-Almond Scones: Substitute 1/3 cup dried cherries for currants in the recipe, and add ¼ teaspoon almond extract with the vanilla. Add 1/3 cup slivered almonds to the dough before cutting.

Pineapple-orange Scones: Substitute 1/3 cup diced dried pineapple for the currants in the recipe. Replace ¼ cup of the buttermilk with ¼ cup of the buttermilk with ¼ cup orange juice; add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest with the vanilla.

Time Saver Note:

You can freeze these scones up to a month! Just make the batch like normal and after you have cut the slices put them between two pieces of saran wrap and freeze. Then when you want to have scones just pull them out preheat the oven and go. Now don’t worry about the scones being frozen – they will defrost enough while the oven is preheating to cook thoroughly.

I will tell on myself. I have never actually had a scone before making them. Because of that I was a little unsure of how to portion them - this is a common theme for me here in the kitchen for all of you who remember my homemade oreos. My beautiful wife informed me that if I made scones of this size in London I would be the talk of the town!

I hope you give these a try for something new at breakfast time and don't forget to let all of us know how it goes!

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