Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday jewel scones

Okay, I'll admit it: I've had baked goods on the brain more than usual these days. I think it started when I went on a self-imposed gluten fast for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (to see if gluten was the nefarious force behind my many months of back pain -- you never know), but it turned into a full-fledged craving after Kenton told me about the fancy tea he'd been to with his parents and aunt last weekend. Lemon tartlets, cucumber sandwiches, and the fluffiest, most decadent sounding scones... ohhhh... I wanted some.

After three weeks of almost absolute gluten abstinence, I may have gone a little crazy this weekend. Puff pastries and lobster risotto and cookies at Kenton's holiday office party last night. Pizza for lunch today -- though to my credit I did halve the regular whole wheat flour with some (gluten-free) rice flour. And I couldn't resist cranking out a batch of scones using some of the fresh pomegranate seeds dad gave me during my visit to Northern Virginia yesterday afternoon. I mean, I haven't made scones since the summer. It was time. And, boy, were they good. You'd never guess that they're actually pretty healthy, too.

Pomegranate and almond scones
makes 8 large scones
(Thanks to budgetgourmetmom for the general recipe idea, but especially the tip on grating butter, which allowed me to get the butter mixed in quickly, before my hands warmed it too much -- genius!)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1-2 handfuls pomegranate seeds
  • 1 handful slivered almonds
  • a bit less than half a pint (6 ounces or so) of plain, lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • zest from 1 orange
  • splash of vanilla (1/2 teaspoon?)
  • 1 egg white
  • sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Grate the butter into the flour mixture using the large holes on the grater. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it resembles a course meal.
  4. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and almonds.
  5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg, orange zest, and vanilla. 
  6. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture. Use a fork to stir it until dough clumps form. Continue to press the dough together with your hands, but don't overwork it. (I don't purport to make scones as well as the ladies at The Rosemary House, but that is one of the big lessons I learned while baking there: don't manhandle the dough!)
  7. Place dough on a lightly floured surface, press into a 7 to 8 inch circle, and cut into 8 triangles. Brush tops with egg white, then sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or so. Cool on a wire rack and then either devour (or freeze so you have some to share with others).

So far so good on the back pain after the 24 hour gluten extravaganza. Maybe its the post-scone-number-two delirium, but now that I look a little more closely, I can see what dad means about the pomegranate seeds looking very festive, like Christmas lights. As we move into holiday season, I wouldn't be surprised if I make these baked wonders again. Especially if dad takes care of the laborious seed removal process again, heheh.

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