After multiple attempts, I finally created a nutritious, whole grain scone that tastes amazing! These granola scones are 100% whole grain and butter free, made with spelt flour and coconut oil.
I've tried my hand at healthy scones before, never with much success. I mean, scones just aren't health food material, so why make them parade around as something they're not? It's kind of like trying to make healthy cupcakes....
But kids, these are the real deal. Dense yet tender with a buttery flavor and just a hint of sweetness. No one would ever guess these bad boys are 100% whole grain, butter-free and made with minimal amounts of added sugar.
When I compare this successful attempt to my previous (unsuccessful) attempts, I think it all comes down to three ingredients.
1. COCONUT OIL // Coconut oil is my favorite substitute for butter, especially in baking applications. It behaves similar to butter and lends a subtle vanilla flavor. Yes, it's a saturated fat, but it isn't the same fatty acid as the saturated fats in animal foods and does not have a detrimental effect on cholesterol
2. BUTTERMILK // Buttermilk, a fermented dairy, does double duty. It adds a light tang and tenderizes the crumb. Despite the name, it's actually lower in fat than whole milk.
3. SPELT FLOUR // Whole wheat flour, as nutritious as it is, can be a bit heavy for many baked goods. Whole grain spelt flour is much lighter and has a similar, sweet taste to white flour. I actually prefer it over white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour for baking.
Is spelt flour new to you? With the popularity of gluten free diets and other ancient grains, I've found many people are perplexed by all the different flours that are available. Here's a look at my favorite nutritious flours for cooking and baking.
// White whole wheat flour is not the same as regular white or enriched wheat flour. It is made from the whole grain, including the bran (fiber) and germ (vitamins and minerals). However, the wheat grain it's milled from has a lighter color and sweeter, milder flavor than regular whole wheat flour. It's a great choice for someone who is just making the transition to whole grains, since you can't taste much of a difference.
// Spelt flour is made from a spelt, a type of ancient wheat. It's my go-to flour for baking, especially in light baked goods like cakes. Spelt is considerably lower in gluten than regular wheat, but it still does contain some. Therefore, it's not a good choice for those with Celiac disease, but many people who are gluten intolerant or have sensitivities can tolerate spelt just fine.
// Think beyond rye bread! I've used rye flour to make a f
and a crust for a
It does have a strong flavor, so if you don't want that to dominate your recipe, mix it with whole wheat or spelt flour. Rye flour is a great choice for anyone with gluten intolerance or diabetes, as studies show it has less of a glycemic effect than whole wheat. If you are gluten free, rye flour does contain gluten so it's a no-go.
// Beans are a very popular, and very nutritious gluten free flour. I've made a few baked goods with bean flours, some better than others. It gives foods a crumbly consistency, so it works better for cookies than fluffier foods. Bean flour also makes
RICE FLOUR // Likely the most popular gluten-free flour, rice flour is made from finely ground rice. Just like brown rice is a whole grain and white rice is refined, same goes for brown rice flour and white rice flour. Rice flour tends to have a sandy consistency, which adds a nice texture and crumb if mixed with other flours.
NUT FLOURS/MEALS // My personal favorite gluten free flour is almond flour. It's made by pressing the nut to remove the fat grinding the defatted nut into flour. It adds a nice texture and rich nutty flavor, perfect for cookies and other sweets. It can also be used in savory dishes as well.
COCONUT FLOUR // Another popular gluten free flour, especially with those who follow a paleo/grain-free diet. Coconut flour is a bit difficult to work with. Because it's so high in fiber, it sucks up moisture like no one's business! Don't make the same mistake I did and substitute for the same volume of another flour - it'll yield a dry, crumbly mess! Use a very small amount, use plenty of eggs and liquid and you'll get incredible results!
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
This recipe is for a sweet variation, but you can make these savory too. Simply omit the flour and use muesli or another unsweetened, whole grain cereal instead of granola. It's fantastic topped with a poached egg or served alongside soup. If you can't find a lower sugar granola, use muesli. Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.
- 2 1/2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1 cup low sugar granola or muesli
- 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 7 tbsp coconut oil, softened slightly
- 1 cup organic buttermilk, kefir or coconut kefir for a vegan version
- Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a pizza/baking stone).
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and incorporate into the flour by pressing and rubbing it together with your fingers until the flour and coconut mixture forms a sandy consistency.
- Stir in the granola. Add the buttermilk and mix until a thick dough forms.
- Form a large ball with your hands and flatten slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut the ball in half, then cut each half into 4 triangles.
- Place on the baking sheet and into the oven. Bake 15 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly before serving.