Monday, July 5, 2010

Making scones healthier

I have no photos for this post.  I was pre-coffee/tea and just didn't get around to it.  Sorry.

The Pioneer Woman makes lots of lovely things, including butter- and cream-ridden scones that probably top out around 600 calories each.  We don't live on a cattle ranch and we don't quite expend the calories a typical day of wrangling does.

So as much as I love Ree's scones - and her cooking in general - I just can't bring myself to make them the same way she does, with butter and cream and cheese, oh my!

What I can do, however, is use her recipes for ideas and starting points for my own cooking.

Today, for example, I decided to make vanilla bean scones.  I happen to have a few vanilla beans lying around.  I also have quite a few cherries because they're in season and I've been buying them up like it's my patriotic duty to consume as many cherries as possible.

I took at look at Ree's recipe and decided that 2 sticks of butter was not gonna happen.  Additionally I didn't have any cream and I wanted some fiber in the scones. 

Her recipe called for -> I used instead:
  • 2 sticks of butter -> about 1 1/3 sticks butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour -> 2 cups AP flour + 1 cup whole wheat
  • 3/4 cup cream -> 3/4 cup 1% yogurt
  • a glaze using 3 cups powdered sugar and whole milk -> nothing
  • nothing -> 1 cup chopped fresh cherries

My Alton Brown-esque rationale is that as I was figuring out the replacements was to determine the purpose of each.  In general fat is what makes baked goods moist.  The addition of the cherries introduced moisture that was removed by the reduction of the butter. 

The cream is there to act as a binder (along with an egg) to pull together the dry ingredients and to make it all moist.  I may try to decrease the butter to 1 stick next time, while increasing the yogurt to 1 cup.

As for the whole wheat flour, it gave the scones a slightly nutty flavor and made them a bit heartier.  Heartier = more satisfying = eat less.

Right as I pulled the scones out of the oven my dad showed up for a visit.  He stayed for a cup of coffee and some fresh, hot scones.  G-man is working from home today and I finally put the scones away after hearing him amble through the kitchen and mutter "these things are too damn good".  This from a man who doesn't generally like cooked fruit.

That seems a good endorsement of the healthy-fied recipe!  We didn't miss the sweet glaze nor any of the fat from the cream and extra butter. 

It's totally possible to make many recipes healthier.  Try your own recipe edits and let us know how they go.

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