Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

I've been meaning for quite some time to start making whole wheat bread, but I had to wait for summer to end before buying a 10 lb. bag of whole wheat flour. I could buy a smaller bag, but it costs a great deal more. In fact, it can cost the same size for 5 lbs. as for 10, depending on what you buy and where you buy it. However, I don't have a refrigerator big enough to hold 10 lbs. of flour. Hell, I don't have a refrigerator big enough to hold 10 of anything except maybe grapes or pine nuts. I also didn't want to leave a paper sack full of flour in the summer humidity and heat so I held off until this week.

Now, I've got a ton of whole wheat flour to use and I decided I'd start with trying to use it in some scones. Whole wheat can be pretty tricky because it doesn't hold together as well as white flour. For pastries, it's hard to get a tender, light texture when using whole wheat, particular when it's not pastry flour. Keeping this in mind, I ran the WW flour through the food processor to make it finer before making these scones. I'm not sure if it helped, but I can say that the results really pleased me.

The main benefit of whole wheat flour over regular flour is that it's supposed to be less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. Of course, when you're talking about a recipe with sugar it in, being worried about that seems a bit silly. Beyond it being a little healtheir, it also adds a heartier, earthier flavor to baked goods. Many people don't like the taste, but I do.

The scone recipe I made is a modification of several different recipes. I wanted to make the recipe a little sweeter so the scones could be eaten plain and so my husband would like them. If they seem too sweet for your tastes, you can just skip the brown sugar topping. I'm sure they'd be good without it. The texture was surprisingly light and satisfying.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1.5 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1.5 tbsp. milk
  • 1 egg
  • a little extra cream or milk for brushing the tops
Brown sugar topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 /4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. cold butter
Making the scones: Blitz the whole wheat flour in your food processor for about a minute to make it finer. Thoroughly mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. It should resemble little flaky crumbs and appear rather rough, but with no balls or globs of butter or large amounts of completely dry mix. Whisk all of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl until completely mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and carefully moisten everything using a spoon or spatula but do not mix anymore than necessary or stir things up. It will seem that there is very little liquid for the amount of dry ingredients but that is okay. The dough will have bits of dry flour and seem not to want to hold together once everything is roughly moistened. Pat the dough together with your hands working it as little as possible to get it mixed together and formed into a long rectangle which looks like a flattened log. Don't worry if there are some cracks in it. Set the bowl aside and allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes or so (longer is okay). Make the brown sugar topping (below).

Place the dough on a clean surface. The dough will not be sticky so you don't need to use flour. I prepared mine on a plastic cutting board.

guide for cutting triangular scones.

Finish shaping the dough into a long, thin rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half, then cut each half into thirds. Diagonally cut through each square to make a triangular scone. Place the scones on a cookie sheet (not greased) leaving enough room for them to increase in size by 50-70%. Brush the tops only with cream. Pile on the brown sugar topping (the scones are very tiny, but will grow as they bake so you need to liberally cover the tops so that there is a good cover of topping when they rise and spread).

Bake at 425 degrees F./220 degrees C. for 20 minutes. The scones will not brown much because they are whole wheat. Allow to cool until comfortably warm to the touch before eating. The texture will be a bit clumpy if you eat them hot, but they will be light and tender if you let them cool awhile.

Making the brown sugar topping:
Mix together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix the butter in with a fork or pastry cutter until you get little oddly-shaped balls.

I made a lot and froze all but 2. I think it's important to freeze them while fresh. For breakfast, I wrap a frozen scone in foil and put in in the toaster oven on high for 5 minutes. After the timer goes off, I usually let the scone rest in the toaster for another 5 minutes then have it with coffee. This brings back some of the fresh crispy exterior and makes the interior very light and tender.


Anonymous said...

I just love scones, I've had the English version, so many varieties out there, whole wheat pairs well with pumpkin- where do you usually buy your spices?

I'd like to buy some organic spices but so far Jusco has a large option, these sure do look so tasty, what a fabulous recipe = ) Nice snap!

Orchid64 said...

Hi, and thanks for commenting. I must say that when I saw your feed in my RSS Reader with a ton of Japanese at the tope, I was confused. ;-)

Anyway, I get spices wherever I can find them. I get some at Costco (mainly cinnamon, black pepper, and garlic powder - the latter of which I only use for things like tuna salad) and others at local markets. One of the local places (Peacock) carries more spices than your average Japanese store including cardamom and tandoori chicken spike. I don't think organic spices are even possible.

That being said, I think Tengu Natural Foods (a mail order place) has lots of organic everything. They're the ones I got the whole wheat flour from.

Anonymous said...

haha- You thought I converted huh? hehe.. Oh yes Tengu- I noticed that Jusco has a good variety (especially the newer Jusco mall/Aeon)! But some things I run into luck getting.. I buy this Dufour marmalade because they use grape concentrate rather than sugar (I put a dollop in my yogurt) this week is Apricot... the sweetness I think was strawberry...