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Eating for Life | Scones slim down with less butter, no heavy cream

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: The column was first published in The Star’s Food section on May 6, 2009.

Scones are a Scottish quick bread.

Nothing more than a gussied-up biscuit, scones are easy to make, and a plate of them offers the perfect excuse to sit, chat and relax.

It’s easy to bake a batch from scratch, but many recipes are high in fat. The Star’s Mini Currant Scones contain less than half the amount of butter and substitute fat-free half and half for the heavy whipping cream.

For comparison’s sake, the Classic Cream Scones in “The Joy of Cooking” call for 8 tablespoons of butter, an amount that we whittle down to just 3 tablespoons. And using fat-free half and half saves 40 calories and 5 grams of fat per tablespoon.

To resist overeating, modern wisdom says to keep portion sizes petite. We doubt she’d even notice you used a 2-inch biscuit cutter rather than the standard 2 1/2 inch cutter.

And the end results?

A tender, flaky scone, of course.

In England and Scotland, scones are typically served split and topped with butter, jam, preserves, clotted cream or lemon curd. But with the addition of moist currants (which are also high in potassium), it’s easy to skip the extra, calorie-laden frills.

Shopping tip: Look for currants, similar to tiny raisins, in the dried fruit aisle of your supermarket. Use remaining currants in place of raisins or dried fruit in baked goods. One quarter cup currants equals 1 fruit serving.

Look for parchment paper in the baking aisle. Other handy yet inexpensive kitchen equipment called for in this recipe: a pastry blender and a silicone pastry brush, both available in a well-stocked supermarket or specialty store.


Mini Currant Scones

Makes 16 (2-inch scones)

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup currants

3/4 cup fat-free half and half

1 egg white, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in medium mixing bowl.

Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or by using 2 knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add currants and toss gently. Add half and half, stirring just until moistened. Mixture will appear slightly crumbly. Use hands to form a solid ball of dough and knead 4 or 5 times on a floured surface.

Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut scones and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush egg white over top of each scone. Sprinkle lightly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Per scone: 106 calories (19 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 198 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, call 816-234-4347 or send email to jsilva@kcstar.com.

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