(Nearly) Low-Fat Cranberry Pumpkin Scones

November 3, 2012

For some reason I’ve been on a serious baking kick for the past couple months. Not sure why – as it starts to get colder in the fall I usually feel like making stews and soups, but it’s been all about baking lately. My latest baked good adventure has been scones. These are fairly low-fat (low-fat is technically 3 grams of fat per serving – these have 3.5 grams per serving), but delicious, nonetheless. I did use butter in them, but just a bit more than half that of most recipes.

I planned on making cranberry scones, since I love scones with fruit. But when I saw some jars of pumpkin butter (which fortunately does not contain any butter) at Whole Foods, I started wondering how pumpkin would work with cranberry. I decided the answer to that would probably be, ‘awesomely!’ I mistakenly thought we had dried cranberries at home, but since my dried fruit supply sadly had nothing but dates and figs, I ended up using frozen whole cranberries instead. And I think it actually turned out better as a result (certainly lower in calories).

Frozen Whole Cranberries (well, not anymore - Frozen Quartered Cranberries)

Frozen Whole Cranberries (well, not anymore – Frozen Quartered Cranberries)

As I normally do when I bake, I used erythritol to save calories. I’ve pretty much converted to using erythritol in all my sweet baked goods. I like the fact that it’s nearly zero calories, doesn’t affect blood sugar, and in my opinion, tastes just like sugar in recipes. The only downside I find is that it’s more expensive than sugar (but there are some decent prices online, it seems).

I decided to keep things simple, and make drop scones rather than ones that required rolling out and cutting with a cookie cutter. I made three batches, tweaking things each time. The first time I didn’t do anything to the cranberries but cut them up, and they were a bit too sour. My husband suggested sweetening the cranberries themselves, so the next time I macerated them with a bit of sugar while working on the dough, and that definitely did the trick. (I used real sugar for this part, because I wasn’t quite sure if erythritol would have the same effect.) Like most of my baked goods, these are a bit moister than the traditional incarnation, but in some ways I find that preferable.

Cranberry Pumpkin Scones
makes 18
1 cup whole cranberries (I used frozen ones – unfrozen might be messier when cutting them!)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 cups flour
1+3/4 tsp baking powder *
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup erythritol (or 1/3 cup sugar)
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp pumpkin butter **
2 Tbsp light buttermilk ***
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla

* At sea-level, use 2 tsp baking powder.
** If you don’t have any pumpkin butter, just add some cinnamon and cloves to pumpkin puree, and sweeten it so it tastes like pumpkin pie.
*** Or just use another 2 Tbsp pumpkin butter – it will be sweeter, but a bit more pumpkiny

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the cranberries into quarters, then put in a small bowl and sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of sugar. Stir to coat the cranberries and let stand.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together well. Add the cold butter and cut it into the flour either with a pastry blender or two knives until the texture is sort of crumb-like. (You can also use a food processor for this part, but take it out before the next step and use a spoon.)

Add the erythritol, pumpkin butter, buttermilk, egg white, vanilla and cranberries. Stir with a wooden spoon to moisten all ingredients. You should have a very stiff dough, but you want it damp enough that you can scoop it up and put it on a baking sheet without it falling apart. Add a little extra buttermilk if you need to.

Cranberry Pumpkin Scone Dough

Cranberry Pumpkin Scone Dough

Scoop into 18 (or 16 or 20 – go for whatever number you’d like) even-sized blobs onto baking sheets either sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until firm. (Check them at about 15 minutes, and every couple of minutes after that, though.) Let sit for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Lower Fat Cranberry Pumpkin Scones

Lower Fat Cranberry Pumpkin Scones

Nutritional Information: per scone (18 per batch): 92 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 1.7 grams fiber

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