Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones
The air is getting crisp and chilled, football is everywhere and good television shows have returned to prime time …. this can only mean one thing … Welcome Back Fall!! Something about the fall season begs for all things spicy, apple-related and pumpkin-flavored. The days are perfect for chili, tailgating, and stick to your ribs soups.
I know that I’ve been on a bit of a scone kick lately, but the change in temperature makes me want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a homemade scone. Unlike the almond scones which were only mildly sweet, these pumpkin scones are for those people who prefer a sweeter, more dessert-like scone. They are tender, moist and studded with toasted pecans. Topped with crunchy sugar they have a nice sweetness and a tangy spiced pumpkin flavor. These pumpkin scones are a perfect way to welcome the new season.
I tend to avoid canned vegetables like the plague. In my experience they usually have a metallic taste and a slightly grayish color. My one exception to this prohibition is canned pumpkin. It’s perfectly delicious! And look at that stunning color! Besides, who truly has time to roast a pumpkin just to make a half cup of puree. If you do, go for it. Make your own. We won’t judge you. If you don’t have the time, grab a can of pumpkin puree (just make sure it’s not the pre-made pumpkin pie filling that has all kinds of added sugar!) and whip these scones up in a half an hour.
This recipe makes 16 mini scones, but you can just as easily make 8 regular sized scones. I used a cast aluminum mini-scone pan, which is wholly unnecessary but I bought during an irrational baking supply shopping spree. The pan does help the scones retain their shape and it gives them a nice crispy edge, but it’s not necessary. You can bake the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, but be aware that they may puff up a bit more than mine did.
I do use heavy cream in this recipe but it’s only a tablespoon for the whole batch. It helps with the texture and consistency of the scones. However, if you are looking to cut calories, feel free to experiment with using a reduced-fat milk. This also would be an fantastic recipe to try using a sugar substitute (like Splenda). I have yet to try it myself but I think this recipe would work wonderfully with a substitute. Let me know how it works out if you do experiment with the recipe.
You would never be able to tell that these scones are made with whole wheat flour. They have a tender, moist crumb that barely crumbles when you break them open. I’ve made a couple versions of these scones over the years and I’d encourage you to experiment with different additions. If you want a sweeter, more dessert appropriate scone, mix in a half cup of mini chocolate chips. Golden raisins and chopped dried apricots also work wonderfully.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones
Yield: 24 mini scones
Cook Time: 16-17 minutes
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fine baker's sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon heavy cream*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed or grated, then placed back in refrigerator until needed
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Raw sugar or sparkling sugar (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins or dried apricots (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cast iron scone pan or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the pumpkin, cream, vanilla and one egg until combined. Place bowl in the refrigerator while preparing the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
- Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingers, quickly work the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients. Work until the mixture resembles a crumbly, sandy mixture.
- Add the cold wet ingredients to the crumbly mixture using a rubber spatula. Only stir until combined.
- Carefully add 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans and any additional add-ins (chocolate chips, raisins, apricots). Reserve the remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans to sprinkle on the top of the scones. Knead the dough briefly, if needed.
- Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a 7 inch square that is approximately 1 inch thick. Using a large knife, carefully cut the square into quarters. Then cut each quarter into four even pieces. Place on lined baking sheet or prepared cast iron pan.
- In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with a fork. Using a pastry brush, brush each scone lightly with the egg. Sprinkle with raw or sparkling sugar and the remaining pecans.
- Bake for 16-17 minutes. Be careful not to overbake or the scones will dry out. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or store in an airtight container for up to a week.
* I always use heavy cream because it is such a small amount and I think it really helps the texture of the scones, but feel free to experiment with a reduced-fat milk if you are looking to save calories.
** If you don't have all the individual spices called for, feel free to substitute pumpkin pie spice mix which contains most of the same spices.