For months, my family’s Sunday morning routine involved homemade scones. Filled with blueberries or peaches, dotted with chocolate chips or crystalized ginger or spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, we always looked forward to a batch of fresh scones, warm from the oven.
And, truth be told, the scones were so buttery, rich and sweet that I often served them up as dessert. Warm scones with ice cream or frozen yogurt, anyone? Divine!
As we gradually shifted towards healthier meal choices, the scones took a backseat to Sunday morning omelets and fruit salad desserts. As much as we enjoyed the game of “who can pack more veggies into their omelet”, we really did miss feasting on scones. So, I took on the challenge to lighten up our favorite recipe.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve embarked on various baking projects substituting the traditional fats, such as butter and oil, with creamy heart-healthy California Avocados. They’re fantastic as an ice cream ingredient and an awesome addition to brownies, cookies and cupcakes. Being a huge fan of those healthy fats, I was determined to make a complete swap in any baking recipe – all butter out, all avocado in. However, after a lot (A LOT!) of trial and error, I learned that the best results came from substituting just half of the fat with avocado. It was all about texture.
In this recipe, I cut the small amount of butter (only 3 tablespoons) into the flour mixture, then whisked smashed California Avocado (smooth guacamole consistency) into the liquid ingredients. This allowed the avocado to disperse evenly throughout the batter.
As for lightening up the rest of the recipe, that was a breeze. Whole wheat pastry flour, my go-to for any whole grain baking, swapped in for all-purpose flour and I increased the fiber content by also adding some homemade oat flour. Homemade oat flour sounds time-intensive, right? Nope. Just puree some old-fashioned oats in the food processor for about a minute.
Nonfat milk took the place of whole milk or cream, and coconut palm sugar replaced granulated sugar. Feel free to play around with other sugar alternatives or maple syrup. Just be aware that you may need to compensate for a liquid, such as maple syrup, by adjusting the amount of flour and milk.
Of course, chocolate chips don’t necessarily fall on the healthy side of the scale, but I did use dark chocolate chips. Extra credit points? Feel free to either leave out the chocolate chips or replace them with dried or fresh fruit.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Avocado Scones Recipe
Makes 8 scones
Serving size: 1 scone
1 ¼ cup old-fashioned oats (for 1 cup oat flour)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for
4 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ to ¾ California Avocado (to total ¼ cup smashed avocado)
6 tbsp + 1 tsp nonfat milk, divided
1 egg white
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ tsp turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the oat flour, place the oats in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and scoop 1 cup oat flour back into the processor. Reserve any remaining flour for another use.
Add the whole wheat pastry flour, coconut palm sugar and baking powder to the processor. Pulse briefly to combine.
Add the chilled butter to the processor and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a fine meal.
In a small bowl, smash the avocado with the back of a fork until fairly smooth. Measure out ¼ cup of the smashed avocado and place in a medium bowl. Reserve the remaining smashed avocado for another use.
To the avocado, add 6 teaspoons nonfat milk, egg white and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the processor and pulse quickly until just mixed.
Turn the mixture out onto a generously floured surface. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough. Lightly dust your hands with flour and gently knead to mix in the chocolate chips, and form the dough into a ball.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With lightly floured hands, form the dough into an 8-inch circle.
Cut the circle into 8 triangles, keeping the circle of dough intact.
Lightly brush the top of the scones with 1 teaspoon nonfat milk. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over top.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the surface of the scones are starting to brown. Cool on the tray or on a cooling rack. Cut the scones apart and serve.