Smile Politely

Keeping Local Over Winter with Pumpkin Scones

If you are like most people, by Feb. 1, your New Year’s resolutions are distant memories. Even if Super Bowl Sunday found you elbow deep in a bag of chips, don’t throw in the towel.

Eating locally is an easy way to get back on track when it comes to eating healthy. By default, when you eat locally, you tend to consume less processed foods. This gives you more control over the amount of unrefined carbohydrates, fats and sodium in your diet.

Cutting back on fat and calories doesn’t have to be drudgery if you do it by adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

The amount of fat in these scones is reduced by a third thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree. I know, pumpkin again. But it is one of the easiest local foods to find this time of year whether you buy it fresh and puree it yourself, or buy it canned. As for sugar, these scones have far less than muffins or sweetened cereals, only 1 and 2/3 teaspoons per scone. And, they are made with half whole grain flour. If you use whole white wheat pastry flour, you can use all whole grain flour.

Common Ground Food Co-op in Urbana carries whole red wheat pastry flour from Tomahnous Farm in Mahomet, and butter from Organic Valley Cooperative which has farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Common Ground also carries fresh ginger root, candied ginger, ground ginger root, and bulk baking powder in the event yours has celebrated a few birthdays. While not local, the citrus is at least seasonal. Since you will be using the zest, opt for organic.

Pumpkin Ginger Scones

  • 1 1/2 c whole red wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour, plus 1/4 c for dusting work surface
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 stick (8 T) butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • heaping 1/4 t of ground ginger
  • 2 t grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 t minced orange or tangerine zest (optional)*
  • 2 T minced candied ginger
  • 1 c low-fat plain yogurt mixed with enough water to resemble a thick milkshake
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, placing baking rack on lowest level. Have two cookie sheets or one commercial half sheet baking pan ready. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, reserving 1/4 c for later. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ginger root, and orange zest. Stir. Work in butter with your hands, a pastry cutter, or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. To mix by hand, scoop your slightly cupped palms under the flour, lifting them up with flour and butter in each. Holding your fingers slightly apart, rub your thumbs back and forth over your fingertips, letting the flour-butter mixture fall back into the bowl. Repeat until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.

Next, work in the candied ginger. Then add the yogurt and pumpkin puree. Stir the mixture with your hands, working it quickly into a ball. The dough will be very wet. This is okay. Divide it in half. Pour the 1/4 c of reserved flour on top of your work surface. Roll one of the dough halves in the flour. Pat into a 7-inch circle. Cut into six wedges. Place on baking sheet. Repeat. Place baking sheet in the lower portion of your oven. If you are using two smaller baking sheets (one low and one in the middle of your oven), you will need to rotate them half way through baking time. Bake for 20 minutes until the scones are brown on the bottom.

Alternatively, you can divide the dough into four pieces, pat each into a 5-inch circle, and cut them into 6 mini scones.

*If you don’t have a grater or zester, use a vegetable peeler or knife to remove the orange skin and leave the white pith behind

More Articles