Healthy Maple Pumpkin Scones are the new perfect brunch dish for fall! They are tender and flaky but with a little more nutrition and body than a normal scone.
Pumpkin season is upon us and although we want to indulge in all the pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin crème brûlées, we also want to eat healthier sometimes - right? I know I've struggled with finding my balance with the cozy fall food and nutrition.
When I say healthy, I mean healthier than a regular scone. Let's not get crazy over here, butter is crucial for scones.
Why you'll love this recipe
These healthy pumpkin scones are yours to love if
- Healthy to you means healthier but still delicious
- You love pumpkin foods
- Buttery, flaky scones are your thing
- Make-ahead dessert or brunch sounds like something for you
- And finally (although I can think of many more reasons) - maple syrup is your friend.
Alright, so let's dive into what these pumpkin scones are made of:
- The flour - you need some kind of flour to bind the ingredients together. I opt for mostly whole-wheat flour as that is a great and easy way to change up any all-purpose flour recipes. But also, I love to use oats to get more bite into my scones. They will be more filling, and better suited for a nutritional brunch or breakfast. Finally, spelt flour because spelt flour is amazing and brings an interesting texture.
- The butter - here is where I don't compromize. Butter is crucial for taste but also the flaky texture.
- The sugar - to make this whole thing tasty, we need to sweeten the deal. I love to use pure maple syrup with pumpkin and all things fall. It is not only high in antioxidants, but also other nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Calories are not necessarily unhealthy, remember that. But we don't need to overdo it either, this is a happy medium.
- Buttermilk - to provide richness and ensure a moist scone.
- Baking powder - to give rise to the scones.
- Salt - enhances flavor and should never be omitted in baking.
- Pumpkin puree - need to have some real pumpkin in our pumpkin scones! I always use homemade pumpkin puree, but storebought works too. If you want to use homemade, make sure you strain it through a cheesecloth or something to get rid of the excess water.
- Pumpkin pie spice - for the extra cozy flavor that pairs beautifully with pumpkin!
- Pure vanilla extract - same as above!
- Optional - I added some cranberries for a fresh bite in the scones. I highly recommend it, but it's totally optional.
Begin by freezing the butter. This is a crucial step as it helps keep the shape of the scones while baking and creates flaky air pockets in the finished product.
Once it's completely frozen, I like to cut the butter into two pieces, grate half of it, and cut the other into small cubes (1). Add it back to the freezer for roughly ten minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: the flours (and oats if using), baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt (2).
Make sure the pumpkin puree is thick and not having excess water. If it is watery, gently squeeze it through a cheesecloth. Discard the water and use what's in the cheesecloth.
To the dry ingredients, add the prepared, cold butter (3). Cut the butter into the flour, either by using a cookie cutter or just two forks. Once the butter has some pea-sized pieces of butter (4), add in the rest of the ingredients: pumpkin puree, buttermilk, maple syrup, and pure vanilla extract (5).
Mix with a spatula, until there are just a few patches of unmixed flour (6). Now add the cranberries and gently stir them in, until all the flour has been incorporated (7-8).
Dump the mixture onto a floured work surface (9). Gently shape it into an 8-inch disc (10). You may need to add a little more flour when shaping it.
Dip a pizza cutter in flour and cut the disc into 8 pieces (11). I dip the pizza cutter in flour between each cut. Add the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet (12).
Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400℉ (200℃). Once the time is up, add the baking sheet to the middle of the oven and bake for 20-23 minutes or until the scones no longer feel very soft to the touch.
Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee!
Scones are great to store unbaked in the freezer! After they are frozen solid on the sheet pan, you can transfer them to a ziplock bag (remember to mark it!). They will last wonderfully in the freezer for at least 3 months.
When ready to eat them, take them out of the freezer and onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let them be at room temperature while you preheat the oven. Bake for an additional 3-4 minutes.
You can also store baked scones in the freezer - either thaw on the counter or in a 300 ℉ (150℃) oven for roughly 10 minutes.
They keep about 3-4 days on the counter, in a closed bag or box. But always best the first day!
Should you put eggs in scones?
Normally, you add eggs to scones. Eggs provide moisture and richness, as well as bind the dough together. In a recipe like this, it is the pumpkin puree that has these properties.
Pumpkin puree is a great substitute for eggs in baked goods. Use ¼ cup for each egg you substitute. This recipe has more although you would just use 1 egg for this size. The rest is for flavor and moisture!
How healthy are scones?
Usually, not particularly healthy. They are carby, buttery, sugary, delicious little treats. They are not eaten for weight loss, they are eaten to be enjoyed in modesty.
These scones are still carby, buttery, and sugary. However, they are made in a healthier way.
- The flours used are whole wheat, spelt flour, and oats to keep you full for longer with lots of fibers and healthier carbs.
- The butter - is still there. The same amount, the same butter. Sorry, not sorry, but it's crucial for the flavor and texture.
- The sugar - switching to maple syrup for a healthier sweetener. Did you know it is packed with antioxidants?
What is the secret to making good scones?
The secret to making good scones is the way you prepare the butter. The butter needs to be cold, I mean, freezing cold. And you need to be relatively quick about mixing the cold butter with the flour.
The way I do this is by dividing my butter in half and freezing these two halves. Once frozen, grate one half and cut the other one into cubes. Freeze for another 10 minutes.
This way the butter will not melt too quickly in the oven, creating a buttery mess. Instead, the butter will create air pockets when baking in the oven, resulting in flaky scones.
Another secret is to not overmix the batter, otherwise, you will get a tough dough. This is because you will have developed strong gluten. By carefully mixing, you will get a flaky (from the butter) and fluffy (from the careful mixing) end product.
- Banana scones - you can use this recipe to make healthier banana scones as well! Both pumpkin puree and mashed bananas have the same properties in baking, so they can be used interchangeably (flavor will obviously be different!). And I love nutmeg with banana, so I would add a little extra of that.
- Add-ins - you can add any other fruits you want, but I think cranberries or lingonberries or another tart fruit would work best with pumpkin. Other add-ins include cinnamon chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. The same amount as with the cranberries. Easy peasy!
Scroll down for a complete recipe card. Enjoy!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more pumpkin recipes I think you’d love:
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