Healthy and tasty scones!

November 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Demerara currant scones! It is recipe that is sweet on your taste buds and easy on the waistline. Exec. Chef Mani Niall of Just Desserts in San Francisco shows us how they are made.

Recipe: Demerara Currant Scones

With FLAX and sunflower seeds, wheat germ and dried fruit in every bite, as well as the caramelized notes of demerara sugar, these muffins remind me of granola. A little extra sugar sprinkled on top finished them off with a light crunch. As usual with baking, there is room for experimentation here. Use rolled oats or rolled barley flakes instead of wheat germ, substitute your favorite dried fruit for the currants, or swap chopped nuts for one of the seeds.

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably organic
  • 6 tablesppons demerara sugar
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablesppons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch dice, chlled
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, plus more for glazing the scones
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

Position a rack in the center of the oven and prehat to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Whisk together the flour, 3 tablespoons of the demerara sugar and the flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, baking power and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center, pour in the buttermilk and currants, and stir just until the dough comes together - it will look rough. Knead a few times in the bowl to smooth out the dough a little. Do not overwork the dough.

Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured board. Pat into an 80½ inch diameter round about ¾-inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into eight equal wedges. Lightly brush the top with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of demerara sugar. Gently lift each scone onto the baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart

Back until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then serve warm.

About Chef Mani Niall:
Mani Niall has been a professional baker for more than twenty-five years. The author of Sweet and Natural Baking and Covered in Honey, he is Executive Chef for Just Desserts, the San Francisco Bay Area's award-winning bakery. For more information visit www.justdesserts.com.

Mani is also the proprietor of Mani's Test Kitchen, a product development, culinary education, and consulting company. Visit Mani Niall online at www.manistestkitchen.com.

Buy the book on Amazon: Sweet!

About the book, "Sweet!":
Granulated sugar is the most popular and most used sweetener among home bakers-but it isn't the only one on the block. Over the last several years, once-obscure sugars and sugar substitutes like muscovado, turbinado, and demerara have become widely available, from supermarkets to specialty grocers nationwide. Longtime professional baker Mani Niall acquaints home cooks with these traditional and alternative sweeteners, showing how to take full advantage of the various tastes and textures they provide. Sweet! provides over 100 delectable recipes that incorporate natural sugars and sweeteners, including:

· Breakfast Treats: Pumpkin Waffles with Muscovado Syrup, Cinnamon "Doughnuts," Maple-Pecan Sticky Buns

· Cakes: Caramel Applesauce Cake, Mocha Toffee Crunch Cake, Lemon Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream and Raspberries, Banana Upside-Down Muffins

· Pies, Tarts, and Cobblers: Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie, Hazelnut-Espresso-Caramel Tart, Deep-Dish All-Apple Kuchen, Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

· Cookies and Spoon Desserts: Maple-Pine Nut Shortbread, Cinnamon-Cardamom Snickerdoodles, Apple-Oatmeal Triangles, Crème de Café, Mexican Sweet Potato Pudding, Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sweet! also features recipes for Candy (Cinnamon Candied Apples, Chocolate-Demerara Fudge) as well as Savory and Sweet Main Courses (Chile-Rubbed Agave Chicken, Pork Chops with Honey-Miso Glaze, Panela-and-Spice-Cured Salmon). Niall also includes a sources section, which ensures home cooks will be able to find every sweetener used in the book.


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