Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ginger-y Cranberry Walnut Scones (No Elephants were Harmed for this Post)

I tried an experiment this morning. I baked a batch of heart-healthy ginger-y cranberry walnut scones and wanted to know what biologic effects they have, if any. So I fed them to my favorite elephants at the San Diego Zoo this morning, and, lo and behold, they smooched. Eat your heart out David Attenborough.

First she said, "Hey, big fella. You smell good. Watcha' wearing: Come get me? or Don't leave me?"

Then he said, "How'd you get your skin so soft? They been washing you with that Oil-of-Olay in-shower body moisturizer?"

Then they engaged in a big elephant French kiss.
Food Blogga Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in this experiment.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Since Zorra of the beautiful Kochtopf is looking for some homemade edible hearts, I'm sending her my heart-healthy scones. Made with non-fat cottage cheese and yogurt and Smart Balance butter substitute, these scones are low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. They're also filled with antioxidant-rich cranberries and walnuts, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids --the ones linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Like my Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones from last fall, they are moist and flavorful and will fill your home with the enticing aromas of tart cranberries, tangy orange zest, and spicy ginger.

These would make a great antidote to the chocolate overdosage that will occur across the world today. So eat 'em guilt-free. Your heart will love you for it.

Ginger-y Cranberry Walnut Scones
Print recipe only here.

1/4 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon non-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Smart Balance, chilled (butter substitute)
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (Do not defrost is using frozen berries; it will help prevent them from "bleeding" color.)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts, pecans, or pistachios

Optional egg wash for top of scones:
1 egg (or white only), lightly beaten OR 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon low-fat milk, lightly beaten

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To toast the walnuts, add to a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic and lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk cottage cheese, yogurt, orange zest, ginger, vanilla, and cinnamon; set aside.

In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chilled butter (in small pieces), and mix with a pastry blender or fork, until a coarse meal forms with tiny pea-sized butter pieces. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and, using a fork, mix until just combined. Stir in the berries and nuts. Do not over mix or the dough will become leaden.

Using a floured surface, shape the dough into a disk, about 1/2-inch thick. If desired, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to form scones. Otherwise, with a wet knife (to make slicing easier) cut the dough into 8 triangular shaped scones. Place scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between them.

If using, then brush egg wash over the tops of the scones before baking. It will create a shinier finish, and slightly softer crust. Otherwise, place in oven.

Bake scones for about 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Unfortunately the scones didn't work on the gorillas. Maybe she had a headache.

You might also like:
Banana Coconut Almond Bread
Ricotta Hotcakes
Chestnut Pancakes with Pancetta, Creme Fraiche, and Cinnamon Maple Syrup

Other lovely cranberry treats I've seen:
Coconut Cranberry Muffins from Canela & Comino
Cranberry, Orange, and Chocolate Chip Muffins from Happy Home Baking
White Chocolate and Cranberry Tartlets from Palachinka
Cranberry Harvest Muffins
from Rice and Wheat

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