Lightened up pumpkin scones with chocolate chips are a delightful Fall breakfast treat! Made with whole wheat flour, coconut sugar and oil for a healthier pastry.
Fall is finally here and marks the beginning of my baking extravaganza. To kick things off, I made a pumpkin scone recipe with a skinnier makeover. I’m obsessed with sweet buttery breakfast biscuits, just ask my husband. They’re one of my favorite things to order at our local coffee shop. However, this year I wanted to dive into healthier baking alternatives and share the tasty results.
I challenged myself to make more nutrient-rich substitutions, without sacrificing taste quality, at least, as best I could. These scones are a combination of whole wheat flour, unrefined coconut sugar, coconut oil, and a mix of warm spices for the base. For extra goodness, I added dark chocolate chips and pumpkin puree for flavor. Grab a cup of hot coffee or ginger root tea, and you’ll be ready to start your day!
How to make healthier scones
Just because whole wheat flour and coconut oil are used to make the scones doesn’t mean that the process is any different! Scones are considered a “quick bread” because of the little time and effort needed. The technique uses a chemical leavening agent like baking powder to help the pastry rise nice and tall.
The mixing method used is called “biscuit” because the type of fat used and resulting texture. Chilled solid coconut oil is broken up into small pieces, placed in the flour, and then mixed with the wet ingredients. The small solidified oil pieces create air and fat pockets in the dough when baked giving a light and layered pastry. This texture is what you want for these pumpkin scones. Crisp and crumbly edges with a tender bite on the inside, yum!
It’s only right to start autumn by making your own pumpkin puree or picking up a can at the store to get inspired. This simple pantry staple can be used for sweet and savory recipes and packs nutrients like vitamin K and beta-carotene. In fact, 1 cup of pumpkin puree contains 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 80 calories. A significant nutritional win!
Because the scones have the added pumpkin, it will naturally have more moisture in the dough. The interior texture of the scone is moist and slightly more bread-like, which my family loves!
Baking with coconut oil provides a dairy-free alternative to butter. Like anything, moderation is key! Coconut oil has 84% of the calories coming from saturated fat. The source is mainly from medium-chain triglycerides, which may be easier for your body to digest compared to other types of fats. It is solid at room temperature, making it easy to work with in baking. I used a refined coconut oil so that the flavor was neutral. However, an unrefined product may also be used. Just make sure to chill the oil before adding into the dough, so it’s easier to incorporate.
Have you tried coconut sugar? It’s an unrefined sugar that has been boiled and dehydrated from the sap of the coconut palm. The ingredient is popular in healthy recipes because it contains trace vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. Coconut sugar is also lower in glycemic index, ranking at 35 compared to about 60 to 75 with white sugar. I’ve been curious about it for a while, and it can be used as 1:1 substitute for granulated sugar. It has a more molasses type flavor, which worked very nicely with the spices in the pumpkin scones.
I was thrilled to see my toddler son James grabbing a scone warm off the tray! The anticipation to see if he could detect the addition of whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour was growing. Let’s just say that there wasn’t much left, and I’m sure the dark chocolate was also a big hit.
I can’t wait to hear what you think about these whole wheat pumpkin scones. They will make your mornings extra special!
Baking with whole wheat flour
This pumpkin scone recipe uses whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. I specifically used white whole wheat flour, because the grains are more tender, lighter in color, and have a more mild flavor compared to traditional red whole wheat flour. Because the scones are darker in color and heartier from the pumpkin puree, a 100% use of whole wheat did not create a huge taste difference. You can start with 25-50% whole wheat flour plus all-purpose flour for different recipes that call for white flour.
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil , chilled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and flour.
- Add the cold coconut oil pieces to the dry mixture. Use a pastry cutter to break the oil into small pieces until it resembles a coarse meal. A stir in the chocolate chips.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, egg, milk, and vanilla.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold together until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 to 7 times. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Shape dough into a round disk, about 6 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Cut the disc like a pie into 6 or 8 pieces depending on how desired size.
- Place scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Press in additional chocolate chips onto the surface of the scones if desired.
- Bake scones until the surface are set and lightly browned, and the bottom of the scones are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
- Allow scones to cool on the sheet pan.
- Granulated sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar.
- Butter can be substituted for coconut oil.
- Refrigerate the coconut oil to ensure it's solidified before adding to the flour mixture.
- Whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten-free all-purpose baking flour can be substituted for white whole wheat flour.
- Unsweetened almond, soy, coconut or dairy milk can be substituted for cashew milk.
- Purchase dairy-free chocolate chips if avoiding dairy.
- Store scones in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat before eating.
- Scones can be frozen in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.