Pumpkin scones with chocolate chips are a delightful fall breakfast treat! This lightened-up pastry recipe uses whole wheat flour, coconut sugar and oil for a healthier alternative.
Fall is here and marks the beginning of my baking extravaganza. To kick things off, I’m making a pumpkin scone recipe with a skinny makeover. I want to dive into healthier baking alternatives and share the tasty results with you.
With this recipe, 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 add 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 pumpkin scones
- Preheat oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
- In a bowl whisk together coconut sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, and flour.
- Use a pastry cutter to break coconut oil into smaller pieces.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Whisk together pumpkin puree, egg, milk, and vanilla.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface, knead until smooth.
- Shape into a disk, then cut into wedges.
- Bake scones until golden brown and cool on the sheet pan.
Using the biscuit method to make scones
The scone mixing method is called “biscuit” because it uses solid fat and flour to create a texture similar to savory biscuits. For this recipe, 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.
Baking with whole wheat flour
This pumpkin scone recipe uses whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour. I specifically use 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, the 100% use of whole wheat flour did not create a huge taste difference.
The benefits of adding pumpkin puree
These pumpkin scones can be made using homemade pumpkin puree or picking up a can from the market. Libby’s is my top pick if you’re going the store-bought route. This simple pantry staple can be used for sweet and savory recipes and packs nutrients like vitamin K and beta-carotene.
In fact, according to the USDA FoodData Central, 1 cup (245 grams) of pumpkin puree contains around 7.1 grams of fiber, 2.7 grams of protein and only 83.3 calories. A significant nutritional win!
How pumpkin affects the texture
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, while the edges are crisp.
Baking with coconut oil
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.
The oil is solid at room temperature, making it easy to work with in baking. I use a refined coconut oil so that the flavor is 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.
Give coconut sugar a try
Have you tried coconut sugar? It’s an unrefined sugar that has been boiled and dehydrated from the sap of the coconut palm. This ingredient is popular in healthy recipes because it contains trace vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, 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 a 1:1 substitute for granulated sugar. It has a more molasses-type flavor similar to brown sugar, which works nicely with the spices in the pumpkin scones.
Adding in extra pumpkin flavor
A combination of warm winter spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice are added to the scone base. You can substitute homemade pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand, simply substitute 2 teaspoons.
- Chopped nuts like pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
- Butterscotch, semi-sweet or white chocolate chips.
- Combine 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar, 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk and a splash of vanilla to make a glaze.
- Add cranberries or raisins instead of chocolate chips.
More pumpkin favorites
Why scones are fast to make
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, instead of relying on yeast fermentation.
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Pumpkin Scones with Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil, chilled and cut into ¼ inch pieces
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Place rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 400°F (204ºC).
- 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 lightly knead until it becomes smooth but do not overwork 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 your desired size.
- Place scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Press in additional chocolate chips onto the surface of the scones.
- Bake until the surface are set and lightly browned, and the bottoms are golden brown, about 12 to 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 in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat before eating.
- Freeze in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.
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