Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blueberry Oatmeal Maple Scones, Sponsored by Better Oats

How many of you were brave enough to make weight loss your New Year's Resolution Plan? Really? That many?

I, for one, have a slightly different approach about healthy eating. Let's be real. I love to cook and I love to bake.  That's why becoming a food blogger is so much fun.  I won't apologize for using heavy cream, cream cheese or butter.  The key words in my diet vocabulary is moderation and balance. Trust me, the baked goods and decadent sauces that you see, on this blog, is not how we eat every single day.  The healthier broiled chickens and fresh veggies are meals I don't photograph. We just eat them, and enjoy them.

My goal, this year, is to add more whole grains to my diet-- along with more fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.  Years ago, I finally understood that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I try not to skip it, even if it means toast and coffee "to go"-- as I drive to work.

Better Oats
I was offered an opportunity to try a variety of Better Oats products to try and review. I was also asked to create a recipe, using the product.  Here is what Better Oats has to say about their products:

Better Oats� instant oatmeal comes in many delicious varieties � 23 flavors in fact, including RAW Pure & Simple� Pomegranate and MMM... Muffins� Blueberry Muffin. Kids love Better Oats because it�s fun and delicious, and parents love it because it is not only nutritious, but also convenient. Better Oats uses up to 35 percent less packaging than traditional instant oatmeal boxes (so there�s more room on the pantry shelf), and the pouch doubles as a measuring cup!

Made with 100% whole grain oats and flax seeds, this complete line offers a simple and healthy option when it comes to instant oatmeal. But it's not only a great breakfast (or lunch... or snack...) but also a better ingredient to spice up a cookie or other baked goods.

You've got to try Better Oats. If you've been settling for ordinary oatmeal, then you're in for a treat because Better Oats is just... better! Try us and see for yourself.

So, try it I did. I took a box of the Oatmeal Raisin MMM Muffins flavor to work for a few days.  I liked that the pouch is a measuring cup for the water. 
 Just a two minute zap in the office microwave, and a splash of low-fat milk, and I had a healthy snack during my break. I liked it.

My favorite flavor soon became the Blueberry MMM Muffin Old Fashioned Instant Oatmeal.  So, I pondered on what kind of recipe I could make using this product. 

The idea hit me, when I saw fresh blueberries at my market. Scones.  We love them, freshly baked from the oven. They're delicious with a fresh cup of coffee.  But, some scone recipes have a whole stick of butter. Sometimes they have heavy cream added. Just two days into January, I figured that most people are trying to shed the glasses of eggnog and plates of cookies that were meant for Santa. 

Could I make them a bite more "healthified"? So, I challenged myself to come up with a recipe that included whole wheat flour, Better Oats Oatmeal and no sugar-- and half the butter. I could only hope that the scones wouldn't taste like sawdust.

I used 1-1/2 cups unbleached self-rising flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (recommended: King Arthur Flour brand). I added one packet of the Organic Raw multigrain hot cereal with flax (1/2 cup), a pinch of coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and whisked it all together, to combine. NOTE: As a substitute for 1 cup of self-rising flour, place 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.

Here's a great baker's tip for cutting butter into dry ingredients-- grate the butter!  I added 1/2 stick of butter (4 oz.).
With my fingers, I combined the butter and dry ingredients, until it was coarse and crumbly (do not over mix, or you will have very tough scones). You want to leave bits of butter in the dough, so that you will have tender and flaky scones.

For the wet ingredients, I combined 2 eggs, 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk*, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup pure Maple Syrup (don't use pancake syrup). 

I then added the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and folded it together until it began to be evenly wet. I then added 6 oz. of fresh blueberries, folding them very gently so I wouldn't have squished berries and blue dough.  No worries, if the dough isn't quite combined.
NOTE: Yes, you can use frozen blueberries. Don't bother thawing them; instead save a little bit of the flour (before you add the butter) in a separate bowl and coat the frozen blueberries with it. This will prevent the berries from turning your dough purple.

Dump the dough onto a very lightly floured surface.  Press into a circle, and using a sharp knife (I use a bench scraper tool), cut the circle into eight wedges.

Place the wedges on a parchment lined (or Silpat mat, or a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray), leaving a few inches in between each wedge.  

At this point, you'd think that I'd tell you to bake these. Nope, not yet!  Scones work best when they are very cold-- which is why freeze mine for at least 30 minutes before baking. Last night, I froze them for a few hours.

Remember how I said I try to practice "moderation"?   This is how I do it, with many baked goods-- I freeze them, in individual servings. Last night, wrapped each frozen (unbaked) scone in plastic wrap and put them in a zip-loc bag.  

This morning, I preheated the oven to 400F and set two of these scones on the same parchment lined baking sheet that I used to freeze these.  I crossed my fingers, and hoped that the scones would rise beautifully, smell great and -- most importantly-- they would taste good.

As these baked, I could smell the aroma of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen.  After 21 minutes, they had risen as I had hoped and they were ready.
 I decided to make a quick Maple Glaze by using a heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar, and a generous teaspoon of pure maple syrup.  I added a tiny splash of low-fat milk and whisked it until smooth.

I like to set a cooling rack over my sink (it fits perfectly) when drizzling glazes. It makes cleanup super easy.  If you glaze the scones while they are hot (which I did with the first one), the glaze will be absorbed into the scone. If you wait until the scone is cooled, then the glaze will harden. Your choice. OPTION: You could brush a little milk on an unbaked scone, and sprinkle it with coarse sugar, for a crunchy texture. 

My twenty-something year old son, who is one of my most honest critics, spotted Scone #2, as he came into the kitchen for his coffee. "What's that?" he asked, hoping it had his name on it.  Mr. I-Love-Sugar happily trotted off with it and his coffee.  His bedroom door opened, a few minutes later, telling me these were really, REALLY good. 

I didn't want to tell him that these were healthy.  All that matters is that I had accomplished what I hoped to-- the scones were a little crunchy on the edges, but the interior was moist and tender. Oh, the taste?  Yummy.   I didn't miss not having a full stick of butter, no sugar and the texture from the oats was perfect.

Tomorrow morning, I know that I can set my oven to preheat, pop one of these in to bake, while getting ready for work.  Then enjoy a fresh scone and home brewed cup of "Joe" without the guilt.

For home, I prefer the plain Organic Raw, so that I can add my own fresh fruit and pure maple syrup, rather than sugar.  For work, I liked mmm... Muffins® the best.  I was able to find the oatmeal at my local grocery store, and each packet averaged 25 cents per serving!  Please visit their website, for more information and to find a place that sells it near you.

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To your health!

This sponsorship is brought to you by Foodie Blogroll who we have partnered with for this promotion.

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Joanne said...

I'm all about moderation also. In general I may be getting back to healthy eating but there will be plenty of butter and sugar going on as well! These scones look delicious. Definitely the best of both worlds!

bellini said...

I am with you on the "everything in moderation" life style Debbie. There can never be enough blueberries in my life and with their antioxidant properties a perfect choice for these scones.

USA Kiwi (Kylee) said...

Yum!! Those are a great way to incorporate oats into your day without resorting to oatmeal the traditional way.

Karen said...

Great looking scones and it's nice to have them baked fresh whenever you want them!

Leah @ foodforthefresh said...

YUM! Never had oatmeal in scones... love the idea! Pinned for later :)

Le Farm said...

I have a small farm with several hundred blueberry bushes and take my berries to market every weekend. I love to show the market goers new and delicious ways to use blueberries...this year I am going to bake these fabulous looking scones. One problem though; they will(and have!) tried to eat my display! Merci!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Well if this is healthy eating, I'm all for it. Sounds like a great product and I've craving those scones.

Anonymous said...

I made these scones today but unfortunately they dough didn't come together. It was very liquidy. There was no way this would have formed into a round for wedges. So disappointed! I've re-read the recipe and cannot see what I did wrong! I sifted the flour. But, that couldn't be the problem, could it?

Debby Foodiewife said...

Did you add the liquid all at once? If it was too liquidy, did you add more flour. Scones are mixed by "feel". Sometimes, it depends on the flour and what the gluten content is. I'm sorry they didn't work out for you. All of my recipes are tried and true, and have been tested.