Lemon-Blueberry Scones {reduced carb with no added sugar}

Bursting with sweet-tart blueberries, you'd never know that these tender scones are reduced carb!

I've started the new year trying to be more mindful of my daily meal choices. Working from home since March, I've gained an extra hour and a half in my day from not having to spend time getting ready to go into the office. 

These days, my daily commute consists of walking from my upstairs bedroom to my studio office on our homes' first floor. And yet, I still feel like there aren't enough hours in my workday to spend time cooking elaborate meals. During the week, I cook meals that are quick to prepare, lower in carbs and higher in fresh veggies and lean protein. I reserve the weekends for cooking a big protein that can be repurposed for lunch or dinner during the week plus a dish or two for the blog, with it often becoming my cheat meal.

Pre-pandemic, my workday would include a once or twice a week mid-afternoon stroll through my office building's downtown neighborhood to visit one of three favorite coffee shops for a skinny latte and a scone. I've subbed the lattes for copious cups of home-brewed coffee but was dearly missing my scone fix.

I faced two issues, however. First, I've only made scones at home twice in all my years of baking, both times from a box. Second, I didn't want to negate my lower carb, healthier mid-week meals by eating a high carb treat mid-afternoon. What to do? I'd been so good at staying off of junk food for weeks now, choosing an apple with a side of natural peanut butter to quell my mid-afternoon sweet attacks. 

But I really wanted a scone.  

These lemon-blueberry scones started life as a Saturday morning experiment, not initially planned to be a blog post, but I was so happy with the outcome that here they are, six bakes later, photographed and ready to share. 

I read through dozens of scone recipes that sounded adaptable. I took what sounded useful from some and set about experimenting with ratios, white flour substitutes, and sugar substitutes in my quest to make a dent in what is typically a 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per serving treat. My only self-imposed requirement was to not sacrifice texture and taste in that pursuit by making it keto. I'm not following a grain-free keto diet, just lowering my general carb intake and upping my dark leafy greens and plant fiber in a quest to eat more of the rainbow and clear my system of months of (often) overly processed comfort foods. 

What makes these scones reduced carbohydrate?

First, I substituted one cup of the all-purpose flour with one cup of blanched almond flour. In my pantry, I had both superfine blanched almond flour and almond meal. I made the recipe with each to see which produced the better scone. The less expensive and more easily found almond meal was too gritty, while the superfine blanched almond meal had a lovely, tender crumb that could almost pass for a regular scone. 

Second, in place of sugar, I used my new favorite sugar substitute, Lakanto Monkfruit. I find it has the least amount of aftertaste than my previous preferences: erythritol and stevia extract. Lakanto's formula blends monk fruit extract with erythritol (for bulk), but erythritol's cooling sensation on the tongue is tempered considerably by the monk fruit. It's a 1:1 replacement with zero net carbs and zero calories, no fiber, no maltodextrin, no artificial flavoring or sweeteners. Sugar substitutes are pricer than regular sugar, but I find it's worth it for the occasional treat. 

What about the added fruit? 

Yes, there is natural sugar in fruit; however, blueberries are quite the little superfood and relatively low in sugar when compared to the nutritional wallop they pack. Blueberries bursting with antioxidants and fiber can even help control blood sugar levels. 

I love blueberries, but fresh blueberries often spoil faster than I can eat them. I'm now in the habit of keeping frozen berries in stock in my freezer. During last month's Smart & Final pantry-stocking grocery trip, I bought a 2-pound bag of First Street* frozen blueberries for the first time and was pleasantly surprised when I got them home as to how big, juicy, and utterly delicious they are. Baked in the scones, they provided juicy pops of natural sweetness with just the right amount of tartness.

So what's the bottom line?

By exchanging half of the white flour for almond flour and substituting the monk fruit for sugar, I was able to bring the net carbs down by virtually half. Here's a screenshot of the nutritional data:

I posted a photo of my first attempt at these lemon-blueberry scones on both Instagram and Facebook, and the image was well received. Even family members chimed in. So the following weekend, I made several batches so I could share. After dropping them off, texts started popping into my phone with words of thanks and praise. 

I was happy to share. 

Blueberry Lemon Scones

Half the carbohydrates of regular scones, these reduced sugar baked treats don't skimp on flavor. Be sure to use blanched almond flour, such as Bob's Red Mill brand and not almond meal (the flour should be a solid butter color, with no brown flecks). I use Lakanto brand monk fruit sweetener, but you don't have to use it if you have another that you prefer. Just be sure it's a cup for cup sugar replacement. 

Makes 6 scones

Ingredients

1 cup flour, plus two tablespoons for rolling, divided use
1 cup blanched almond flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons 1:1 monk fruit sweetener, plus one teaspoon for finishing, divided use
1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or kosher salt)
5 tablespoons cold unsalted First Street* European-style butter, cubed
1 cup First Street* frozen blueberries (can use fresh)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus 2 teaspoons for finishing, divided use
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F. Line a quarter sheet pan (13-inches x 9-inches) with parchment. 

Sift together one cup of the flour with the almond flour, baking powder, monk fruit and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the butter is well incorporated – the butter should be virtually invisible, and the flour should hold together when you squeeze it. Alternately, dump the two flours, baking powder, monk fruit and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the s-blade — pulse for 20 seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until there are no visible chunks of butter. Then transfer the mixture to a large bowl and continue.

Fold in the blueberries, covering them in flour. Pour in one cup of cream and the lemon extract, then carefully work it in for 30 to 40 seconds. The mixture will be very sticky, and there will still be visible flour. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the reserved flour onto your work surface and tip the dough out onto it, scraping the bowl. Cover your hands with some of the remaining flour, pat, and roll the dough into an even log, about 9-inches long (sprinkle the rest of the flour on the dough if it's too sticky to roll). Flatten the log to roughly a ½-inch thickness. Slice the flattened log into thirds, then cut each section diagonally to form triangles. Transfer onto the lined sheet pan. Brush the reserved cream onto each scone and sprinkle with the reserved monk fruit. Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops have set and no longer look wet.

Scones will keep in an airtight container on the counter for two days or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Until next time friends … xo, ani


* First Street is a Smart & Final store brand. 

Disclosure: This post was partially sponsored by Smart & Final. To help offset the cost of recipe development and post production, I occasionally enter into collaborations with brands I use and trust. Only products and ingredients that I use in my own kitchen and serve to my family are recommended here on Confessions of a Foodie. I often make specific recommendations in my posts even when there is no sponsorship involved because I want you, my readers, to be able to duplicate my results. For transparency, however, sponsored posts will always be identified. 

Until next time, friends ... xo, ani

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