I received free samples of California Walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Walnuts and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Whether by themselves as a snack or incorporated into a recipe, like these Cranberry Walnut Scones, California walnuts are a great addition to the diet. They’re delicious and rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
That’s a good thing because we humans need those omega-3 fatty acids for good health. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and possibly improve brain health. But, since our bodies can’t make them, it’s essential to consume adequate amounts in our diets. And that’s where walnuts shine. They are a wonderful source of these essential fatty acids. In addition, each ounce also provides 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and is a good source of magnesium. You can find more nutrient information for walnuts here.
You really can’t go wrong if you include walnuts in your diet. And you don’t have to eat a lot. Just a handful of California walnuts is a versatile snack and can satisfy any taste preference, from savory to sweet. And regardless of your flavor preference, walnuts are the only nut to provide an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, at 2.5 grams/ounce.
About the Recipe
All that being said, I wanted to incorporate walnuts into a slightly sweet breakfast that could also be eaten for a snack. So, I chose scones. I haven’t made a lot of scones in my life, but I do enjoy them now and again. The problem is that scones are often high in saturated fats, because of all the butter they contain, and are often made with all refined flour – meaning they’re low in whole grains and fiber. I wanted to change that and decided to use walnuts and whole wheat flour to improve the fat profile and boost the fiber content a bit.
While this Cranberry Walnut Scone recipe does have some butter in it, it generally has less than the amounts I found in most recipes. And instead of whole milk or cream, I used low-fat buttermilk. However, if you don’t have buttermilk, just use regular milk with a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice added. For flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour combined with all-purpose flour.
To get a nice walnut flavor throughout the scone, I ground some of the walnuts in a food processor until the crumbs were quite fine – almost to the point it started to feel like walnut butter – but not quite. I have a mini food processor that came with my hand blender that works wonders for this! The rest of the walnuts were chopped and incorporated into the batter and sprinkled on top before baking.
I also added dried cranberries, soaked in a little orange juice, to give bursts of tangy sweetness and add a little color too. But you don’t have to use dried cranberries. Any kind of dried fruit found in your pantry would be great in these scones – golden raisins, apricots, cherries. Just chop into bite-sized pieces, if needed, and use those in place of the dried cranberries. Personally, I think dried apricots would be heavenly in these scones and complement the walnuts quite nicely.
Tips for making Cranberry Walnut Scones
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute the same amount of regular milk with one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice added to it.
- Don’t skip chilling the scones prior to baking. Chilling keeps the butter cold and prevents it from melting before baking. This helps produce a more desirable crumb in the finished product.
- These scones are smaller and each 5 inch round can be cut into eight to ten pieces.
- Lightly press the chopped walnuts into the rounds prior to cutting the rounds. This will help the walnuts stay in place while baking.
Really, these Cranberry Walnut Scones are marvelous. Perfectly delicious for a light breakfast or even an afternoon snack. I sometimes serve them with a little homemade honey butter, but they’re good all on their own. And they’re not hard to make, I promise. Why not try them today?
Cranberry Walnut Scones
- small food processor
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups California walnuts (divided)
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup skim buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp turbinado sugar (if desired)
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place dried cranberries in small bowl and pour orange juice on top, mixing it in. Let sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Measure out 3/4 cup of the walnuts into a food processor and process about 1 minute until walnuts are very finely ground, but not quite the consistency of walnut butter. Pour the rest of the walnuts (3/4 cup) onto a cutting board and chop until finely chopped. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, salt, and the walnuts you just processed. Dice cold butter and add to the bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, or two knives sliding against each other, until crumbly - about the size of small peas. Reserve 2 Tbsp. of the chopped walnuts and stir the rest into the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Stir in the cranberry-orange juice mixture.
- Form a shallow well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix.
- Lightly dust a large cutting board with flour. Divide the batter into two balls (it will be sticky) onto the floured cutting board. Form each ball into a 5 inch flattened round. It should be about 1 inch thick.
- Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp. walnuts on top of the rounds and gently press into the tops. Cut each round into 8 or 10 triangles. I find it easiest to do this with a pizza cutter.
- Carefully transfer the cut triangles to the parchment-lined baking sheet and place baking sheet in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
- When 10 minutes are left for the scones to chill, preheat the oven to 375° F. Take the scones out of the refrigerator after they have chilled for 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with 1 tsp. turbinado sugar.
- Place on rack in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
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