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Maple Nut & Pear Scones
“Delicate pears, pecans and maple flavor make these scones really special. Our makeover of this tender, flaky breakfast pastry uses reduced-fat cream cheese, canola oil and just a touch of butter to replace 1½ sticks of butter. The addition of rolled oats and whole-wheat pastry flour boosts fiber and enhances the nutty flavor. For more fruit intensity, serve with pear butter.”
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup plus 1½ teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons chilled reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup diced peeled pear, preferably Bartlett (1 large)
½ cup chopped pecans, or walnuts, divided
¾ cup low-fat buttermilk, or equivalent buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon maple extract, (see Note) or vanilla extract
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze
1Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
2Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub cream cheese and butter into the dry ingredients. Add oil and toss with a fork to coat. Add pear and ¼ cup nuts; toss to coat. Mix buttermilk and maple (or vanilla) extract in a measuring cup and add just enough to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork, until the dough clumps together. (It will be sticky.)
3Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times; do not overwork it. Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into a 7½-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup nuts, pressing lightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1½ teaspoons sugar.
4Bake the scones until golden and firm to the touch, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Make Ahead Tip: The scones are best served the day they are made. Wrap any leftovers individually, place in a plastic bag or container and freeze for up to 1 month. For a quick weekday breakfast, wrap a frozen scone in a paper towel and microwave on Defrost for 1 to 2 mi
Note: Maple extract, which can be purchased in the spice section of the supermarket, contains the essential flavors of maple syrup, usually diluted with alcohol. Maple syrup cannot be used as a substitute. Products labeled “maple flavoring” usually contain imitation or artificial ingredients.