I have this almond strawberry shortcake recipe for the book that I have now made four times. I love this cake, but honestly I would be ok if I didn't have it again for awhile. Not to mention there are two of us in this lovely apartment, and I have a paranoia about food going to waste, so even while giving some away to friends, guess who has been eating a lot of cake? Yea. So I went to Zumba last night, trying to make up for cake... and scones. Have you been? It's so ridiculous that I keep going back. It's a workout of embarassing salsa-type moves that make me feel like I am in some terrible latin children's musical. The high school girls in their booty shorts and the older women who wear jingly belly dancing belts, it's entertaining, but still liberating in its own way. I think it's because there is no way you could take yourself seriously in that hour, and I like being forced into that state of mind.

I have unsuccessfully made scones a few times, but this recipe is my sweet victory for the previous batches which either spread flat or came out tasteless. Their edges may be imperfect and they don't have the lighteness that a bakery scone using all white flour yields, but I wouldn't change it. The spelt and oat bran give a warmth and heartiness to the scone, while it still welcomes a thin shmear of creme fraiche or butter. The trick to a good scone is to use your hands, not tools, so you can be gentle as possible as to not overmix and work quickly so the batter stays cold. I may not be a master yet, but these are pretty delicious. undefined

Ratios adapted from Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

1 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Spelt Flour
1/2 Cup Oat Bran
1/4 Cup Natural Cane Sugar
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Nutmeg
2 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
5 Medjool Dates, cut in small pieces
6 Tbsp. Butter, cold
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp. Orange Zest

Turbinado Sugar for Garnishundefinedundefined

1. Preheat the oven to 400'. Mix both flours, oat bran, sugar, salt, nutmeg and baking powder together. Mix in the chopped pecans and dates.
2. Working quickly, cut the butter into chunks and work it in to the flour mix with your fingers until you get small pebbles.
3. Whisk the egg, cream and zest together and add about 3/4 of the cream to the flour and incorporate with as few stirs as possible. Add more of the cream as needed until you get a shaggy dough that just holds itself together. Pat it together and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in two and make two disks that are about 1.5'' thick. If you just want to cook four scones for now, wrap the other disk tightly in saran wrap and keep it in the fridge. Cut the disk in half, then in half the other way so you get four triangles. Place them on the parchment. Brush a bit of the remaining cream on top and sprinkle a few pinches of turbinado sugar on top. Bake on the middle rack for 16-18 minutes, rotating the baking tray half way through cooking. Remove to cool. Serve just above room temperature with a bit of creme fraiche.undefined

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Reader Comments (47)

heee, I have always been too scared to try Zumba! I've watched bits and pieces of classes while waiting for my yoga class at the gym, though, and it looked like everyone was having a ball. Maybe someday :)

I love the nutty heartiness of whole grain scones - and date-pecan sounds like a winner combination!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Your Zumba comments made me laugh out loud. These look delicious.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen O

I've gone to Zumba once and I cannot bring myself to go back. I cringe at what I must have looked like- it was not a sight for sore yes thats for sure. But I suppose it's a small price to pay, to be able to indulge freely in sweets!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbianca

i want to go to zumba and eat scones with you!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercourtney

They look beautiful! I love your chalk board label on your sugar jar (at least that's what it looks like).

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

imperfect scones are really the only way to go, i say. these look warm & all the grains. in line with kim, heidi & company - thank you for making baking with an array of grains achievable. i've been making whole wheat based scones for quite a while but will be tackling this twist this weekend. have also been on the verge of using dates for a long time but nothing tipped the scales...until this. as i've mentioned before, you truly make trying new ingredients tangible.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterheather

I've never been to zumba, but it looks so fun :D And pretty funny too. Your scones look fantastic :D

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi @ Food Doodles

Love the first shot of the flour & sugar. Keep lettin loose at Zumba Sara! :) I was at a cardio class today and can totally relate to the high school girls in booty shorts. There were 3 in front of me this morning! All "getting ready" for graduation tonight! I was able to keep up more than they could. Ha! Yay for the 36 year old! Oh and making your summer lentils for a picnic this weekend! Thank you again! :)

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYumi

I actually prefer my scones made with whole wheat/spelt flour. It's so much hardier and comforting to me, but maybe that's because I'm used to eating those flours all the time.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

Are these Gluten Free? I am learning about this specific diet and not sure about those flours?

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline Pulliam

@Anna - yes, its chalkboard paint!
@Caroline - No, they are not gluten free, but I think you could work with the ratio to make them such. Use Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (Bobs Red Mill or King Arthur are my favorite) and sub in buckwheat flour instead of the spelt. Oats/oat products are naturally gluten free, but it depends on the processing facility if they can be labeled as gluten free. If it is a sensitivity, you should be fine, if highly allergic, seek out GF Oats which are processed on different equipment than other grains.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

You have my attention with this post. I frequently do the coffee + scone afternoon thing. Lovely!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

i have never, ever made scones before. i have a favorite bakery nearby who makes THE BEST SCONES IN THE UNIVERSE and i think i'm scared mine will absolutely, NEVER add up.

but i might try these anyway. :)

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

I don't know when it happened, but all of a sudden, I much prefer the slight heaviness and chewiness of whole wheat, especially in the morning. I can't wait to try these :)

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

i routinely flub up scones trying to incorporate whole grains. i'll need to try your ratios, sara! and zumba? oy, it's a trip.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn

Oh, I love this. I am obsessed with scones. Do you think I could use raisins or figs instead?

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkeishua

Sara- these look fabulous, and dates are one of my favorite foods! Can you suggest something to substitute for the heavy cream, as i'm lactose intolerant? Could i use yogurt?

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsey

@keishua - yes, raisins will be fine... any dried fruit actually.
@lyndsey - I think you could use yogurt. I am sure the texture would change slightly, but I imagine it will work fine. Do the same as the directions using cream, not adding all of it at once so your dough doesn't get too wet.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

I have not tried zumba for exactly the reasons you suggest (who wants to be in a terrible latin musical). But, if it allows you to eat and make such great things, keep going back.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTender B.

Holy whiplash, Batman - a request for GF recipe was answered! Sara, you're now teacher's pet. Discovered, after years of feeling poorly, that I have Celiac spite of that, I read your recipes and fantasize! I was a fair to middlin' kinda baker who used the "pinch of this, eyeball that" method with ingredients; however, GF doesn't yet allow me to do so. That said, I'm going to troll on-line recipes for GF scones, simply for alternate GF flour suggestions. I look forward to biting into scones...warm scones. Thanks for the recipes...and, if you have a chance, give Boot Camp a go! I'm down four dress sizes and have lost mucho inches.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdc

i am making these for sure!!

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternicole @ deliajude

The odd shape of your baking paper has me intrigued!? I love dates and pecans in scones. I'll have to add them to my trusty gluten-free scone recipe next time I make them,it's been awhile.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteremm

Ha! Once again I am so right there with you. I love Zumba because it's so ridiculous you can't take yourself seriously - especially if you're in one of those rooms whose walls are lined with mirrors and you can see everything you do! - and so you can just cut loose and be whatever you happen to be for that hour. I also love scones and have been playing with using sprouted grains in them. Have you tried freezing your scones for 30 minutes to an hour before baking them? I find that it lightens them up delightfully (but they still have the friendly heartiness of the whole grains)!

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Mmmmm dates! I want to dunk one of these in my morning coffee and then use the calories and caffeine to my advantage at sculpt class :)

This past weekend I was visiting some little cousins who made me do this crazy Dance Central video game with them, and being a girl with not much rythym, I could totally relate to your Zumba class. Too funny! Good workout though. Great looking scones - love dates and pecans together.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrenee@sweetsugarbean

So rustic and wholesome looking. I think scones may be my favorite things to photograph! And whenever I see one, I just can't help but imagine it with a smear of strawberry jam, warm and steaming, soft and sweet in the middle.... bliss.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I love using turbinado sugar on top of muffins and things! The crunch is wonderful :) I think you might have to invest in some jingly bells. It should lure in some older ladies so you can get them to eat some of your cake calories. Thank god I work in an office with technicians constantly running in and out - they eat most of my baked goods before I can even consider going in for seconds!

zumba rules. almost as much as your blog.
these scones look delicious!!

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermaya

I make scones about once a week and I'm always looking for more recipes to try. Thank you for sharing these wonderful treats with us!

loving this scone recipe. zumba is hilarious.. i'm not very coordinated, but i can still have fun!

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramanda@seegirlcook

i really like the layout of your site...this is my first time visiting it. the photographs are great. i just started blogging a few months ago about food and wine. if you have any tips for me my site is thanks!

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeau Morgan

I love this recipe! Will be making it on Saturday morning as a surprise for the boyfriend. Dates and pecans? Yes!!!

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Dates in scones is perfect in my opinion. It reminds me of my childhood. As for the Zumba - I can't get into it but so many are. Whatever makes you get up and move your booty is a good thing I say.

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherilyn Palmer

I made these a few days ago. I'm gathering the ingredients to make them again right now. Too delicious!!!

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOne in a Brazilian

So true about Zumba! It's pretty hilarious and people DO seem to get serious about it (see belly dancing belts). But I still love to dork out and get into it for that hour. I take it as an opportunity for silliness. I need more of that. The scones look great, too!

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermonica

Just came across your blog from a comment you left on Lottie + Doof (Greek yogurt for those tequila pops? So good.). So glad I found you! Been looking into this Ancient Grains book too, and the more I see, the closer I am to pouncing. Thanks for sharing!

What a great scone recipe! all those wholegrains, sweet dates, rich pecans ... I want so much to make these for breakfast tomorrow! (except I don't have eggs, or cream, or dates, or pecans ... )


Your class sounds super entertaining, and your scones look fantastic. I am somewhat addicted to scones (and to biscuits) so I'm definitely bookmarking these to try soon. Thanks for sharing!

Oh man I love pecans. Never thought to put them in scones. I eat them right out of our container. They never make it into my baked goods. Lovely.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Love that shot of you with the mixing bowl. Gorgeous!

I used to make scones quite often for an afternoon snack but haven't over recent years -- so thanks for giving me a bit of inspiration. These look so tasty, the turbinado sugar on top is a great idea. And I am feeling you about Zumba! I have curiosity over the function of the jingly belts (or maybe I'm just jealous I don't have one).

Your words on Zumba makes me smile:) I l-o-v-e the combination dates and pecans and made a superyummie Raw luxury chocolate brownie using those ingredients (among others)
Keep shakin it<3

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElenore Bendel Zahn

"like I am in some terrible latin children’s musical..." Hahaha! That is hands down the best description I've ever heard for Zumba - you hit the nail right on the head :) Amazing.

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCallie {Rawxy}

Hey Sprouted, long time fan, first time writer.

This is kind of a Southern thing, so I just wanted to make sure you know about pecan pie bites, as you have 2 out of 3 ingredients already:

whole, pitted dates
dark chocolate (at least 75% cacao)

1. Roughly crush pecans and chocolate, separately:

(pecans + plastic baggy) + hammer = happy pecan shards

2. Stuff whole date with pecan shard and chocolate shard.

3. Eat and prepare to be amazed.

Thanks for all the great ideas,


July 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen carter

they look amazing i LOVE dates!

July 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbetty

I tried these lovely scones the other day and they are fantastic! I have been thinking about them ever since, and think I need to make a second batch! :)

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

I just discovered your blog. A quick favorite…the photography, simplicity, and healthy recipes. How did I not find it earlier? I found it on I’m going to try this recipe…but with my date and fig purée. Ever tried subbing a puree for sugar? I'm gonna try it. Will let you know how it goes. Cheers from NZ, Irina

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIrina

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