Triple Almond Lemon Scones

Six triple almond lemon scones on a cooling rack
Photo: Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN

For any scone sticklers reading I should probably, in good faith, direct you elsewhere, but encourage you to stay.

Owing to a base of ground almond meal and olive oil, these are dense and compact — like a shortcake-scone hybrid. Generous lemon, a touch of honey, plus both vanilla and almond extracts, the result is unmistakably almond, with hints of citrus and sweet floral.

Each bite is so tender it would almost melt in your mouth, if not for the pleasant crunch from slivered almonds flecked throughout. Am I winning you over?

Like most scones, the calorie and fat levels are up there. (Alas, probably not an everyday breakfast, snack or dessert.) Thanks to the recipe modifications, however, where these differ is a much higher nutrient-density — more nutritional bang for your calorie buck, so to speak: Each scone comes in at 7 g protein and 4 g fiber with only 6 g sugar, and provide predominantly heart-healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats.

If working around allergy restrictions or dietary preferences, the gluten-free and dairy-free boxes are checked.

What’s In Them for Me?

Almond meal/flour is naturally low in carbohydrates, provides plant sterols and fiber, and is a small source of protein, vitamin E, plus plant-based non-heme iron, zinc and copper. In addition to nutritional benefits, it helps keep the scones tender and moist, and adds a naturally sweet almond flavor. (Learn more about powdery arrowroot starch.)

One whole egg contains more than 6 g of complete protein. Many of the egg’s beneficial fat-soluble nutrients are found in the yolk, including choline, vitamins A, D, E and K, and lutein and zeaxanthin — two carotenoids that play a critical role in maintaining eye health.

Lemons are high in antioxidant vitamin C, potassium and limonene, a type of phytochemical found in high concentrations in citrus fruit. Limonene is currently being studied for anti-carcinogenic properties, specifically the potential to prevent growth and spread of human colon and breast cancer cells. Additionally, studies show that regular moderate intake of soluble pectin fiber — found predominantly in citrus peels — may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and decrease risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and diabetes.

Olive oil is a source of healthy fats, predominantly mono-unsaturated fats, that help your body absorb all of the beneficial nutrients mentioned above and, with its vitamin E, may help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, and improve control of blood sugar and insulin levels.

Even straying heavily from the traditional, my triple almond lemon scones will charm you all the same, perhaps more. 


Triple Almond Lemon Scones

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed almond flour or almond meal (see HGN Notes)
  • 13 cup arrowroot powder (also called arrowroot starch)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 14 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest, depending on taste preference
  • 2 Tbsp good-quality honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 12 tsp pure almond extract
  • 14 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp mild olive oil (or the same amount of melted unsalted butter, cooled)
  • 14 cup slivered almonds (or same amount of raw almonds, toasted + coarsely chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F, with a rack in the middle position. Line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour (or meal), arrowroot powder, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice and zest, honey, plus the almond and vanilla extracts. Add the olive oil, and whisk again to thoroughly combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and, with a wooden spoon or rubber scraper, mix until just incorporated. Add the chopped almonds, and gently work in with your hands or the spoon/scraper to evenly distribute.
  4. Dump the dough onto a clean work surface and pat it into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 1-cm thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the circle into 8 wedges and transfer to the prepared tray, leaving about 1-inch of space between each — they won’t spread much. (See HGN Notes for instructions to make ahead and freeze.)
  5. Place the tray into the preheated oven and bake, rotating halfway through, until the tops and edges are lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes before serving or storing.
  6. Scones keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Scones also freeze well and will keep there, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.
Notes

I used my own almond flour from homemade almond milk (instructions here). You can substitute equal amounts of homemade or store-bought almond flour. It’s also possible to grind whole almonds in a food processor — the result will be a coarser texture, and may require more or less liquid.

To Make Ahead/Freeze: Mix and cut the scones as directed in the recipe, then transfer to a wax paper or parchment paper lined tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap, then freeze overnight or until solid. Wrap the frozen scones tightly in plastic wrap or foil, and place in a heavy-duty freezer bag for frozen storage up to 2 months. To bake: Place the scones 1 inch apart on the prepared tray (DO NOT THAW), brush tops with cream, if desired, and bake as directed in the recipe.

More Ideas

  • Use any other nut or seed meal/flour you have on hand — from making milks or from the store — in place of the almond.
  • Try lime, orange or grapefruit zest and/or juice.
  • Make it vegan with flaxseed or chia seed eggs. (Combine 1 Tbsp flax OR chia with 3 Tbsp water in a small bowl. Set aside 10 minutes to allow the mixture to gel.)
  • Omit the slivered/chopped almonds entirely, or replace with chopped apple, pear or persimmon (try roughly 1-cm chunks, about 13 to 12 cup total). You could also try an equal amount of unsweetened dried fruit of your choosing — perhaps apricots or cherries?
  • Fold in 14 to 12 cup grated unsweetened coconut.
  • Sprinkle the top of the dough with turbinado, coconut, maple or cinnamon sugar before baking to add a shimmery sweet crunch.
  • Substitute 14 cup chopped dark chocolate in place of the apple chunks.
  • Calories and total amount of fat is really on your radar to limit? Give yourself a break here by cutting the the dough round into more triangles.
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Heather Goesch
Heather Goesch, MPH, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance writer, recipe developer and nutrition consultant living on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. Read her blog for healthy, seasonal recipe inspiration, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn.