Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Scones with Dried Cherries and Spiced Date Butter....No Sugar Added!

WooHoo--it's time for the North Carolina SweetPotatoes Blogger's Recipe Contest. Last year, if you recall, I went a little sweet potato crazy, making such things as Sweet Potato Bruschetta and (my personal favorite) Green Eggs and Yam. While I didn't win, I had such a good time with it that I was hoping to give it another try.

The challenge this year from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission: Create healthy foods using sweet potatoes. As much as I like butter and sugar (and sweet potatoes!), this one is a hard one for me. Luckily, we are still in the healthy eating mode at our house, so it was easy to get approval from the family on my ideas. Since desserts are my thing, I thought I'd give the "sweets" category a try. No sugar or sugar substitutes allowed. Yikes.

Sweet Potato Scones with Dried Cherries and Spiced Date Butter

1 large sweet potato, baked, cooled, peeled and mashed (a little over a cup)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried tart cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato, buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla and cinnamon. Sift or whisk together the white whole wheat flour and one cup of the all purpose flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix in the dried cherries and then add the sweet potato mixture. Stir together until well blended, adding enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough.

I baked the sweet potato -a large one- at 400 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I used most of it in the recipe, a little over a cup.

I couldn't very well use cream and butter for a "healthy" recipe, so I chose canola oil and buttermilk. The buttermilk combines with the baking soda to give the scones a nice lift.

I'm a whisker not a sifter...mainly because I need a new sifter. Be sure to blend it well, so you don't bite into a slew of baking soda...icky.

The cherries added a nice bit of sweetness.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for just a few seconds. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter. Place the circles of dough on a large baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Cut each circle into 8 wedges and separate slightly.

I cut them into 6 sections, but I would have preferred them a tad smaller.

Bake scones for 25-28 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or room temperature with a dollop of spiced date butter.

These are good enough to eat on their own, but if you like them a bit sweeter, try the date butter.

For the date butter, combine 1 (8 oz) package of dates with a cup of water in a small saucepan. Add 1 cinnamon stick and ¼ teaspoon ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until very soft, adding additional water if needed. Place the cooked dates in a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Making the date butter was so easy! Add whatever spices you like. I kept it simple with a cinnamon stick and a bit of ginger.


Even with the whole wheat flour, the sweet potatoes keep these scones from being dry. And they taste even better the next day.

What should I try next? I'm thinking a vegetarian entree. What healthy sweet potato meal would you make?