Happy Valentine’s Day!

We had a really busy weekend preparing for our upcoming ski trip (my kids have a school vacation next week). I didn’t have a chance to cook anything spectacular (to be honest, we ordered pizza last night), but I did make these indulgent (but still fairly healthy) Oat Cherry Scones with Dark Chocolate.

These scones don’t contain any traditional or gluten-free flours: they are made exclusively with organic thick rolled oats (which make an appearance whole, as well as whirred in the blender to make oat “flour”). Oats impart a naturally sweet flavor as well as many nutrients and fiber: I love how the scones have a dense and chewy texture without being too heavy. These contain a minimal amount of added sweetener (I used light muscovado sugar) and derive their appealing flavor mostly from the oats themselves, the dried cherries and the dark chocolate.

I used one bar of organic 70% dark chocolate in this recipe because I adore it, and because of its beneficial anti-oxidant content. I like Green and Blacks brand, but feel free to use your favorite bar (or substitute dark chocolate chips). I was planning to make these with butter, but once got started with the recipe, I realized I was out and decided to give olive oil a go instead. I generally bake with butter (because I enjoy the taste and because I stay away from most vegetable oil), but I have been trying baked goods with olive oil quite a bit lately and really like the results. If you desire your scones to be vegan, skip the half and half and use rice milk or perhaps coconut milk instead.

It’s important to press the scone mixture firmly in the pan before baking to ensure that the scones stay together when you slice them.

They are still a little crumbly, but I believe this is pretty much “par for the course” if using all oats. If you’re looking for a light and more cake-like scone, I wouldn’t make this recipe.

The chocolate glaze is completely optional, but completely delicious.

Recipe for Oat Scones with Dried Cherries and Dark Chocolate

Yield:

Makes 8 large scones

Ingredients:

For the scones:

*3 cups oat flour (made by processing 3 1/2-4 cups of organic rolled oats in the blender for a minute or two until fine; make sure to use gluten-free oats if you eat gluten-free)
*1/2 cup light muscovado sugar (or use organic light brown sugar)
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 cup dried cherries, preferably without any sugar or preservatives
*1 bar of organic 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
*1/4 cup olive oil or melted organic butter, plus a little more if necessary
*1 cup organic rolled oats
*zest of 1/2 Meyer lemon- optional
*1 cup organic half and half or milk (or rice milk to keep these vegan) mixed with 1 tablespoon Meyer or regular lemon juice (or use buttermilk or yogurt and no lemon juice)

For the chocolate glaze:

*approximately 2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or organic light brown sugar)
*approximately 1 tablespoon organic, raw cacao powder or organic cocoa powder

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil your baking dish (I use a 9 inch round pie pan) with olive oil (or use butter).

2. Combine the oat flour, 1/2 cup of muscovado sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the cherries, chopped chocolate, olive oil, rolled oats, and lemon zest and mix well.

3. Add the half and half/lemon juice mixture and mix with your hands until the dough comes together. Add a little more olive oil to bring the dough together, if necessary.

4. Press dough into the oiled dish. Use the heel of your hand to really mash the dough down, so it's firmly in place: this will prevent the cooked scones from crumbling too much. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough evenly into 8 triangle-shaped pieces.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes minute until the edges start to brown and the scones are cooked through (you can test with a toothpick). Allow to cool before drizzling with the optional glaze. Take care when you remove them from the pan- if not completely cool, they may be crumbly.

6. If making the glaze, combine the 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar with the cacao powder in a small bowl. Adding hot water a little at a time, whisk with a fork until it's a thick but pourable glaze. Taste and add a little more sugar or cacao to your liking, if necessary. Drizzle onto the scones, and allow a few minutes to harden before serving.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

More scone recipes to check out:
Chocolate Cherry Drop Scones from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
Fifteen Minute Oatmeal Scones from Eat, Live, Run
Maple Pecan Oat Scones from Ezra Pound Cake
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cherry Scones from Eat A Beet