I’ve dated a lot of scones. Some were so dry, I wanted to ditch them at the table in the midst of our meal. Some were fun at first but turned out to be bad for my health. Still, others were too mushy to handle. Now, at last, I found my scone true love: Rhubarb Scones.
I’m a scone fanatic. The sum of the scones I’ve devoured in my lifetime could sustain the population of a small island for a remarkable period.
In my life’s work of scone eating (one of my more impressive achievements), I developed a clear idea of what I am looking for in my ideal scone:
- Supreme moistness and ultra fluffiness (as in these Pumpkin Scones).
- Alluring flavors (like these Savory Scones with Bacon Cheddar and Chive).
- That perfect exterior crunch at the top and edges.
- AND the kicker—whole wheat flour.
While I’ll never say no to an indulgent, white-flour, heavy cream-laden scone (I’m talking about you, Strawberry Cream Scones), for my regular baking and eating, I prefer whole wheat scones, which are more nourishing and filling.
Concerned about these scones being dense and dry? Don’t be. These rhubarb scones are the culmination of my whole wheat scone baking efforts.
I’ve baked my way through an arsenal of whole wheat scones to perfect this recipe so you can trust me when I say this healthy whole wheat scone recipe with rhubarb is the one. In fact, I think it’s true love.
5 Star Review
“These are soooo delicious! I received 32 cups (!!) of rhubarb from coworkers’ gardens, so have been looking for all the rhubarb recipes!”— Heidi —
How to Make Rhubarb Scones
These rhubarb scones will be the softest, fluffiest whole wheat scones you’ll ever make. From the first bite, I promise that these will become your go-to whole wheat scone base forevermore.
I love today’s springy tart rhubarb version, but I can see endless whole wheat scone variations in my future such as apricot pecan, lemon blueberry, chocolate chip, and raspberry (like in these Raspberry Scones).
Feel free to swap in whatever fruits/nuts/chips suit your fancy. This recipe is super forgiving and adaptable to suit individual taste preferences and the seasons.
- Rhubarb. Not just for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, rhubarb also makes killer scones. Its bright, tart flavor contrasts the sweetness of the scones and compliments the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour.
- Whole Wheat Flour. Provides the scones with a nutritional boost of extra protein, fiber, and iron.
- Buttermilk. For moisture and tenderness that also gives the dough a subtle tang (I also love using buttermilk in these Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins).
- Boiled Cider. Sweetens and balances the tartness of the rhubarb in these scones. See the FAQ section below for more info on boiled cider. To summarize, think of it as a golden, concentrated apple-licious nectar of the gods. (It’s also my secret ingredient in this heavenly Fresh Apple Cake.)
- Egg. For moisture, softness, and tenderness that makes these healthy scones just melt in your mouth.
- Cinnamon. For a little earthy spice that accents the tartness of the rhubarb like a dream.
- Sparkling Sugar. For that quintessential bakery-style finish (like on these healthy Applesauce Muffins) that gives the scones’ exterior a delightful crunch.
- Dice butter and chill in the freezer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Stir together the dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter in with a fork or a pastry blender then gently fold in the rhubarb.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients then stir into the dry ingredients.
If the dough seems dry, add additional buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, until the proper consistency is reached.
- Shape the dough into a flattened 7-inch disk and cut dough into 8 equal wedges.
- Transfer to a baking sheet, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
For crispier scones, gently separate the wedges. For softer, higher-rising scones, leave the wedges in a circle (I placed mine in a slightly spaced circle for the best of both worlds).
- Bake until light golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack. ENJOY!
- To Store. Scones are best enjoyed the day they are made but can be individually wrapped and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
- To Freeze. Scones may also be individually wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature before serving.
Scones are some of the absolute best baked goods to make and freeze ahead.
- Make the batter and shape the scones on a baking sheet just as you ordinarily would.
- Then, instead of putting the sheet in the oven, pop it into your freezer! Once the scones have hardened, wrap them individually in plastic, then pop them into a zip-top bag.
- Whenever you are craving a freshly baked scone, simply unwrap and bake. No need to thaw—just add a few minutes to the baking time. They’ll taste just as fresh and wonderful as if you had made the batter that morning.
True love lasts a lifetime, even my next batch of whole wheat rhubarb scones vanishes by noon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boiled cider is a highly concentrated and intensely flavored apple cider. If you do not have it handy, you can substitute additional buttermilk. Or, to make your own boiled cider: Add 1/2 gallon of apple cider to a large (non-reactive) Dutch oven or pot. Over medium-high heat, bring the cider to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 hours, or until the cider has reduced to about 1 cup and has a thick, syrupy consistency. Transfer to a small jar and store in the refrigerator.
Sure! If you prefer a lighter, milder-flavored scone you can swap the whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour.
If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own by mixing milk (at least 2%) and lemon juice or white vinegar. Substitute the buttermilk in the recipe for 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir them together, then let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes before using it in the recipe.
Whole Wheat Rhubarb Scones
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat if you prefer a milder taste)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup rhubarb diced (or the fruits, nuts, and/or chips of your choice)
- 1/2 cup cold buttermilk plus 2 tablespoons (plus 1 additional tablespoon as needed)
- 3 tablespoons boiled cider (see notes)
- 1 large egg separated
- Sparkling sugar optional
- Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheeting with parchment paper and set aside.
- Dice butter into small pieces and place in the freezer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- Cut the butter in with a fork or a pastry blender or place the mixer on low speed. Continue working in the butter until some pieces are the size of oat flakes and some are the size of your thumbnail. The butter pieces may look large, but this is OK. By hand with a spatula, gently fold in the rhubarb.
- Whisk together 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, the boiled cider, and egg yolk.
- Stir into the dry mixture until a soft, moist dough forms. The dough should be somewhat sticky and not at all dry. If it seems too dry, sprinkle in 1 additional tablespoon of buttermilk.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, then pat it into a 7-inch disk. Cut dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. For crispier scones, gently separate the wedges. For softer, higher-rising scones, leave the wedges in a circle (I placed mine in a slightly spaced circle for the best of both worlds).
- Beat the egg white in a small bowl, then brush over the tops of the scones. Sprinkle generously with sparkling sugar, then bake for 18 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through. Begin checking at the 18-minute mark (the farther the scones are apart, the more quickly they will bake.) Remove the scones from the oven when they are light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- ABOUT BOILED CIDER: Boiled cider is a highly concentrated and intensely flavored apple cider. If you do not have it handy, you can substitute additional buttermilk. Or, to make your own boiled cider: Add 1/2 gallon of apple cider to a large (non-reactive) Dutch oven or pot. Over medium-high heat, bring the cider to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 hours, or until the cider has reduced to about 1 cup and has a thick, syrupy consistency. Transfer to a small jar and store in the refrigerator.
- TO MAKE-AHEAD: Mix and shape the dough into wedges as directed. Then wrap each unbaked scone individually in plastic and freeze until ready to bake. To bake, unwrap the scones and bake, as directed, from frozen. You will just need to add a few minutes to the original bake time.
- TO STORE: Scones are best enjoyed the day they are made but can be individually wrapped and stored at room temperature for 2 days.
- TO FREEZE: Scones may also be individually wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature before serving.
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