CARBS. Carbohydrates. Glucose. ATP. Fuel.
Have I lost you yet? Please, stay with me!
I’m in a Nutrient Metabolism class this quarter, also known in some school curriculums as Advanced Nutrition. Whatever you want to call it, it’s my absolute favorite favorite favorite f a v o r i t e class this quarter. It’s biochemistry without the chemistry. It’s a scheduled, lectured, graded version of the research articles I read for fun. It’s also graded, obviously, which gives me even more reason to study it (and enjoy doing so) on a multiple-times-a-day basis. I LOVE IT. On several occasions, I’ve blabbed on and on to my friends about how vitamin D-intake regulates calcium absorption and how bile emulsifies lipids in our small intestines and…
… and how important carbohydrates are in the diet. Ohmygoodnesspeople carbohdyrates are so important. The amount of questions I receive regarding carbohydrate intake, sugars, and “have I heard about the keto diet/what is it?” is frighteningly equal to the amount of cookies I’ve eaten in the past two weeks (hint: I’ve eaten at least two a day – do the math).
Whether the questions come from my closest friends, or people I’ve just met who find out I’m a nutrition student, or followers on Instagram, I often have to take a deep breath and a mental step back before I provide an answer. No, I am not a Registered Dietitian nor am I planning to become one, but the material I’m learning in class is evidence-based, so I am totally comfortable sharing it and recommending it as part of my answer for these questions.
WE NEED CARBS. Not 50 grams a day (which would equal roughly a banana and maybe a slice of bread). Not just 100 grams a day. Want to know the minimum amount recommended each day? 125-130 grams. This number is what just the brain requires in order to perform its basic functions – forming thoughts and words and processing incoming information. Now, add on to that (especially if you’re a student) the amount of thoughts and words you’re asking your brain to form and the amount of information professors are feeding it every single day. Add on to that the physical requirements of each day – getting up out of bed, walking to and from this or that place, exercise, etc.
So, 125 grams is the bottom line. 125 grams is needed to prevent the potential dangers of ketogenesis (the production of acidic ketone bodies as a byproduct of metabolism) and ketosis (a state in which the body relies on those ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy).
I don’t recommend counting calories or macronutrients, so just trust me when I say that 125 grams is what most healthy eating habits will include, give or take a bit. However, in the eyes of increasingly popular low-carb diets, 125 grams may seem high. And that is what tingles my nerves because I remember believing in those diets and following them for extended periods of time. Oh, the damage I could’ve done.
I remember trying to make fluffy, crumbly, sweet scones out of almond flour or coconut flour. FAIL. Sad.
These scones are not sad scones.
These scones are definitely different scones, as they do not call for traditional all-purpose flour. I chose oat flour and garbanzo bean flour – both of which contain sufficient amounts of carbohydrates for the body – because 1) my pantry had no all-purpose flour, 2) my nutrition knowledge reminds me that fiber is important and beneficial wherever possible, and 3) my passion for experimental baking encouraged me to mess around with something non-traditional.
The Haley intrigued by nutrition information and the Haley madly in love with baking were both shocked and pleasantly surprised to find out that this happy combination of oat flour + garbanzo bean flour makes for some zayuuummm good scones – scones with organic butter and coconut sugar and complex carbohydrates that the body eats up in the best, most enjoyable way possible, all the while having no idea that these scones are nutrient-dense like nobody’s business.
Makes 6 scones
For the scones:
2/3 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)
1/3 cup coconut sugar (regular sugar works too)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. cold butter
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 cup oat flour (plus more, if needed)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped almonds
4 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
For the maple yogurt frosting:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I love this one)
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
Cinnamon, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk the pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium-large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, sea salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Use a knife to roughly chop the butter into small cubes into the dry ingredients and mix.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. If it sticks to your fingers at a light touch, add more oat flour by the tablespoon until the dough dries out just a bit.
- Sprinkle a small handful of oat flour over the parchment paper. Scoop the dough onto the paper, lightly roll it in the oat flour, and form into a circle about 1 1/2-2" tall (it shouldn't be flat). Cut into 6 triangles and distribute evenly over the baking sheet
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown on top and firm to the gentle touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt and maple syrup. Once the scones have cooled, scoop a dollop of frosting onto each scone and spread over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.