these are, far and away, the best thing with rhubarb i’ve ever eaten. and no, before you ask, i’ve never tried anything with rhubarb in it ever before BUT that doesn’t change the fact that these rhubarb cornmeal scones are seriously delicious. i promise.
i was inspired to try making something with rhubarb because a few of the lovely food blogs that i follow are all kinds of excited about rhubarb right now. after seeing countless mouthwatering posts for rhubarb treats, (including kitchen confidante’s rhubarb bread pudding and cookie and kate’s almond cake with roasted strawberries & rhubarb on top), i happened across this recipe for these orange cornmeal scones on sprinkle with salt’s site. all of a sudden, these rhubarb cornmeal scones with subtle orange flavor started to take shape in my mind.
i looked around at a few recipes for rhubarb OR whole grain scones but didn’t find any that combined both. i knew that i also wanted to work in the cornmeal crunch from sprinkle with salt’s scone recipe. ultimately, i defaulted to my go-to scone/biscuit recipe from joy the baker but made a few changes, notably replacing the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour and cornmeal (which means these are basically totally healthy… ha!).
i was expecting to have to tinker with this recipe a bit and try out several rounds with varying amounts of sugar, since recipes for rhubarb baked goods that i looked at had wildly varying levels of sugar (and, let’s not forget, i had no idea what rhubarb tasted like, i just knew that it’s strong and people tend to add a lot of sugar when they bake with it). given that, i figured i’d start with a conservative 2 tablespoons and then i could always increase from there in my next batch once i had established a starting point.
amazingly, these rhubarb cornmeal scones turned out basically perfectly after the first batch. i was pleasantly surprised by this, given some recent baking tribulations that have yet to see the light of day here because i got frustrated with them and abandoned the projects (for now??). but the sweetness of these scones hit that goldilocks “just right”: my husband likened them to cranberry quick bread, in that the scones are pleasantly tart.
now that i know how delicious rhubarb is, i don’t think these scones will be my last experiment with it (also, let’s be real, i still have about 2 – 3 feet of it in my fridge…). do you have any favorite rhubarb recipes that i should try? lemme know in the comments!
- 240 g. (8 ½ oz. / 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) white whole wheat flour
- 120 g. (4 ¼ oz. / scant 1 cup) cornmeal
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- zest of an orange
- 170 g. (6 oz. / 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small dice
- ¾ cup (6 oz. / 180 ml) lowfat buttermilk (can substitute plain yogurt thinned with a little bit of milk to total ¾ cup)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 180 g. (6 3/8 oz. / 1 ½ cups) rhubarb, diced
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (can substitute granulated white sugar)
- line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. set an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F.
- in a large glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, and vanilla; beat lightly with a fork until they are combined. set aside.
- if you have a food processor, insert the blade attachment then add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, zest, and cold diced butter. pulse for about 15 - 30 seconds to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. the goal is for the butter to be broken down into pieces that range in size from peas to oat flakes. add the buttermilk/egg mixture and pulse until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball.
- if you don’t have a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and zest in a large bowl and whisk until everything is thoroughly combined. add the cold diced butter and using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is broken down into pieces that range in size from peas to oat flakes. add the buttermilk/egg mixture and stir until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball.
- lightly flour the countertop and remove dough from the bowl, placing it on the floured counter. add the rhubarb to the pile of dough and using floured hands, gently fold the rhubarb into the dough as you pat it into a roughly rectangular shape 1” thick. it is more important to be gentle with the dough and avoid overworking it than it is to have a perfect rectangle or have the rhubarb completely evenly distributed. use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut dough into 12 pieces. i kept it simple and cut rough squares but you could also cut triangles for a more traditional shape.
- using a thin spatula or bench scraper, carefully transfer the scones to the parchment lined baking sheet. place them 1” apart (this may require using 2 sheets). sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.
- bake the scones for 15 - 18 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. do wait until they are golden brown on top to ensure that the bits of dough around the rhubarb have thoroughly cooked.
- let the scones cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. these scones are ideal served warm from the oven, though they can also be rewarmed (see notes).
these scones will keep for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature or you can freeze them in an airtight container for longer storage. leftovers can be gently reheated in a (toaster) oven. if reheating from frozen, allow the scones to thaw at room temperature for a few minutes before reheating so that the center doesn't stay cold.
adapted liberally from a hybrid of joy the baker’s sweet and savory buttermilk biscuits and sprinkle with salt’s orange cornmeal scones