Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones

Susan from Food Blogga

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp Smart Balance, chilled (butter substitute)
1/4 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh Medjool dates, coarsely chopped (about 10-12)
1 Tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 cup pistachios

Optional egg wash for top of scones:
1 egg, lightly beaten OR 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp low-fat milk, lightly beaten

Simply brush on top of scones before baking for a shinier, softer finish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. To toast the fennel seeds, add to a dry skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk cottage cheese, buttermilk and vanilla; set aside.

In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chilled butter (in small pieces), and mix with a pastry blender or fork, until a coarse meal forms with tiny pea-sized butter pieces. Mix in orange zest, dates, fennel seeds, and pistachios. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a fork, mix until just combined. Do not over mix or the dough will become leaden.

Using a floured surface, shape the dough into a disk, about 1/2-inch thick. With a wet knife (to make slicing easier) cut the dough into 8 triangular shaped scones. Place scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between them.

If using, then brush egg wash over the tops of the scones before baking. Otherwise, place in oven.

Bake scones 15 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Once baked, transfer to a rack to cool.