Low-Fat Lemony Medjool Date and Pomegranate Scones

These sweet-tart scones are low in fat yet high in flavor. With bright red pomegranate arils and soft, chewy Medjool dates, they make an ideal addition to a holiday brunch.

Makes 8 scones

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Smart Balance, chilled (butter substitute)
1/4 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh Medjool dates, coarsely chopped (about 6)
1/4 cup pomegranate arils (the edible red pieces of fruit)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews or walnuts

egg wash: 1 egg, lightly beaten OR 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon low-fat milk, lightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling on tops of scones

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place oven racks in top and bottom thirds of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk cottage cheese, buttermilk, lemon zest, 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 dates, pomegranate arils, and nuts. 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 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Brush egg wash over the tops of the scones and sprinkle with turbinado sugar before baking.

Bake scones for 15 minutes, rotating pans mid-way through. Bake until puffed and golden; transfer to a rack to cool.