In our article “Behind that ‘healthy’ muffin”, we talk about the two different types of muffins and how the ‘English’ variety has fewer calories compared to the ‘American’ variety. This is because the English variety is not laden with fat, sugar and eggs, which some American muffins are.
Scones are a little like an English muffin, in that there is a substantial amount of flour with only a little butter added and some milk. (English muffins, however, are often leavened with yeast while scones use baking powder as a raising agent.)
Brioche, nutritionally and energy wise, are in a different league to English muffins and scones due to the high content of butter and eggs. Again, yeast is used as a raising agent, as in English muffins.
So, let’s look at a scone and again review what happens when they become larger than a small one at 40 grams – and have butter and jam added – or feta and bacon.
Plain scones, calories and nutrition per serving (1 serving=1 scone/40g)
Calories: 145 kcal (606kJ)
Now add a dessertspoon of clotted cream and some jam (the Devonshire tea scone) and you are adding at least 50 calories (209kJ) – more if you heap it on.
So, let’s go back to the drawing board and just add some sultanas or dates to the basic scone recipe. That’s not as bad as the dried fruit, although providing some sugars also gives you a little fibre. And if you make a cheese scone, it will add only a few calories through the added fat content – as long as the scone remains small and there is no added butter.
But, let’s go to those bigger scones in the bakery and some of the takeaway coffee shops. Some of these scones are three times the size of a basic scone and are packed with feta, herbs, bacon, pesto or dates and fruits. Some of the cheese scones have more than needed cheese added.
So now what? For an inkling of how much extra energy, sugar and fat can be in some scones, refer to the guide on the Starbucks website for their blueberry scone, as follows (1 serving size/100g)
Calories: 420 kcal (1720kJ)
It’s lovely to have a scone every now and then but let’s not fool ourselves about their nutritional value. Low in fibre and with the wrong things added and/or upsizing them – this puts scones in the ‘eat occasionally category’ for most of us.