Today we discuss and make my favorite pastry: Scones. And not just any old scone my friends, Vegan whole wheat blackberry sage scones. These scones are low in sugar, dairy-free, sugar crash hangover free, and stuffed with juicy blackberries and savory sage.
I first discovered scones in middle school. Being American and uncultured, but being a wee bit obsessed with England at the age of 13 (Between BBC period pieces and Harry Potter, I tried horribly, embarrassingly, and very poorly, to convince people I was British.) I was enthralled when the scone made my acquaintance. This was before I knew that many of my ancestors emigrated from England, not that long ago. I thought I was just being trendy, I didn’t know I was discovering my roots. That same year, my 7th-grade science teacher had us all bake scones, possibly to teach us about chemical reactions. What did I really take away? That scones are maybe one of my favorite food groups. My best friend and I sat around the home economics kitchen passing each other scones and harping, “Would you like a scone, dear? Have a scone, love.” We got in trouble for being noisy. And British.
Going back to our current adventure, I don’t bake with dairy. The first and foremost reason because I’m lactose intolerant, the second being that when I do indulge in dairy products and eggs, I want to enjoy them outside of my baked goods as the precious commodities that they are. While I’m not vegan per se, I do believe in smaller, more sustainable agriculture, so I remake a lot of non-vegan recipes into vegan ones. Here began my quest to develop the perfect vegan scone.
Most people associate the scone with sugary continental breakfasts and high tea. A dense block of pastry made with heavy cream that one devours and immediately says, “Why did I just do that to myself?” Not these scones! For years I played around with scone recipes, attempting to make them vegan. I tried other people’s vegan scone recipes too, and never found one that tickled me. The scone has a unique texture that cannot be changed. Don’t give me scone-shaped bread and tell me it’s a scone. It’s not. Don’t give me muffiny triangles and say, “scone?” No. Just stop. Give me flakey or give me nothing.
But a scone should also not be too dry. There’s just no need for that. It’s a delicate balance between floury and soft. A hard scone is only good for one thing: feeding birds.
In the end, the answer to my all my troubles was pretty obvious: Take my favorite scone recipe, and substitute the white flour for whole wheat, the heavy cream for lite canned coconut milk, and the butter for coconut oil. Why was this so difficult for me to figure out? I transformed the scone from a glycemic hangover to an energizing mid-day snack. No regrets here.
The best scones I’ve ever had? Would it surprise you if I said England? But conveniently I live around the corner from a scone restaurant that also serves a full Mexican breakfast: Sconehenge Bakery & Cafe. Yes, you did just read that correctly. Not to be confused with the famous U.K. landmark Stonehenge (I’ve also been there and it’s also pretty exciting.) This marriage between scones and…full Mexican breakfast is enough to get my scone fix if I don’t have time to make them myself. When I do have time, these ones are my current favorite: the vegan whole wheat blackberry sage scone.
Similar flavors to the medicinal blackberry leaf sage tea I posted, these scones speak of summer berries but become grounded through intriguing hints of sage. I’ve also made a blueberry version that I like just as much. Actually, you can use the basic scone recipe to make any flavor of scones you fancy: currant scones, chocolate chip scones, strawberry scones, peach scones, pear ginger scones! Just add a few more tablespoons of flour the juicier your fruit is to soak up the excess moisture. You can also roast fruit ahead of time to cook away some of the liquid content.
It should also go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that because these scones are low in sugar, the sweeter your fruit, the sweeter your scone. And please enjoy with tea.
Vegan Whole Wheat Blackberry Sage Scones
Will make 8 large scones.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons firm coconut oil
- 3/4 cup lite canned coconut milk
- 1 cup rinsed blackberries (I’ve tried chopped and whole, and I like whole better)
- 2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or as much or as little as you like)
1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Using a pastry cutter, mash in your coconut oil until your mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Don’t know what a pastry cutter is or don’t have one? You can do this part in the food processor, but if I can impart any scone wisdom on you it would be to get a pastry cutter. I got mine at a thrift store for a dollar. They’re very low tech.
3. Dump in your blackberries and sage, and pour in your coconut milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough form. Knead into a flat disc. If the dough is too moist, add more flour. You’ll know it’s too wet if it’s sticky and doesn’t hold shape.
4. Cut your disk into 8 separate wedges. Align on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or when a fork comes out clean.
5. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, and then nosh. With tea, and clotted cream or clotted coconut cream.