So… what’s your experience with vegan scones? Though I’ve had a few tasty ones in my life, both places I’ve worked most recently sold vegan scones that I would never pay money for. Dry and flavorless or dense and veering on gummy are some of the terms I’d use to describe them. I got put in charge of redeveloping the vegan scone recipe at my current bakery job, and as I was pondering the possibility, I thought about the non-vegan scones we make there.
You would think that subbing vegan margarine (or coconut oil if you can afford it) for butter and non-dairy milk for cream would work out pretty well for making a vegan version of a traditionally non-vegan item. I disagree, at least in the way it has been done at my work. It was easy (almost inevitable) for the dough to get overworked, it was sticky before baking while ending up dry afterward, and the flavor was really lacking. Plus I like to avoid using margarine (in this case Earth Balance) because it’s fairly processed and contains soy. Enter the dairy scone we make, which actually contains no butter…just heavy cream. My wheels got turning, and I thought how it might work to base the vegan scone recipe upon this one, replacing the cream with the delightfully vegan magic wonder of cooking and baking: coconut milk!
That’s right, my friends. A vegan scone that is tender, crumbly, light, and contains no margarine or oils! And to top it all off, it contains no refined flours and can be made without granulated/cane sugar, should you desire it. I generally only keep maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, coconut nectar and some seldom-used stevia around the house, but I did make this with turbinado and Sucanat on two separate occasions…I have to say the granulated sugar really helped with the texture. But you can certainly create a delightful scone using some liquid sweetener, or coconut sugar if that really floats your boat in the less processed sugar department.
Speaking of texture, the other secret to a nice crumb here is some brown rice flour. It adds a delicate grainy mouthfeel, and I mean that in a really good way. Brown rice flour is my baked goods homie. For reals.
The other important ingredient is regular, full-fat coconut milk. The fat content is important since you won’t be using any other sources here.
This recipe is really versatile. I’m offering up a basic lemony-currant scone for the written recipe, but as you can see I opted for a blueberry-raspberry variety myself today. You can add spices, nuts, different extracts, or other fruits both dry and fresh/frozen. It really is pretty hard to mess up, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Invite someone over for tea, or make these for breakfast. It’ll be fun, I promise. Well, the scones will be, anyhow, I can’t vouch for your personal social interactions.
And fear not, my xgfx friends! I will also share a gluten-free version once I’ve eaten my way through these. Actually, they freeze pretty well too, so I might just freeze them so I can get on that.
Whole-Grain Coconut Milk Scones
(can be made wheat-free)
100g brown rice flour (about 3/4 c)
300g whole wheat pastry flour (about 2 3/4 c) or whole spelt flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/12 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup turbinado, Sucanat, or coconut sugar**
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup currants or fruit
additional sugar or nectar/syrup to glaze
Preheat oven to 400F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet, then add to the dry, folding just until combined. The dough will seem fairly wet, but it will firm up more as it absorbs more liquid. Fold in currants/fruit and turn out onto a floured surface, sprinkling additional flour on top as needed to help prevent stickiness. Shape into an 8-inch round, cut into 8 equal wedges and sprinkle the tops with sugar or brush with syrup. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, until the edges are golden and the scones are firm.
*If you’re using spelt flour, you will likely need to add a little bit more flour as it behaves differently than regular wheat flour. Add a couple tablespoons at a time until the flour is able to be shaped into a round disk.
**If you’re using liquid sweetener in place of the granulated, you will need to adjust the amount of flour to compensate for the extra liquid. Add a couple tablespoons at a time until the flour is able to be shaped into a round disk.