There are some ingredients we just cannot get away from in our home. On occasion, we still use eggs and full fats such as coconut oil to achieve the “perfect” texture in our baked goods. One morning food that my son and I both love are scones. He is a big berry fan, so this recipe features blueberries but feel free to use a variety of flavors (some are listed later in this blog post).
While I have spent several months trying to tweak this recipe, I just could not get the right texture without a hard fat such as coconut oil. Now, that is not to say that lower fat scones can’t be a family hit. In fact, I make those most of the time and save these higher fat scones for a “once in a while” special treat. The main differences between these scones can be easily visualized below. Fat free scones spread and are a much softer chewy baked good while the higher fat scones hold their shape and offer a drier scone texture more in line with something you can purchase at a bakery or café. Both are wonderful and have their virtues. Softer scones are a good choice for an early eater (9-12 months) or our elderly family members needing softer textures and the firmer higher fat scones are great for Sunday brunch with coffee or hot cocoa for the little ones.
Scone storage is of paramount importance! Obviously, these are best enjoyed right out of the oven, but you have several options for storage as well. These vegan scones will last 3-5 days in the fridge if placed in an airtight container on top of a paper towel or Muslim square and placed way back in your refrigerator. They get gooey and sticky if left on the counter for even one day, so please store them in a cold place. If you want to whip up a dozen or so, you can wrap them in Muslim (or similar thin cooking cloths) and store them in an airtight bag in the freezer for 1-3 months (longer in a deep freeze). Making very small scones and storing them in the freezer makes breakfast a breeze on days you cannot cook. You can serve small infants one and larger children several. Just place them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes or microwave for 10 seconds.
*Always check the temperature for your little ones, especially when using berries as they can become VERY hot (cool for the little ones and test the temperature of the berries on your inner wrist before serving).
1 1/2 cup of a gluten free flour blend (I like to use Pamela’s bread mix for this)
1/4 cup of quinoa flour (this adds some nutrient variety)
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal (this adds omega-3 fatty acids and fiber)
1/4 cup sugar of choice (coconut sugar or date sugar is a great choice for infant and toddlers)
1-2 tsp baking powder (you’ll have to adjust based on our results)
1/4 tsp salt
Spices as desired (ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, and even cardamom are great; avoid nutmeg)
1 cup of berries of choice (whole blueberries and chopped strawberries are our favorites)
3/4-1 cup almond milk (or dairy free milk of choice; look for calcium-fortified if you and your children follow a vegan diet)
1/4 cup of hard fat (coconut oil, vegan margarine, or grass-fed organic butter if you consume)
1 tsp almond extract (optional but lends a luxurious “cakey” feel to the finished product)
- Whisk together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. If you want to add some spices go ahead! About 1/8-1/4 tsp will do (try Ceylon cinnamon and ginger; avoid nutmeg).
- Add the hard fat and using a fork or pastry cutter, blend it in until the dry mix is crumbly and the fat is uniformly mixed in.
- In a large measuring cup measure 1 cup of dairy free milk and add your almond extract if using. Mix wet into the dry stirring with fork.
- Fold in your fruit. The berries will marble the dough with their bright pigments which is lovely.
- Using wax paper, flatten out your dough into a rectangle or circle and using a large knife or pastry cutter, make desired shapes. If you like and have the time to re-cool the extra dough to shape again, use fun cookie cutters but keep them simple as the dough can easily get stuck in complex shapes. Just pop back into your freeze to firm up a bit between cuts.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15-minutes to allow the fat to harden again. At this point, preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Begin checking at 18 minutes as oven temperatures can vary. You are looking for the toothpick to come out clean from the center and a light brown color to form around the edges.
If you wish to experiment with flavors, some additional options are listed below. Please consider the ability of toddler abilities when using some of these items. Most can be soaked in a simple syrup to soften if you are preparing for young chewers.
- Dried cranberries and orange zest/juice (replace 1/4 cup of the milk with orange juice)
- Chopped dates or raisins with the cardamom and almond extract
- Chocolate chips
- Vanilla beans and sesame seed topping
- Blueberry and lemon (replace 1/4 cup of the almond milk with lemon juice and zest)
- Marshmallow and chocolate chips for a special treat!
- Walnuts with almond extract
- Peaches with vanilla or almond extract
- Lastly, if you wish you can sprinkle a topping over the scones before baking such as a coconut or unrefined sugar. If you want to get REALLY fancy, consider making flavored honeys such as lavender (or use maple syrup) and drizzling it over your warm baked scones just before serving.
- Get creative!
Notes on Baking in a Warm Environment
Anyone who has dabbled in gluten-free baking has come across gooey runny doughs. When using this recipe and you come up against a bad day where your dough is runny, you have a few options. One option is to add in more baking mix until the dough is easily worked with the hands to prepare it on the wax paper for refrigeration. Another option and one I often have to employee, is freezing the dough and cutting it. This method is commonly used in cookie baking and can work great for scones as well. You transfer your dough to a long rectangle of waxed paper you have set in a cookie sheet. Use a spatula to spread the mixture into a long oblong shape (see photo below).
Then using your wax paper, roll the dough into a circular shape as well as you can. Fold over the ends and then wrap the package up in a kitchen towel. Place on a small cookie sheet and freeze for 60-minutes or until set enough you can slice it without it sticking to your knife. Be sure your oven is preheated to the 400°F before you do this part as you’ll want to pop it in to bake straight away.
One final option is to plop the dough into free form scones (see image below) or muffin tins and bake them this way. They’ll look more like muffins than scones, but I doubt you’ll hear any complaints about it!