Vegan Lemon Blueberry Scones + Why I Bake

Turbinado sugar coated vegan blueberry scones

As I snuggle up on my couch with a warm cup of tea, I once again breathe in the smell of freshly baked blueberry scones. Blueberry scones are not something to be whipped up at 9pm, especially on a Monday when most are reminiscing about the now seemingly long ago weekend.

Scones evokes coffee-scented mornings and afternoon tea in the sun, embodies ephemeral moments in the day. Blueberry scones especially have the unique ability to briefly put life on hold, allowing space to appreciate the simple things in life: the lovely bursts of tangy blueberries, brightened further by lemon zest and the perfect crunch of turbinado sugar.

To make things lighter and lactose-free, coconut oil and milk replace butter and heavy cream, creating an unintentionally vegan recipe for delightful blueberry scones. The coconut flavor does not overpower and in fact is barely perceptible; instead, it heightens the blueberry flavor.

Crunchy, satisfying, light dairy-free vegan scones 

A couple days ago, a beloved coworker of mine lost a loved one. In hopes of giving him even an iota of comfort and familiarity, I baked a batch of blueberry scones for him and his family to tide them through hopeless stretches of mourning. 

This is why I bake: not for the sake of popularity or gaining friends, but to give others a little slice of happiness in their day. 
 

Food for me, and many others, has a way of weaving my life experiences into something more discernible, more understandable and digestible; it grounds me in a way nothing else can. As chicken soup is nourishing for the soul, food not only feeds me but reminds me of a nostalgic past and a better, brighter future. 

Delicious and healthy vegan lemon blueberry scones

Every Monday morning, I bring a batch of homemade-somethings to work. With “eat me” scrawled with a sharpie on an electric blue post-it note and a sharpied heart slapped on for good measure-I leave the plate of baked-somethings discretely on the kitchen counter.

I don’t make any big announcements, any office-wide email hailing the coming of a great cookie. Instead, I watch as coworkers pass by, at once delighted and somewhat dismayed that their healthy-eating new years resolution has encountered yet another hurdle.

These simple delights, these little slices of happiness that I witness on a bleary Monday morning, is also why I bake. It started out as a much needed creative outlet, but has now morphed into something more substantial and holds greater meaning in my life.

Vegan dairy-free coconut oil blueberry scones


(Vegan) Blueberry Lemon Scones

adapted from seriouseats.com

YIELDS 12 scones

Cook time: 45 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Adjust oven rack to the lower third rack. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine dry ingredients and coconut oil. Pulse until the oil disappears and mixture is a homogenous powdery meal. 

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. With a rubber spatula, add in blueberries and lemon zest. Fold in coconut milk, making sure to not crush the blueberries. Combine until the dough is fully combine.

Divide dough into half, shaping each half into 7 inch squares. Refrigerate dough for about 15-20 minutes, until dough is firm enough to cut through cleanly.

With a sharp knife, cut each half of chilled dough into 6 wedges. The faster this is done, the less the dough will spread in the oven. 

Liberally sprinkle turbinado sugar onto of scones before baking. 

Bake until scones are puffed and slightly golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Serve while warm with a warm cup of tea (or milk). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS
 

450 g AP flour* (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
110g coconut oil (1/2 cup), room temperature (but not melted)
340g (2 cup) fresh blueberries**
2 lemons, zested***
450g full-fat coconut milk, stirred to combine if separated

turbinado sugar for sprinkling onto scones
 

Baking Notes:
*feel free to replace 1/3 of flour with whole-wheat, spelt, or oat flour
**thawed frozen blueberries work too; dough will be slightly stained
***try to get organic lemons for zesting to avoid any waxiness

Storage Notes: The dough freezes well; cut into wedges before freezing. Baked scones can be frozen as well. Reheat and serve warm. 

Vegan Chocolate Agave Oat Cookies

Vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies 

After honing her skills in Chez Panisse, Claire Ptak opened up a modest bakery in East London that fully delivers on flavor and comfort. I’ve been dreaming of visiting the bakery ever since, sitting outside the bakery, watching the world go by-as one does in Europe. Once I saw these vegan cookies, a stroke of inspiration hit as I immediately dived into a recipe from Claire Ptak’s The Violet Bakery Cookbook.

A lot of her best hits have graced the blogosphere in the past few years, from her incredible Butterscotch Caramel Blondies to her classic Buttermilk Banana Bread. Naturally, I gravitated towards these reliable favorites like everyone else. But, believing in Claire’s foolproof recipes, I ventured past the shiny classics and discovered a hidden gem, a dark horse, if you will: Chocolate Oat Agave Cookies.

chocolate chip oat and agave vegan cookies 

It’s easy to brush past a vegan, sugar-free, and potentially gluten-free cookie. My first reaction: Is that even a cookie anymore? I’ll take the blondies, thank you very much. My second reaction: how good can they be, really? I had to satisfy this insatiable drive to experiment on all things foreign and obscure. 

perfect vegan chocolate chip oat cookies 

half eaten fresh chocolate oat cookies

These cookies are light on sugar, heavy on time in terms of buying such unfamiliar ingredients. With these cookies, I realize that I’ve barely scratch the surface of the complex world of alternative baking techniques. The laundry list of foreign flours and binders can be daunting, but if you have an afternoon to head over to Whole Foods and buy these flours, I could think of a worse place to start.

Once you pass that initial hurdle, you’ll have opened up yourself to a whole new world of flavorful flours, maybe learn a thing or two on the science behind binders and why they work. At the very least, you’ll appreciate eggs a whole lot more.

Ultimately, Claire’s poetic description convinced me to make these humble little cookies: 

These cookies are deeply satisfying. Oaty and chocolatey in equal measure, they are sweetened only with agave nectar. There is, of course, a small amount of sugar in the chocolate itself, so you could replace the chocolate with cacao nibs or use chocolate made with 100 percent cocoa solids. We used to call this “the vegan cookie,” but found that nonvegans wanted to try it, too. It is made with gluten-free oats and other gluten-free flours (if you can’t find oat flour, just pulverize rolled oats in a food processor). We substitute flaxseed for the eggs, because the flax meal thickens the dough and binds it together in the same way eggs do, and instead of butter and milk, we use vegetable oil and shredded apples. Once we changed the name, these cookies remained popular with our loyal vegan and sugar-free customers, but new fans caught on, too.

Beetroots and Polar bears,
Crust

cooled vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies 


chocolate oat agave cookies

slightly adapted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook

YIELDS 12 large cookies

Cook time: 45 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 355° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. 

In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients well. Then slowly pour mixture into the dry ingredients. With a spatula, stir until fully incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop a dough into large tablespoons of dough, squashing the dough into 1/2 inch disks.  Leave 1 inch in between, these don’t spread much in the oven. 

Bake for about 15 minutes until cookies are a light golden brown.

Serve while warm with a warm cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

dry ingredients

1 3/4 (190 g) cup oat flour*
6 tbsp (50 g) chickpea flour
3 tbsp + 1.5 tsp (30 g) arrowroot flour**
3 tbsp + 1 tsp potato flour***
1 tsp xanthum gum
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt

wet ingredients

1/4 cup (30 g) ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp (100 g) agave nectar
2/3 cup (150 g) canola oil
2.5 ounces (75 g) apple, peeled, cored, processed in food processor
1.5 tbsp vanilla extract

5 ounces (150 g) dark chocolate pieces

 

Baking Notes:
*pulverizing rolled oats in food processor works perfectly; substitute with gluten-free oats if desired
**substitute with cornstarch or tapioca starch if needed
***substitute with rice flour if needed

Storage Notes: Cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to a week. The dough freezes well.