Do not ignore the notes for this recipe. Do not. You will thank me when you pull light, fluffy, sweet flawless-by-my-definition scones out of the oven.
Between the slow mornings and happy hours and family time and evening bike rides to get ice cream, there's a bit of time remaining for me to tie up my apron and get to work. "Work". I think, when it comes to work, you're following your heart and chasing your dream when your work doesn't feel like "work". Ya' know? That's why I'm still here, 10 days away from Hungry Haley's fourth birthday! Even when my scones come out with the deceiving texture of a muffin the first time and the stomach-upsetting texture of what looked like/felt like/tasted like a raw scone, I still love this work. It sweet-talks me out of bed in the morning... well, most mornings.
Okay, so I have some news to share while we're speaking of work. Guess who will soon be the woman in the apron in charge of the baked goods case at Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafè. If you guessed me, you guessed correctly! If you guessed someone else, who did you guess? I'm just curious. Anywho, yup - I'm about to embark on a journey of 4-AM wake-up-calls four days a week and I am r e a d y. I might even say I was born ready.
When I met with Jenny, the owner, and Grace, the current baker, to discuss details about the position (which didn't last long because we all knew I wanted it enough already), the conversation eased into what goes in the baking case each morning and Grace mentioned that she'd been working on a vegan scone recipe, but just couldn't get the coconut oil to work how oil should work in a scone. I took a mental note immediately and set it aside for when I knew I'd have 1) time to practice and 2) hungry scone-loving mouths to serve as taste-testers.
My first try ended up a lot like what I've imagined Grace's first try probably ended up like, too - more like muffins than scones because coconut oil just doesn't hold itself together the closer it gets to room temperature like butter does. So, the result is much like a muffin - light and fluffy and still very scrumptious, but lacking in the crumbly, rich and buttery components because the oil smoothed itself into the batter instead of remaining in the solid pieces.
That seemed to be the only obstacle I need to overcome for the second batch. So, this morning - hungry for the sweet victory of (and several bites of) vegan banana nut scones - I strategically solidified the coconut oil, carefully measured out and combined the wet and dry ingredients, and suddenly was interrupted by a little hunger pang. I figured a five-minute break for a quick breakfast would do good to me and no harm to the scones, right? Wrong. After stirring it all together, slicing the dough into the iconic triangles, and sliding those into the oven, I noticed the coconut oil leaking out of the flat, still doughy scones. WHY.
And it was then that I remembered from the week of research I did on the science of baking soda and baking powder that if you let either one sit in the batter for too long, they can both sort of deactivate themselves. Kind of like when I sit in class for too long, I deactivate, too, so I couldn't blame the baking powder. I let them finish their fifteen minutes in the oven before taking them out, looking at them with utter disappointment, crumbling them up into little pieces (for nothing else but a little boost in confidence because crumbling things up feels good), and tossing them into the trash.
With the third batch, which I started on almost immediately, I was as careful as a mom with her newborn baby. No good mom wants her baby to deactivate, and I am the same with the baking powder responsible for fluffy and crumbly and buttery scones. I was determined.
And I was successful. And these are delicious and vegan and a joy to make.
Makes 8 scones
For the scones:
1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour, plus more for the surface
3/4 cup almond flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup chopped mixed nuts, plus more for topping
1/4 cup coconut oil, chilled (see notes)
1/4 cup packed coconut sugar
2 tbsp. almond milk
3/4 cup mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the icing:
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. almond milk
1 tsp. melted and cooled coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Begin by chilling the coconut oil as directed in the notes below.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, spices, salt, mixed nuts, and sugar. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the almond milk, mashed banana, and vanilla extract. Set both aside.
When the coconut oil has chilled, use a knife to carefully cut out small cubes (they don't need to be exactly equal in size) and stir them into the dry ingredients along with the baking powder. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined. The dough should be easily pulling away from the sides of the bowl, slightly crumbly, but not wet or runny at all. You should be able to handle it with your hands.
Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured spacious surface such as a countertop. Roll it out in the flour once or twice so that it is coated. Shape the dough into a circle about 1-1 1/2" tall and sprinkle a light dusting of flour over the top, and another dusting over a sharp knife to allow for smooth cutting. Cut into eight even triangles and place them on the baking sheet with about 2 inches between each.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from oven and cool before adding the icing.
Simply whisk together the ingredients for the icing and spread about 1-2 tablespoons onto each scone. Top with extra crushed nuts and enjoy!
To chill the coconut oil, melt it first and measure out 1/4 cup. Transfer this to a small bowl and place in the freezer. At five minute intervals, stir the coconut oil to make sure it solidifies evenly. When it is solidified through, transfer it to the freezer until ready to use.
Make sure to stir the cubed coconut oil into the dry ingredients before stirring in the wet.
Only add baking powder if you're ready to bake. Prepare the parchment-lined baking sheet and everything else ahead of time. If you don't, the baking powder can lose its rising power and you'll end up with dense, gross scones. Barely even scones, for that matter.
I tried using frozen then thawed bananas in this recipe, and the batter came out too wet. To fix, I tried adding more flour, but ended up losing the sweet banana flavor I wanted. I recommend using fresh bananas.
To ripen your bananas (if they aren't covered in brown spots, which is what you want), lay them on your parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're soft to the touch and brown all over. Let them cool a bit before you peel them.
If you don't have coconut sugar, brown sugar works just fine.