Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Flaky Blueberry Scones (Vegan)

Flaky Blueberry Scones (Vegan)
One of our favorite treats to eat at any time of day are scones.  I pride myself on making the flakiest, melt-in-your-mouth scones you can imagine.  You can practically taste the butter and creamy flakiness in each bite.  I like to make my scones with bits of candied ginger, cranberries, or the lovely blueberry depending on my mood, not to mention what I have in the refrigerator.

Flaky Blueberry Scones
They go quickly in our house.  Somewhere between breakfast and dinner whatever is out on the counter will vanish.  A smart mom like me, however, always freezes half of the triangular flaky biscuits.  That way we can enjoy them on a weekend morning without having to take the time to make them all over again.

Flaky Blueberry Scones

One of my favorite recipes for flaky scones comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Baking Bible.  If you're not familiar with Rose, do yourself a favor and get familiar.  One of the reasons I have so many of her cookbooks is her over-the-top attention to detail.  I consider myself to be challenged in the bread making category.  I did not for the life of me understand what I was doing wrong with my yeast, why my bread didn't rise like it should have, or why my breads always came out looking and tasting like a brick.

A couple of years ago, I received Rose's Baking Bible as a gift for Christmas.  At first, Rose can annoy you with all of her instructions, including the exact brands of flours she suggests.  However, once I began following her recipes and detailed directions to a tee, I realized she isn't just a persnickety baker.  She has done this over and over and is passing along her tips, knowledge, and expertise to turn your bread baking into a beautiful piece of art complete with airy holes for the butter to seep into instead of the dense blocks of tasteless whatever I had been making before.  With these kind of instructions, I could bake bread all day.  Don't get me started on the therapeutic benefits of fussing over bread the entire day.  I could go on an on. I love it.

Flaky Blueberry Scones

One of the obvious ingredients in scones is the butter. Lots of butter.  Follow it up with whipped cream folded into the scones, and you have a scone no vegan could step near.  Aaahhh...what to do?  The question I asked myself was whether to treat the boys to one of their favorite scone recipes and the girls would do without.  Or, I could attempt to veganize Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe we love so much.  What the heck, let's try. I wasn't going to miss out.

The two items that immediately needed substitutes were the butter (2 sticks) and the heavy cream (2 cups, yikes!).  She definitely does not skimp on the dairy and fat.  Going vegan in this day and age is actually easier than ever, especially if you have highly stocked organic markets like we do near my house.

This past week I found two items that I decided to try as a substitute in the scone recipe.  One was vegan cultured butter made by Miyoko's.  Sure, I could have used regular vegan butter, but I find a lot of vegan butter to work perfectly as a substitute but it leaves some kind of strange aftertaste in the mouth.  I'm assuming it's the oil used to make the butter.  One taste of Miyoko's cultured butter, however, and I knew I'd found the perfect substitute for good old-fashioned butter.  Made from coconut oil, the taste was mild but distinctly buttery with a very faint taste of coconut.  Barely perceptible.  As butter should be.

Next, I needed something to substitute for the heavy cream in the original recipe.  Again, I landed on a fantastic product in our organic market (for my locals, I shop at Roots).  Culinary coconut milk.  Let the Lord above be thanked! The "milk" is very thick.  Don't think of the substitute "milk" in the refrigerator section of your store.  This is full-fat, thick consistency, cream-like coconut milk and worked absolutely perfectly in the scones.  Like the cultured butter, it smelled like a coconut but the taste was hardly noticeable in the scones.  In fact, you'd have to know what went into the scones to even know there was any coconut in it at all.

As for the rest of the ingredients, I followed Rose's detailed directions.  The key to making your scones flaky is the process of rolling out your dough, folding it in thirds, turning it, and then rolling it again for a total of four times.  It seems silly and you wonder what the point is.  Well, the point is in the flaky layers that come from all of the folding.  It takes more time but I'm too afraid to skip this part of the directions.  Remember my bricks of lard?  No more, my friend.  My scones are now divine.
Flaky Blueberry Scones

Taste testers?  Approved.  Madison thinks they are better than my regular scones.  Aidan says he likes them about the same and they're both better than the store-bought versions.  Logan? Well, he says he wasn't in the mood to eat one.  Stinks for him because there aren't any left.
Flaky Blueberry Scones
My one-eyed scone monster

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Flaky Blueberry Scones (Vegan)
A vegan alternative to my favorite scone recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Baking Bible. Made with cultured vegan butter and culinary coconut milk, these scones are as flaky and light as the original.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted vegan cultured butter (I used Miyoko's)
  • 4 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups culinary coconut milk (I used So Delicious)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar
1. Cut the butter into one-inch cubes and store in the freezer for ten minutes to make sure it stays hard.2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, add in your butter and mix at medium-low until the butter is the size of a small walnut.3. With the mixer speed set on the lowest speed, slowly add in the coconut milk until the flour is moistened and the dough begins to come together. 4. Lightly flour a work surface and dump your dough onto it. Begin pressing the dough by hand with the heel of your hand into a rectangular shape. You can use a bench scraper to keep the edges even. Your rectangle should measure about 8 1/2 x 11 inches, roughly the size of a piece of paper. It should be about 1 inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds. Lightly dust the work surface again and do a one-quarter turn of the dough. Repeat the process (press into a rectangle, fold, turn). In total, you should do four turns of your dough. On the final turn, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to allow the dough to rest.5. Roll the dough out one final time but this time into a square. Sprinkle blueberries over the top of the dough and gently press each one into the dough. Cut your square in half and make triangles with each half, each one measuring about 3 inches at its base.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you have a hot stone or extra cookie sheet, place it in the oven while it is heating up. Prepare another baking sheet with parchment paper. Place cut scones on the sheet, sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar, and bake one sheet at at time. Place sheet on hot stone in the middle rack of your oven or on the heated cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the tops have a golden color. Check on them around the 10 minute mark to make sure they aren't baking too quickly. Allow the scones to cool and serve warm (my favorite) or at room temperature.NOTE: This recipe makes a lot at one time. You may freeze the dough after you have sliced them into triangles by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and placing in a freezer bag until ready to use. If freezing before baking, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to baking and bake per directions. You can also freeze baked scones. To reheat, warm them in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 scones