The Musette: vegan scones

What better to enjoy with my recently made strawberry jam? Actually, it was my beloved’s idea. He said:

This jam would be even more delicious on scones.

Now, I cannot eat scones because they contain dairy in the form of butter and milk/cream. So I wondered whether I could create some non-dairy scones. Turns out you can and they’re incredibly light, soft and flaky!

Instead of plain (all-purpose) flour, I used white whole-wheat which gives the scones a lighter colour and a subtler nutty flavour. I also used raw cane sugar instead of granulated. Like the whole-wheat, this translates into a deeper flavour – in this case, caramely, molasses-y vibes. It also means a crunchier, crustier crust.

Ingredients (makes 6 scones, enough for 3 hungry cyclists)

  • 240g (2 cups) white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp  raw cane sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 3 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 375g (1 2/3 cups) very cold coconut or oat cream (non vegans can use double cream), plus more to brush on top

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 (400°F). Line a half sheet pan with greaseproof (parchment) paper or a silicone mat.

 

2. Sift the flour and combine it with the sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add half the non-dairy cream, stir a few times, then add the rest of the non-dairy cream and stir until a mostly-cohesive dough forms.

3. Finish bringing together with cold hands until there are no more noticeable dry spots, but don’t overwork the dough! Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to pat the dough into a square or rectangle approx. 3 cm (1 inch) high.

 

4. Divide into six pieces. Brush the tops with plenty of non-dairy cream, then sprinkle with lots of sugar (they should be completely covered).

5. Transfer the scones to the lined baking sheet, spacing them out evenly. Bake for about 23 minutes – rotating the tray halfway through – until well-risen, with browned bottoms and a light golden crust.

6. Scones are always best the day they’re baked – especially when still warm. However, any leftover – as if! – can be frozen to enjoy another day.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. While these scones were really light and fluffy, they did look a bit rough around the edges. The second batch I cut into squares and then, once baked, cut out scone circles which looked much more presentable.

The Musette: Almond Macaroons

I’m always on the look-out for recipes which use up left-over egg whites. I typically freeze these in batches of four until I have need of them for financieres, meringues, pavlovas, brutti ma buono or, in this case, macaroons. Now these are not the fancy flavoured macarons  – notice the different spelling – piped onto baking trays and filled with delicious buttercream and jam. No, these are a much more rustic affair and are spooned, or scooped, rather than piped into muffin trays.

Ingredients (makes 20 or so)

  • 150g egg whites
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 100g flaked or chopped whole almonds

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 (350°F/325°F fan). Beat together the egg whites, ground almonds and sugar until thick and smooth. The batter will be quite runny. Don’t worry, this is what makes them gloriously and satisfyingly chewy.

2. Rest the batter in the fridge for at least half an hour.

3. Scoop (I use a range of different sized ice cream scoops) or  plop a tablespoon of the batter into each non-stick muffin hole. Sprinkle the top of each macaroon with chopped or flaked almonds.

4. The small ones bake in around 20 minutes, or until lightly golden, and set on top. The larger ones need 30 minutes.

5. Cool completely  – if you can wait that long – before serving with tea or coffee.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. The almonds can be replaced with ground hazelnuts, or ground pistachios. In which case, instead of topping with flaked almonds, top with chopped hazelnuts or pistachios.

2. For a lemon flavour, add a drop of lemon essence and the zest of a lemon. Top with glace lemon peel.

3. I like that the centre of these resembles and tastes like marzipan but you could, insert a dark chocolate chip into a hazelnut macaroon or a fresh raspberry into a pistachio one. or maybe even a cherry. The possibilities are endless.

4. I’ll often serve these warm with some fruit compote for a dessert.