For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog Biking & Baking. Sarah is the awesome blogger behind the recipes, and I am amazed by all she does. Aside from blogging, she is a doctor (recently board certified as an Internist! Congratulations!!), an avid mountain biker and, here's where the it gets interesting as far as recipes go... a vegan.
As you can tell by reading my blog, we are anything but vegan in this house.
But her blog still held a very special fascination for me.
You may have noticed that I've thrown in a few "dairy free" or "egg free" recipes or substitutions recently. And talked about working around food allergies. Well, I haven't been completely forthcoming. Those food allergies are little man's. He's allergic to milk, eggs and nuts, which, obviously, changes some things around our house.
We happen to be very fortunate that he is able to tolerate small amounts of egg and/or dairy products as long as they are fully baked/cooked. The heat changes the proteins. Apparently this is pretty common, but most people with milk and egg allergies find out about the allergy before knowing that and would rather not (for obvious reasons) test the theory. He just happened to have eaten baked goods containing dairy/egg products prior to us finding out about the allergies.
But nothing is foolproof, so we don't tempt fate any more than we need to, so I am always looking for egg free and dairy free options for him. So Sarah's vegan blog was assigned to me at just the right time.
Choosing a recipe was, as usual, the hardest part of the process. I had finally decided on this delicious looking recipe for Tropical Oats when she posted a new recipe. And I knew that I'd be trying it. It was for vegan scones. Specifically, Strawberry Coconut Scones. How awesome do those sound??
The coolest part was that it taught me how to make some simple vegan baking substitutions.
The most basic is the flax egg.
And I happened to have flax seeds on hand.
Simply grind the seeds in a small grinder (a clean coffee grinder will work well - I used the grinding blade of my mini-blender tool), turning them from little seeds...
...into a fine powder.
One tablespoon of this powder is mixed into a quarter cup of water. Two tablespoons of this mixture can be substituted for each egg called for in a recipe. Viola. Flax eggs.
The recipe comes together super easily, but I did make a couple of substitutions. The dry ingredients are combined...
...and then some fat is worked into the dough. In "regular" scones, the fat is butter. In Sarah's recipe, the fat is Earth Balance spread. Which I don't have. But I did have a vegan alternative in the pantry. I used coconut oil.
Coconut oil, at room temperature, is just the right consistency for this, and I felt that it was keeping in the spirit of the original recipe, so I went with it. The fat is worked into the dough, and then the liquid is worked in. In this case, the liquid was a combination of coconut milk (Sarah's recipe called for almond milk, but nuts are a no-go, so we use coconut milk) and the flax egg mixture.
Once the dough comes together, the mix-ins are kneaded in. Sarah used dried strawberries and coconut. I didn't have dried strawberries, so I used dried cranberries.
The completed dough is then shaped, cut, brushed with additional milk (whatever kind you're using) and sprinkled with sugar.
And once they come out of the oven, the look and smell fantastic!
Little miss couldn't wait to dig in and gobbled one up as her after school snack as soon as she came through the door. And I was excited to have a worry-free snack for little man.
Sarah, thanks for sharing your recipes and vegan knowledge with me - I will definitely be trying more of your recipes!
Cranberry Coconut Scones
Makes 8 regular or 16 mini scones
(only slightly adapted from Biking & Baking)
1 and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat, 3/4 cup all purpose)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil (original recipe calls for Earth Balance)
1 flax egg (see note below)
1/4 cup coconut milk (original recipe called for almond milk)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries (original recipe called for dried strawberries)
Additional coconut milk, coconut, and sanding sugar for decorating (optional)
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix flour(s), sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add flax egg and milk. Mix until a dough forms. Add dried cranberries and coconut to the dough and stir until mixed through. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll dough in flour and form a ball. Knead 10 times.
Place dough on a cookie sheet (I lined mine with a silicone baking mat) and pat it into a square, approximately 8 inches on a side. Cut the square into 4 quarters, then cut each quarter in half diagonally. Stop here for large scones. Cut in half again for small scones. Do not separate scones after cutting. Brush with additional coconut milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar and coconut if desired. Bake for 15 minutes. Separate scones. Bake an additional 5 minutes so all edges are toasted. Enjoy straightaway or cool and serve later.
For the flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 1/4 cup water. 2 tablespoons of this mixture is one flax egg.
To see more delicious recipes from Secret Recipe Club members, click on the links below: