Cranberry Orange Scones: Dairy, Nut, Egg, Soy Free Version

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ok, making a return back to blogging....
I begin with a recipe for scones. For a recent tea party (during Lent, mind you), I was racking my brain and nervously twitching at trying to configure a way to make scones using no dairy and no eggs. Add on top of that, soy allergies, so most vegan ingredients were out of the question with its "soy protein isolate" crap. I ventured out to my Whole Foods, combing the aisle with a look of flabbergasted desperation. "How the hell am I suppose to make scones without butter or dairy....or freaking eggs?!" I screamed at myself in my head. Slowly I went with my shopping cart, about ready to admit defeat to my co-planners when I found it: vegan butter. No soy. BOOM! That's one down. Egg is fine -- used as a rising agent in scones, I could simply substitute with higher amounts of baking powder and hope for the best. But the wet....I needed something to sub for milk or cream or buttermilk. Undeterred, I ran past the soy milk and found it: almond milk. No soy. BOOM! The delicate flavor of almond milk would go with scones perfectly. I grabbed my ingredients and went to work...
I decided to make a classic combination of cranberries and orange. Why? Because it's safe and goes with almond milk, that's why. I doubled the normal amount of orange zest I usually use for scone recipes, used some good quality dried cranberries, and a splash of good vanilla extract with the almond milk to round out the flavors. The result was actually really, really good. Hot out of the oven the scones are most delicious -- the butter is lightly flaked in the scone, the orange zest is most fragrant, and the vanilla and almond flavors shine through a bit more. If you wan wait until they cool, then make a quick orange glaze like I did by combining confectioner's sugar with some orange juice.
This recipe makes 8 individual proportioned scones (or you can cut them smaller for 16 pieces, however you wish). These are great for a brunch or breakfast, and during Lent or if you have dietary restrictions, these will sure to please without sacrificing flavor. Enjoy! 

Cranberry Orange Scones (D/N/E/S free)

2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest
1 stick vegan butter*
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup almond milk**
1 Tbsp good vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add the vanilla to the almond milk and set aside.
Take the butter and cut into cubes. Remember to keep it cold! Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated through, and the butter breaks into small pea-sized pieces covered with the flour mixture.
With the mixture on low, slowly add the almond milk-vanilla mixture to the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together. Add the cranberries and continue to mix on low speed another minute or two so the cranberries can be evenly dispersed in the batter.

Lightly flour a working surface and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a little more flour on top. Kneed the dough three or four times to incorporate the flour and gather it together into a flat disk.

Press the disk outward and flat with your hands and fingers until you get a nice uniform disk, about 12 inches wide.
Now to cut the scones. You can either use biscuit cutters if you like, or an easier way is to just cut into triangles. This is how you do that:

1. First, cut through the dough in a vertical line going down. Then cut in a horizontal line going across (i.e. cut a cross into the dough).  
You want to make sure you cut right through the dough so you can separate it easily.

2. Now cut an "x" on top of the "+". Cut each triangle piece in half, going all the way down the disk.
Now you have 8 even triangles.

Once you have your dough pieces cut through, lay them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in oven:

Bake in the oven about 15 minutes or until the scones are lightly golden on top. You can eat them right out of the oven, or if you desire to glaze them, make sure to cool them to room temperature first.

To prepare the glaze, simply combine confectioners sugar with orange juice until a thick glaze forms (the ratio will depend on the kind of juice you use, but it's about 1 cup sugar to about 1 tsp juice). Whisk together until it's thick but spreadable. Use a whisk to drizzle the glaze on top, or just pour it over if you want a thicker covering.

*Make sure the butter and almond milk are kept cold right up until mixing. This will make for better textured scones!

**You can try using rice milk or coconut milk, but be advise the proportions would probably change. Almond milk has a thicker consistency (more similar to real milk or cream) which is why I chose it for this recipe.