With so many loving holidays on the way – Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Days – my mind wanders to recipes for fresh baked goodies like this one. These special vegan scones were ones that I originally created for my mother-in-law. She is English by heritage and by culinary taste, and she simply adores scones. However, my in-laws have been working hard to stay away from white flour and sugars for the past couple of years. In order to offer her a little treat that wouldn’t derail their efforts, I baked up these vegan apple cinnamon scones using a shredded organic Braeburn apple and a little coconut sugar for the sweetness.
Vegan Apple Cinnamon Scones that are Deliciously Healthy and Unrefined
I also decided to take the health factor one step further, by substituting coconut oil for what would typically be butter or shortening in your average scone recipe. Coconut oil solidifies just below room temperature, so it works well as a solid fat in many recipes. Just like chilled butter, I add the solid or slightly softened coconut oil with a pastry blender or fork to get that “crumb” consistency – a preparation method that is typically used with scones.
To keep these vegan scones soy-free, refined sugar-free, and relatively low in fat, I use coconut milk beverage (in the cartons) instead of cream. It is just rich enough and adds a nice hint of vanilla, but is sugar-free and low calorie.
As for the flour, I went with a whole wheat pastry flour, which is a touch lighter than ordinary whole wheat flour due to the lower-protein, soft wheat it is milled from. White-wheat flour should work nicely, too. If you prefer light and fluffy vegan scones, then you can replace all or part of the whole wheat pastry flour with all-purpose or even cake flour. The whole wheat pastry flour definitely makes for a heartier scone … something my palate prefers in the morning or for a re-energizing snack with tea.
I know what some of you may be wondering – coconut milk beverage, coconut sugar, coconut oil – do these vegan scones taste like coconut? Fortunately, unsweetened coconut milk beverage has most of the coconut “meat” removed, so it has a very mild flavor that doesn’t overpower at all in baked recipes. All you get is some creamy goodness. Likewise, the coconut oil and coconut sugar are fairly mild, allowing the apple and cinnamon to shine through in these flavorful vegan scones. If you’re still concerned, then you can use one of the other sweetener options that I’ve included in the recipe and you can substitute shortening (I recommend using organic palm shortening to keep away from the hydrogenated oils) in place of the coconut oil.
And oh yes, my in-laws and husband adore these apple cinnamon vegan scones!
Special Diet Notes: Apple Cinnamon Vegan Scones
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free vegan scones, you can trial your favorite gluten-free flour blend. If you opt to use a gluten-free flour blend that doesn’t contain any xanthan gum or guar gum, and is fairly low protein (such as a rice flour or starch blend), then I recommend adding about 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum with the flours. Note that different four blends can produce varying results.
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut / palm sugar, divided (you can substitute evaporated cane juice (sucanat) or brown sugar, if desired)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (see post above for other flour options, including gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup solid or softened coconut oil (you can substitute non-hydrogenated dairy-free margarine or shortening)
- 1 apple, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup of apple shreds; see Apple Note below)
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla dairy-free milk beverage (I use coconut milk bevrage)
- Preheat your oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place the ¼ cup coconut / palm sugar in your spice or coffee grinder and give it a quick whiz to powder it; this should take more than 10 or 15 seconds. You can skip this step if using brown sugar.
- Pour the powdered coconut sugar (or brown sugar) into a large bowl. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until everything is well-combined. Add the coconut oil (or other fat) and using a fork or pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Stir in the apple and coconut milk beverage, until the mixture starts to come together. It should be a little crumbly, but fairly easy to handle (not sticky) and easy to form into two balls. If it is too wet, add a little flour, too dry, sprinkle in some more milk alternative.
- Take those two balls of dough, and gently flatten them into two disks that are about an inch to an inch and a half high on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the scones with the remaining tablespoon of sugar (the stuff you left coarse) or even a little more if desired.
- Cut or score the disks into 4 or 6 triangles (like a pizza), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the scones begin to take on a nice golden brown hue on the tops and edges. I like to keep the scones touching as they bake for a pull-apart effect and tender middle.