Categories: Bread, Breakfasts
Tags: Refined Sugar Free,Soy-Free,Vegan,Whole Grain
This past fall I was lucky enough to go on a dream trip to Ireland with my Mom. We took the red eye flight into Shannon, Ireland, rented a death trap, oops I mean a car, and prepared for the journey to the remote Dingle Peninsula. After easily adapting to being on the opposite side of the car to drive, yeah right, and saying tons of Hail Mary's, we merged with the high speed traffic on the local major highway. Mom oohed and awed over the spectacular scenery as I white knuckled the steering wheel the almost 3 hour drive to Dingle. Did you know that some of the roads in Ireland are less than 6' wide? And that std regulation sized tour buses don't care that they are only 6' wide? Well now you do and you've been warned.
We stayed at a 200 year old restored cottage on the beautiful Slea Head loop. Out every window we could see the ocean slapping the high jagged black cliffs, the rolling lush green fields dotted with sheep, and the charming historic houses perched on the hills. W.O.W! It was truly one of those pinch me moments. Anyways, I knew that eating vegan in Ireland was going to be a struggle, and it was, but it wasn't impossible. It was hard though watching my Mom eating all those scones, especially because in Ireland they serve them with cream and jam, gulp. I swear the cream was some sort of whipped cream and more than once my stomach would release a jealous whine. Well as luck would have it (we were in Ireland after all), toward the end of our stay we found a small vegetarian juice cafe nestled in Dingle town. I enjoyed a huge bowl of vegetable soup served with homemade brown bread all the while eyeing a small basket of scones displayed on the counter. I couldn't get my hopes up, couldn't dream of actually sinking my teeth into a real Irish scone...but it doesn't hurt to ask. Turns out the scones are vegan. OMG! Trying to keep calm, I order one to go, knowing that I have both a toaster oven and vegan butter waiting back at the cottage. She packs it in an unassuming brown bag and I coddle it as we head back to the car... Finally back to the cottage, I inspect the scone more closely. It's clearly whole grain, spec'd with dried fruits, and covered in flaky oatmeal. Waiting an eternity for it to warm up, I slather it with vegan butter and take a bite. Wholly cow it's good. It's just barely sweet, properly balanced with salt, and the texture is slightly moist, more like a biscuit... it totally begs to be paired with a steaming mug of tea, and the dried fruits explode in my mouth, actually shouting with glee "see, we are sweet!". These are not the american scones that they serve at Starbucks. This is a scone you can actually enjoy for breakfast without the blood sugar spike and crash. So I made it my mission to recreate this healthy little gem. Again, this is a true breakfast scone. It's not meant to be sweet. It is healthy and satisfying and you can feel good about giving them to your family. I used banana and carrots for moisture, dried fruits for the touch of sweetness, and whole wheat flour and nuts to make it filling. These are best served warmed and topped with a little vegan butter or jam. If you have little ones who don't appreciate more healthy tasting things or you have a sweeter tooth, you could add some chocolate chips to the batter, but truly they are great as is. Get a pot of tea or coffee brewing and get ready to start your day with a little Irish luck on your side. You're welcome.
- 8 pitted dates, chopped
- ½ cup coconut milk, I used SoDelicious unsweetened
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 pinches nutmeg
- 3 TBS water
- 1 TBS flax meal
- 1 ripe banana, chopped
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup of grated carrots, packed
- ¼ cup of dried apple rings, chopped (use unsulphured if you can find them) or raisins, dried apricots, currants, etc
- Extra oats and coconut sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, pour coconut milk over dates. Let soak for 20 minutes. While dates are soaking, whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. 2 minutes before the soaking period is over, combine the water and the flax meal and let sit for 2 minutes.
After the dates have soaked, remove about half of the chopped dates and set aside. These will get mixed in by hand to the batter later. In a high powered blender add the remaining dates and coconut milk mixture, flax mixture, banana, oil, and vanilla. Blend at high speed until the dates are fully liquefied and there are no chunks left. Pour this wet mixture into the dry. Using a spatula stir and fold in the liquid mixture gently until everything is moist and sticky. Then add the remaining dates, walnuts, carrots, and apples, mixing gently until well combined. Generously flour your countertop with whole wheat pastry flour and turn the dough out onto the surface. Knead the sticky dough for one minute, adding flour as needed. Gently roll and shape into a 10 inch log. Using a knife, slice into approx 1” pieces and place onto the prepared cookie sheet. Reshaping any misshapen scones back into a nice flat circular shape. Once all scones are on the sheet, sprinkle with oats and coconut sugar, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes until the scones are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Warm them later in the toaster oven or microwave. Makes 10 scones.