Perhaps baking delicious (really delicious, not for an acquired taste), yet healthful treats may come easy to some, but it’s been a considerable challenge for me. The words apple sauce routinely send me into a flying rage, and the idea of low-fat anything takes all of the air out of the proverbial tires. If I wanted a low-fat sweet, I’d eat fruit. I’m of the camp that one should indulge, but one should do it mindfully. Savor the best ingredients, the finest eats. Just this week I told friends that when I return to eating dairy, I’m going to savor rich, truffle-infused macaroni and cheese rather than simply dumping cheese on everything.
Believe me when I say that baking dairy and refined flour/sugar-free has proven to be a real challenge. Butter, buttermilks, and eggs deliver necessary fats that help muffins bind, that give cakes and breads their richness. However, after a considerable amount of research (there goes that word again — RESEARCH), I discovered, with great joy, that my beloved COCONUT OIL is a real salve. Not only does it provide necessary moisture, it also serves as a terrific binding agent. And so when I spied this sinfully sweet scone recipe, I knew I had to jump ALL. THE. WAY. IN.
However, Pastry Affair’s recipe held a few obstacles — white flour and refined sugar. If you were in my home, you’d see that I’ve stockpiled on so many alternative flours it’ll make your head spin. I opted to go with quinoa flour as it’s substantive (a little gritty, which is murder for tender cakes but perfection for scones), almond flour for its nutty, fattiness that lends a bit of moisture, and coconut flour for its flavor. Performing conversions as if I were back in high school, I came across a smart combination of flours that served as a smart substitute.
And my guesswork paid off! While these coconut scones aren’t your traditional flaked-out, buttery fare, my version was tender, complex and undeniably delicious. There was a degree of smokiness to the scone and a rich flavor without all of the heft and weight that butter and refined flours yield.
One thing I did learn was that I needed to scale down my oven temperature by 25 degrees. Since I’m working with lighter flours that carry considerable less gluten, I want to preserve the moisture content.
Serve these scones with some lovely blackberry preserves. DIVINE.
For the scones
3/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp maple syrup (if you don’t have syrup, you can use 1/4 cup of cane sugar, although I opted not to use sugar in this recipe)
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil (solid, not liquid)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp coconut extract
3/4 cup lite coconut milk (this is the fattened milk that comes in a can), used mostly in Thai cuisine
For the glaze (optional)
1 packet of Truvia
1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
1 tbsp coconut milk
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the coconut oil and cut with a pastry blender or collect and crumble the flour mixture and coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the coconut flakes, syrup and milk until the mixture comes together. This will initially be a wet, sticky mass, but form the dough with your hands until it comes together.
Dust a clean surface with whole wheat or quinoa flour. Form the dough into a disc that’s roughly an inch thick. With a sharp knife, you can cut the dough into 8 small pie pieces, however, I prefer a rounded cookie cutter. No muss, no fuss.
Add the discs to a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and cook for 15-16 minutes, checking after 12 minutes. Allow the scones to completely cool on a rack.
In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and milk until you get a thick, lump-free paste. Glaze the cooled scones and serve!