Apple and Oat Scones

I went to England last summer and had authentic scones, which are nothing like what results from this recipe. I need to state that up front before the purists come for me. Although I appreciate the perfect British scone, it serves mostly as a delivery vehicle for homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. What I love most about having scones and tea in England is the setting.

Last July I tramped through the countryside between Cambridge University and The Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester just to have tea and scones, soak up the gentle afternoon sun and try to sense the ghosts of Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw, two of The Orchard’s famous literary visitors.

At home I prefer something with bigger flavor and more nourishing than an English scone. The nutty and coconut flavors in this concoction go well with chili jam, which is what is pictured above. This version is husband approved.

I stumbled upon the basis for this recipe in Green Kitchen Travels, a beautiful book from David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl. The version I present here is the result of having to freestyle because I didn’t have all of the original recipe’s ingredients on hand. Since the Covid-19 pandemic locked Seattle down, I try to limit my trips to the store by not running out for a few items at a time, but shopping once every ten days or so instead.

You can make this recipe gluten-free, vegan, and with no added sugar. Substitutions are listed.

Ingredients

  • 7oz (200g) or 1.75 cups oat flour (you can buy GF certified)
  • 5oz (150g) or 1.25 cups spelt flour (for GF use more oat flour or buckwheat)
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot or corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5oz (75g) or 5 tablespoons coconut oil at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 8oz (250ml) or 1 cup plain yogurt. I used 2% Greek yogurt, but you can use your favorite type or a vegan alternative such as cashew or soy.
  • 2 apples, grated including the peel. They should yield about 6oz (175g) or 1.25 cups.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 430°F. Place a baking sheet on the center rack.
  2. Put the grated apples into a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. Set aside.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients (1st 6 items on the list) together in a large bowl.
  4. Cut the coconut oil into small chunks and add it to the dry mixture.
  5. Add the almond butter.
  6. Using a pastry blender or your hands, work the coconut oil and the almond butter into the dry ingredients until the resulting mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  7. Add the yogurt and the grated apples.
  8. Work the mixture with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatuala until it comes together into a ball, allowing you to gather it into your hands. If the dough is a little bit dry, add a small amount of almond milk (or whatever milk you have handy) and mix it in until you get a round ball you can pick up. If it gets a little too wet, just add a bit more flour.
  9. Turn it out onto a floured work surface.
  10. Flatten it into a round that is about 10 inches in diameter (25cm) and about an inch think (2.5cm).
  11. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the scraps and reshape into a new round that you can cut a few scones from. I used a small cutter, about 2 inches in diameter, which yielded 11 scones.
  12. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and cover it with parchment paper.
  13. Place the scones on the sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until they are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If your scones are larger than mine, they’ll need an extra minute or two to cook.

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