When it comes to scones I’m a traditionalist through and through. Tea time is a big thing here in Blightly and indeed the wee place I hail from… Ireland. In fact, I read somewhere once that us Irish consume more tea than the UK combined. It wouldn’t surprise me… ‘ah, go on, go on’ – any Father Ted fans out there? I digress.
So, yes. Tea time and indeed its traditional afternoon counterpart (the humble scone) are something I am all too familiar with. Coming from a time when Home Economics was treated as an actual subject I can remember the very first thing I ever made and unsurprisingly it was the almost fail safe scone – pronounced ‘sc-ON’ not ‘sc-OWN’ where I come from although the ingredients and method are exactly the same.
Once mastering this simple skill (as most school children no doubt did) I then went on to make a habit of surprising my parents with the occasional impromptu tea and scone treat when they came home from a hard days work. They made all the right noises at the time but I’m sure the last thing they really wanted before their evening meal was a stick-to-yer-ribs scone… what can I say, I was and continue to be a ‘feeder’.
These vegan wholemeal scones aren’t a world away from those straightforward semi-sweet breads of my childhood – just subtle enough to take a heap load of sugary jam and maybe even a generous smear of ‘butter’. And, as a side note, I’m afraid the only add-in I can approve of in this instance is a handful or two of sultanas – but only in the plain flour sort mind, so don’t go throwing ’em in here. The texture will, of course, be slightly different due to the wholemeal addition but in the best possible way… and easier on the digestion system too. Yep, there’s a spoonful or two of sugar and perhaps a slightly unusual splash of vanilla extract but crucially not enough to affect the taste, just lift the flavour a little and give it a bit of a boost.
The buttermilk bit, in case you are confused, is all down to the cider vinegar but you could easily add a little lemon juice instead. The result is a substantial yet ‘springy scone’ that possesses the perfect balance of bite and crumble (crucial in my humble opinion) making this a bit of a game changer for me – my afternoon tea’s may never be the same again.
what you’ll need
200g wholemeal flour
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp sugar
85g cold vegan margarine/butter
175g soya milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
what you’ll do
pre-heat the oven the 220 degrees celsius/420 fahrenheit.
pour the soya milk (or other suitable plant milk) in a jug and add the cider vinegar and vanilla extract – set aside to curdle.
place the flours in a large mixing bowl along with the baking powder, bicarb, salt and sugar. gently incorporate.
lightly rub the butter through the flour mix using your fingertips until combined. make a well in the centre and add the soya milk mix. quickly incorporate using a metal spoon until it just comes together – the mixture will be quite wet.
generously flour a surface and your hands and turn the dough out onto it. very lightly knead the dough (turning it only several times) and flatten into approximate oval shape about 4cm thick. flour your scone cutter and depending on what size you prefer press out as many scone shapes as possible before reshaping the dough and repeating until all or most of the dough is used.
dust each scone with flour before baking for 10-15mins, depending on your oven – I baked mine for exactly 14minutes. transfer to a cooling rack and once cool slice and serve with butter (or vegan clotted cream) and a dollop of jam… oh, and don’t forget the tea!