I had the best start to the day today. Not only was the sun shining on the school run this morning, promising the start of spring (am I tempting fate??) but when I arrived at school I was given the fantastic baking book Babycakes by a lovely friend. This book is from the NYC bakery of the same name and has achieved acclaim through being "vegan, gluten-free and (mostly) sugar-free" although not necessarily all at the same time - and has lots of celebrity endorsements for its vegan and healthier favourites.
Before I started this blog, I hadn't tried any Free From recipes before (gluten, dairy or vegan) or at least, I hadn't wittingly tried them. But I have friends and friends' children who have some dietary restrictions and I'm enjoying trying new ways of baking as well as tasting them for myself as I'd always assumed that Free From meant that there was something lacking. Oh, how wrong I was! Armed with my new book, I wanted to try out a new recipe immediately although some of them are going to require a little more product sourcing (I am putting Agave-Sweetened Brownie Gems on my baking list for the next few weeks when I've gathered the ingredients for it!) and so I opted for a simpler recipe whose ingredients I already had with the exception of the spelt flour, agave nectar and a punnet of raspberries - Raspberry Scones. Now these aren't gluten-free as they have spelt flour but they are vegan and therefore dairy-free.
This is a very simple one-bowl recipe but the flavours are fantastic in them. There's a faint taste of coconut, then a sweetness from the Agave Nectar and a freshness from the raspberries which all work together incredibly well. My only criticism is that the batter was quite wet so even though I used an ice-cream scoop for portion control, they tended to spread into random (messier) shapes on the baking tray. However not everything fits into a neat circle! I did think that making them into muffins might make them tidier next time. And although the recipe calls them "scones", the texture of mine are a mix of cake and bread.
But it's great to know that they're a healthier alternative to the usual sweet treats the boys would want for pudding and one of the boys wolfed one down super-fast declaring it to be "very yummy", praise in its highest form from my younger son and it even featured in his daily news report to daddy at bedtime!
Raspberry Scones (Vegan & Dairy-Free) from Babycakes
Ingredients (Makes 8)
- 2 CUPS (225G) WHOLE SPELT FLOUR (I got this from our local health food shop but you can get it from supermarkets)
- 1 TBSP BAKING POWDER
- ½ TSP SALT
- 1/3 CUP (70ML) COCONUT OIL PLUS A LITTLE EXTRA FOR BRUSHING
- 1/3 CUP (100ML) AGAVE NECTAR PLUS A LITTLE EXTRA FOR BRUSHING (again I got this from our local health food shop but then saw it in our local supermarket)
- 1 TBSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 1/4 (59ML) CUP HOT WATER
- 1 CUP (200G) FRESH RASPBERRIES
- Pre-heat the over to 175 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the oil, agave nectar and vanilla and stir together until a thick, dry batter has come together.
- Pour the hot water into the batter and combine.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix through the raspberries until they're just marbled through the mixture.
- Using a 1/3 cup ice-cream scoop, drop mounds of batter onto the baking tray leaving them 1 inch apart as they will spread. Lightly brush the top with coconut oil.
- Bake the scones for 14 minutes rotating them 180 degrees after 7 minutes.
- The finished scones should be golden brown and slightly firm. Remove them from the oven and brush the top with a little agave nectar.
- After 10 minutes, gently slide a spatula under each scone to remove them and tranfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.