Simply The Best
Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my recipe babies, but I’ve never been more excited to share a recipe with you. These Heavenly Blueberry Lemon Scones are out of this world(ha) and I just know you’ll love them too. They are vegan and can be made nut-free without any compromise or “second-bestness” when it comes to flavor and texture. What you get is crunchy, lemony and sweet exterior encasing a fluffy, soft center studded with tiny, flavor-backed blueberries. They’re honestly a kind of kicked-up, version of my childhood favorite, Bo-berry Biscuits from Bojangles. Let me tell ya, it was a good day of kid living when I could convince my parents to get me one. No hard, crumbly scones here, I promise. Yes, put aside any traumatic dry scone experiences of your past and give these a shot. It’s a new scone era!
If you give them a try let me know! You can leave me a comment below or tag on Instagram @letsgosho #letsgosho
Biscuits Spreadsheets – My New Passion
I spent the first half of February experimenting and researching various biscuit recipes for another project (coming soonish!) and learned a lot about what makes them work. Acid, leavening, fat, flour – they all play a role developing tender, flaky, fluffy and golden biscuit characteristics. At some point, I had the idea of applying biscuit making principals to plant-based ingredients. As an engineer who loves to test and optimize process, I was excited by the challenge and dove in. Enter my new vegan biscuit spreadsheet. Let the good times roll! No, seriously, this is me living my best life. I devised a starting recipe with the intention of iterating on ratios of the ingredients and type of leavening till I get a recipe I liked. To my surprise, there wasn’t much optimization to do. My first bake-periment was nearly perfect! I added more lemon zest, tested the recipe with oat milk and simplified the steps in the next two rounds and now it’s ready to share with you.
Why It Works, aka. An Ode To Food Science
This recipe is essentially a drop biscuit dough that’s jazzed up with fruit and a zippy glaze which brings it more to the scone side of town. Drop biscuits start with a soft, wet dough that you scoop onto a baking sheet vs. a firmer dough that that’s rolled or pressed flat and cut into shapes. Beginning with a wetter dough means more moisture in the final product. The first step in avoiding dry scones!
Instead of using the traditional biscuit making method where you cut the fat into small pieces and pinch or fold it into the flour, I’ve been using an ingenious trick that comes from Cook’s Illustrated. Here, you melt solid fat and stir it into cold milk with a fork. The cold liquid causes the fat to firm up and form little globules within minutes. You then pour that mixture into the dry ingredients, give it a gentle stir and there you have it – well distributed fat without the fuss. Refined coconut oil proved to be the perfect fat for these scones. Like butter, it’s solid at room temperature and doesn’t add any coconut favor. This technique results in a fluffy and tender interior because the bits of coconut oil melt in the oven creating tiny pockets. Also, you barely work the dough which avoids developing too much gluten.
Buttermilk is used in biscuits for it’s tangy flavor and role in leavening/raising the biscuits. A common substitute for buttermilk is to add lemon juice to milk, so I thought adding lemon juice to almond or oat milk would work just as well. It does! The baking powder reacts a bit with the acidified milk to create bubbles in the dough, but mainly it serves as a needed liquid to react with the baking powder and raise the dough in the oven.
Using cold almond or oat milk and and frozen berries leads to a cold dough that spreads less in the oven resulting in a taller scone. They bake in the top of a very hot oven. The high temperature is needed to quickly activate the baking powder for a good rise. Placing the scones in the top of the oven ensures that the bottoms don’t overcook before the tops are done. You instead get a golden brown, crunchy bottom crust, which is an unexpected and tasty twist as I find most scones are one texture throughout.
I recommend using frozen wild blueberries for this recipe. They are much smaller than conventional blueberries, so you get a better distribution throughout out the dough. I like berries in every bite! They also have less water and a more concentrated in flavor, so they will not get too juicy in the oven and keep better once baked. You can find frozen wild blueberries at Trader Joe’s, Target and most grocery stores.
Of course, you could use whatever frozen berries you have on hand. The first time I made this, I didn’t have enough wild blueberries, so I added some frozen mixed berries. I just cut the larger cherries and blackberries into smaller pieces and it worked well.
This Is My Confession
The truth is, I’ve long been a vegan baked good skeptic. I love butter so much and find the idea “vegan butter” and other margarine off putting (the chemicals & the taste) On top of that, I have a severe tree nut allergy (except for almonds) which automatically rules out many vegan pastries, as nuts are often used for flavor and texture. On the other hand, I have friends who are vegan or unable to eat dairy and I want to make sweet treats that they could also enjoy. T’was a bit of a conundrum, I must say.
Well, I think these scones have changed me. They are so simple and easy and I don’t think they could be improved with butter. What’s not to like?! Long story short, I’m no longer a vegan baked good skeptic. I’m convinced that with a little inventiveness I can make many more plant-based desserts for all the people. Phew. Feels good to get that off my chest. Now let’s bake!
Make Now and Freeze For Later
This a great recipe to make now and save for later. I’ve been eating scones all week for “research” of course.
- To freeze dough: Place the 1/3 cup scoops of dough on parchment and freeze them on a plate or tray until solid before transferring them to a freezer safe bag or container.
- To bake frozen dough: Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and follow the recipe directions, just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
- You can also freeze baked scones for later with or without the glaze. Reheat them later in the microwave or try my favorite combo -30 secs in the microwave and few minutes in the toaster oven .
Dreamy Blueberry Lemon Scones
These easy vegan scones will blow your mind. With crunchy edges, a fluffy, very tender interior and tons of blueberry and lemon flavor, you’ve probably never had a scone like this before.
Look for refined coconut oil, which has no scent or flavor.
This recipe works best when you keep cold ingredients (almond or oat milk and berries) cold until the moment you’re ready to use them.
These scones are best eaten the same day; however, they are also very good briefly reheated the next day or 2.
See the blog post for tips on freezing the dough and baked scones.
- 2 1/3 cups (168g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder (NOT baking soda)
- ½ tsp fine salt
- ⅓ cup (67g) white sugar
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- ½ cup + 2 tsp (113g) refined coconut oil (see notes)
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries (kept frozen)
- 1 cup COLD unsweetened oat or almond milk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp oat or almond milk
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- small microwavable bowl (to melt coconut oil)
- parchment paper
- large baking sheet (18 x 13 inches)
- medium bowl (for mixing scones)
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- glass measuring cup (or one that can hold 2 cups)
- microplane or zester
- small spoon (for drizzling glaze)
- small sieve (optional for sifting powdered sugar)
- citrus juicer (optional)
- Make the scones.
- Position a baking rack in the top ⅓ of the oven (about 4-5 inches from the top if possible). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Zest 1 lemon and add it to the medium bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Add the juice to the glass measuring cup along with 1 cup of oat or almond milk and mix it together with a spoon. Place the milk/lemon mixture back in the refrigerator to chill.
- Scoop out ½ cup plus 2 tsp of room temp coconut oil and add it to the small bowl. Melt the oil in the microwave and then set it aside to cool slightly.
- Add 2 ⅓ cups of flour, 1 Tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt and ⅓ cup sugar to the bowl w/lemon zest and mix everything together with a fork. Set the ⅓ cup measure aside as you’ll use them again. Now it’s time to work kinda quickly with the cold ingredients.
- Add 1 cup of frozen berries to the flour mixture and use the mixing spoon to disperse them throughout the dry ingredients.
- Remove the milk/lemon juice mixture from the refrigerator and pour the melted coconut oil into the milk mixture while stirring with the fork. Keep stirring for about a minute.You’re looking to disperse the oil in little globules throughout the milk mixture which will harden as they cool. Once the clumping occurs, add the entire mixture to the bowl and gently mix everything together with the mixing spoon until you no longer see clumps of flour. This will take less 1 minute.
- Use the ⅓ cup measure to scoop out mounds of dough about 2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t smooth the tops. You want crunchy craggy edges and they will spread as they bake.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6 – 9 minutes or until the tops are well browned in spots (14-17 minutes total). Move the scones to a drying rack (or stacked kitchen towels) to cool.
- Once the scones are nearly cooled, sift (or just add) 1 cup of powdered sugar into the glass measuring cup (just rinse it and use again). Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of almond or oat milk, a pinch of salt and most of the zest to the cup and stir with the small spoon. It should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon before running off. Drizzle the glaze over the scones. I like to place parchment or other paper under the rack for easy clean up. Enjoy!
Glaze the scones.