I woke up earlier this week with every intention of sharing a recipe for one of my favorite chocolate-covered coconut snacks, but seeing as how I haven’t been around these parts much lately, I felt like that would have been pretty lazy of me. So you get scones. Strawberry rhubarb scones with rye flour and sweet cream, to be exact. Scones that have been tested so many fucking times I wanted to pull my hair out because do you know what happens when you run out of strawberries and you don’t have a car and you can’t find your bus pass? You have to walk that ass to the grocery store, just to get a pint of berries. But to make it worth your while you stock up on chocolate and coconut oil and one of those natural body scrubbers that promises it’ll remove all the dry winter sludge from your skin.
Before you leave you stuff your bag with the scones that didn’t quite make it because chances are you’ll pass a couple of homeless people on your way to the store. And just as you get outside you start thinking out loud about how shitty it is that you’re passing out second-rate pastries to people who live on the streets because Surely they deserve better than a batch of scones that could easily be passed off as triangular muffins. Thankfully, that dude who sleeps next to you each night reminded you that it’s better than the alternative; it’s better than tossing them in the pantry or taking them to the lab or putting them in cold storage where you’ll probably forget about them until the freezer renders them inedible.
He was right, but unfortunately we didn’t pass any homeless people on the way to the grocery store. Which was strange because there’s usually someone sitting on the bench outside our building. That someone used to be one of my friends, a middle-aged man who would get all of our leftovers and hand-me-down blankets and reading lights and anything else we (err, I) thought might be useful to someone who lives on the streets. But he’s not there anymore. I should also make it clear that I don’t befriend all homeless people, just the ones I pass on a regular basis because I feel like it’s my duty as a human to extend any act of kindness I can – whether it’s a big ass grin or a cup of coffee or an hour long conversation on aforementioned bench in the dead of winter – to the people who appear in my life more days than not.
On our way back home we decided to take a detour because I’m going to get rid of these scones, so help me Buddha! But then construction had us take an actual detour and, just as we connected with our original path, I passed a guy who looked like he might be in the mood for a couple of scones. How does someone look in the mood for scones? They don’t. I just assume that every person is always in the mood for whatever baked good I’ve got tucked into my bag. I hesitated for a brief moment because this part always gets a little weird. So to combat the self-generated weirdness I turned around, just as he was getting ready to light a cigarette, and said in my most enthusiastic voice, “Hey! You want some scones? I just finished baking them an hour ago.” And of course he said yes because what kind of person passes on homemade baked goods?
I walked home with a happy heart. One that had been reminded of how good it feels to extend even the simplest of gestures to a complete stranger. One that had been inspired, earlier in the week, by a man who had pushed a wheelchair-confined woman four blocks to her connecting bus stop, shook her hand, and then walked away like it was no big deal.
The world needs more people like him.
Also, I’ve got more than a few delicious recipes over on eHow – from my favorite breakfast smoothie and easiest goji berry cacao nib oat bars to one bowl vanilla cupcakes and peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel cups, surely a couple of those will tide you over until I start posting regularly again.
Notes: If you don’t have rye flour, you can substitute with whole wheat, spelt, or additional unbleached flour. However, you’ll want to increase the liquid to about 3/4 cup. If you’d prefer these to be gluten free, simply substitute your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the flours – but you’ll probably have to increase the liquid to a full cup. If you only have frozen berries on hand, those work just as well and add a bit more moisture to the final result. For the sweet cream, soy creamer works best but I also had success with regular soy milk and almond milk. While we were in Prague, one of the owners of a vegan bakery informed me that they would simply blend oil, non-dairy milk, and agar powder to produce vegan whipped cream. My mind was blown. Sadly mine didn’t get nearly as light as theirs, but it’s still delicious. If you have agar powder on hand, try using that instead. I’d say 1/2-3/4 a teaspoon would suffice.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SCONES WITH SWEET CREAM
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole rye flour
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
3/4 cup finely diced strawberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced rhubarb, finely chopped
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla cane sugar
2/3 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp powdered cane sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour in the coconut oil (it should be liquid) and use a pastry cutter or two knives to work the oil into the flour. Transfer bowl to the freezer and chill for 15 minutes. Once chilled, add the strawberries and rhubarb and toss to combine. Create a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk and vanilla extract. Scoop the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and fold over the wet ingredients. Repeat this just until the mixture is combined. Do not over mix the dough. Firmly pat the crumbly dough into a large circle on the prepared surface, making it about 2″ thick. Brush the dough with milk and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Cut the dough into eight triangular segments and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375˚F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden on the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool then store in a loosely covered container for up to three days. Cut, unbaked scones can be kept frozen in the freezer for up to six weeks. Simply place the scone segments in a freezer safe container, until ready to use, then bake according to the instructions.
To make the sweet cream, add all of the ingredients to a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix. Blend on high speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the cream has thickened. It will be pretty warm so you’ll want to transfer it to a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Will keep in an air tight container for up to one week. Serve over scones and top with fresh strawberries, if desired.
Yield: 8 scones