Farmhouse Scones and Strawberry Shortcake (Vegan)
Every farmhouse kitchen needs a basic scone recipe, and this one is as good as they come. I’ve made others over the years that are perhaps more impressive due to their various embellishments (debatable), but this one is perfect for showcasing homemade jams and spreads, and is my go-to for strawberry shortcakes. You’ll want to have this recipe in your back pocket whether you’re vegan or not.
I’m not a fan of those store-bought spongy cakes that often serve as a base for strawberry shortcake, I like something that contributes something in the way of flavour and texture to the dish, rather than a flavourless lump that’s akin to a kitchen sponge. Strawberry season is fleeting, so it’s our responsibility to create fond, berry-filled memories to get us through to the next one.
For years, I was unable to successfully grow enough strawberries to provide us enough for jam, shortcake, fresh eating, and freezing. The plants were somewhat productive, but the birds and slugs would often get them before we did. About 5 years ago I planted two varieties: Honeoye and Seascape. The Honeoye are tasty enough, but don’t produce very much for me. The Seascape, on the other hand, are so productive and vigorous that it’s an ongoing battle to keep them contained to their designated corner of the garden.
Each plant produces multiple clusters of big, tasty berries, many of which are two or more inches across at the shoulder. My mom was convinced that she would never get strawberries to the point of ripeness because of pill bugs and slugs, but that changed when she planted runners from my plants. If you’re having similar troubles, I would definitely suggest trying this variety before you throw in the trowel.
So back to the scones. These ones are just a bit more cakey and dessert-like than your typical biscuity scone, and are well suited to soaking up any excess berry juices. When using them as shortcakes, I make them with homemade full-fat coconut milk yogurt to add richness, but if you don’t have access to that, or something similar, you can just clabber full-fat coconut milk with a bit of cider vinegar for a similar effect. If you’re making them for breakfast or tea, rather than dessert, feel free to use a lighter, store-bought yogurt, or even just clabbered non-dairy milk (though you may need a tablespoon or two less, as it’s a lot thinner than coconut milk). The original recipe is delightful though, so please give it a go before dialing it down. 🙂
I am a recent convert to aquafaba as an egg replacer in baked goods (aquafaba is the water from canned or cooked beans) . It creates just the right texture, and makes for perfectly golden brown tops. It might sound like an exotic vegan ingredient, but it couldn’t be more basic. Its abilities, however, are anything but; this starchy liquid is a boon to vegan chefs. I’ve even made meringues with it, and they were as good, if not better, than those made with egg whites. Though I usually cook my beans from dry, I ensure that I’ve always got a few cans of chickpeas or butter beans in the pantry, and make a point of reserving the strained liquid in the fridge (or freezer) for future baking. It’s a waste product with magical properties, and that’s not an exaggeration!
My whipped “cream” of choice for making strawberry shortcakes is a recipe from Miyoko Schinner’s Homemade Vegan Pantry (this book is a must-have for plant-based cooks!), but feel free to use whatever non-dairy whip you prefer. This one is a combination of coconut oil, non-dairy milk, and cashews, and is a dead ringer for real whipped cream.
So. Freaking. Delicious.
You know how to make shortcakes, right? Slice up the strawberries, add a spoonful or two of sugar, and let them macerate for a few minutes to get the juices running. Split a scone, layer the fruit and cream, and devour like nobody’s watching.
These scones are best the day you make them, but if you end up with leftovers and feel like having shortcakes for breakfast (um, who doesn’t?), they refresh beautifully in the oven (300 degrees for 10-12 minutes). If serving as a straight-up scone, a half a cup of raisins or chocolate chips are nice additions, but they’re equally delicious plain.
Farmhouse Scones (Vegan)
These tender and flaky scones are wonderful with jam, but also make perfect strawberry shortcakes!
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup non-dairy butter (I like Earth Balance buttery baking sticks)
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk yogurt OR full-fat coconut milk clabbered with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp aquafaba (plus more for brushing tops)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp granulated or turbinado sugar (for tops)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
If using homemade coconut yogurt or similar, measure into a small bowl. If using coconut milk and vinegar, stir canned coconut milk until liquids and solids are evenly dispersed. Measure 1/2 a cup into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
Stir aquafaba and vanilla into yogurt/coconut milk.
Cut butter into dry ingredients until lumps are pea-sized or smaller.
Using a fork or the handle of a wooden spoon (easier to clean!), stir wet ingredients into dry until moisture is fairly evenly distributed (it will not come together at this point).
Dump mixture onto un-floured countertop, and carefully knead together. You don't want to knead it more than 12 times, or the scones will be tough. If you have a lot of loose crumbs that are resisting coming together, knead them separately, then add back to the large ball of dough.
Pat into a circle about 1 1/4 inch thick, and cut into 6 even wedges. (they will seem small and high, but will spead out with baking).
Place wedges onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops of scones lightly with a little more aquafaba, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes until golden all over (gently press tops and sides to make sure there are no doughy spots).
Refresh day-old scones in a 300 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes.