Friday, October 17, 2008
Each time I bake scones, I wish myself back to my childhood in India when I'd feed voraciously on book after Enid Blyton book.
I don't know how many of you are old enough to have read those, but my friends and I pretty much lived vicariously through the adventures of the Famous Five, the Five Find-Outers, the Secret Seven and many more I can no longer remember.
The free-ranging world these kids lived in, where a mystery lurked around every corner, was alien but fascinating. So was the food. As anyone who's ever read an Enid Blyton book will vouch for, the sandwiches, muffins, cakes, cookies and scones those little adventurers ate filled tiny hearts everywhere with a deep longing.
There was also, of course, stuff like steak and kidney pie, and Desi learned the valuable lesson that not everything tastes as good as it sounds when he tried that one in London. But that's another story for another day.
Anyway, back in the India of my day, you could find cookies and cakes and muffins, albeit in limited varieties. Scones, on the other hand, were not something I'd ever come by. They did sound utterly gorgeous, though, especially when they were hot and buttered, as they usually were in those books.
So when I started baking, is it any surprise that scones were one of the first baked goods I wanted to try? And, to my delight, they turned out to be quite, quite easy. And, unlike that steak and kidney pie, as delicious as I'd dreamed they'd be. I could have my scone and eat it too.
After going vegan, I had to come up with an eggless, dairyless recipe, and after some experimentation I landed with one that is fairly foolproof. My black currant scone is made with whole-wheat flour and it tastes pretty mean. But this week I wanted to make a banana nut scone, in keeping with my obsession with banana-nut goodies of all kinds.
Because this was something we could use for pre-breakfast, I added some oats to the scones and cut down drastically on the amount of fat. Also, the fact that they're made with whole-wheat pastry flour and just a small amount of sugar make them pretty guilt-free.
In the end, it was an experiment with a pretty happy result. I loved the intense banana flavor and the crispy exterior. The texture was a little cakier because of the bananas, but I thought it worked quite well.
I didn't use any cinnamon but it occured to me after I'd already put these in the oven that I could have. Well, maybe the next time.
So here are my banana nut scones, quite delicious and definitely the stuff of some healthy fantasies. Enjoy, everyone!
Banana Oat Scones
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats. Process 1 cup into a powder in the food processor.
2 tbsp transfat-free shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup almond milk (can use soy milk)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp flax meal (ground flaxseeds)
3/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted, then chopped
Add the shortening to the flour in a bowl and, with a fork, cut the shortening into the flour until you have a fairly granular texture.
Add the oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix the bananas, almond milk, vinegar, flax meal and sugar.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Add the walnuts and stir in. You will have a fairly thick but still loose batter.
Drop the batter on a greased cookie sheet in rounds-- this batter will make around 12 scones.
Bake in a 375-degree preheated oven about 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Eat warm with some vegan spread or a pat of jelly or just on their own.