In Morocco, March was my favorite month of the year: breezy, sunny, still cool, with the countryside slowly flooding with green. In San Francisco, March was likewise brisk and some years particularly rainy; the farmers’ markets started to get more interesting and the windy first days of spring flung blossoms down to carpet park slopes and sidewalks. In Saudi Arabia, March is probably the last month we can still call “bearable”; today the high will be 100 F and it’s pretty dusty out there. Despite living in the desert there is a surprising amount of foliage, flowers, and trees in the area in which we live but it’s all often covered in a thin layer of dust. This time of year is when we miss opening the doors to let in fresh air (too dusty and hot) and already start counting down the months til November.
I feel a slight twinge of guilt when I turn on the oven during these high temperature days yet when I counter the outside temperature by dialing up the air conditioner I figure it will balance out. My carbon footprint has vastly increased in the past three years — no recycling unless I’m in the States, too much driving and no public transportation, air conditioning running on the regular — but I hope all that composting and taking MUNI and Golden Gate Transit somewhat compensates.
For there are little bites to bake and dinner to cook. Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to put together an easy and nutritious meal, especially when they’re paired with quinoa, sunflower seeds, and perhaps a piece of baked salmon for the fish-eaters in the house. And my penchant for using spelt flour continues apace, shown to good advantage in these little refined sugar-free treats I made last week.
Scone? Breakfast cookie? Afternoon tea treat? All of the above? Does it matter?
Vegan, very lightly sweetened with maple syrup, and kept from being too healthy by the addition of chopped chocolate, these little scones are surprisingly buttery (even though there’s no butter, just coconut oil), flaky, and tender. Spelt flour makes for a lovely texture here as well. You could use the recipe as a base and experiment with adding different berries or fruit as well as nuts. (Next up for me.)
My ‘summer’ (err, spring, but it does feel like summer already) drink when I’m out is, this year, an iced latte, but we still have our morning cups of hot tea and coffee too when we’re in the mood. I loved nibbling a scone as a late morning snack once I finally got to sit down with a cup of something warm. In spring, it seems just the thing.
Even if spring looks a little bit different over here.
I doubled the batch and took it to play group, keeping the scones small enough for little hands. I ended up with about 15 scones but if you make yours larger you’ll have less. Use your favorite gluten-free whole grain flour here; I’m particularly partial to oat flour.
Makes 6 smallish scones.
1/4 cup plain almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup spelt flour or g-f oat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup quality dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small cup and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients plus the chopped chocolate and add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk mixture. Stir until the dough begins to come together.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes then remove the bowl from the freezer and, using a tablespoon, scoop out spoonfuls of dough. Mold into a flat ball and place each on the baking sheet.
Place in the oven and bake for 22 to 24 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving. Best enjoyed fresh, but can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for two days.