Vegan Oatmeal, Date and Walnut Scones

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I have adapted one of my favorite traditional Irish scone recipes to a completely vegan recipe!  I adore Noel McMeel’s, “Irish Pantry” cookbook, and I’ve been making his “Orange and Oat Scones”, pg. 107,  for years.  Now that my husband and I have transitioned into plant based eating, we missed this cherished Sunday or weekday morning treat!  On a recent trip to Whole Foods I found a Vegan Oatmeal, Date and Walnut Scone in their pastry case, the ingredient list reminded me of McMeel’s recipe, but at $2.25 a scone, they are expensive! Whole Foods Scones are quite rich and sweet, I’ve cut down a lot of that fat and sugar, and still came out with a great scone.  The recipe is quite simple to pull together, especially if you have a stand mixer… a good arm, a large bowl and wooden spoon will also do the trick.  This is a great make ahead recipe because the scones taste great baked straight from the freezer to oven.  Freezing gives the coconut oil time to get cold and create a slightly lighter texture.  If time is a constraint, bake them right away and they will be great.

Makes 8 large scones or 16 small scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 cup water (may need a few extra tablespoons to moisten the dough)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

Method:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flours, turbinado sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.  Add coconut oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract and mix about 15-20 seconds or until you see large pea sized to sand like crumbs and the oil has been properly mixed into the flour.  Lightly mix in oats and orange zest.  Stir in water, dates and walnuts until just moistened.  If the dough is crumbly or dry, add more water, if the dough is too moist add a dusting of flour. Do not over mix or the dough will be tough.   Turn dough out onto a clean surface or parchment paper and gently form into an 8 inch round for 8 large scones, or divide the dough in half into two- 6 inch rounds.  Be careful to press the dough together so it stays in a uniform circle, but not so much so that it is overworked.   Cut the circle(s) of dough into 8 triangular wedges as you would a cut a pie.  Sprinkle the wedges with turbinado sugar and place them on a parchment lined sheet tray until frozen, or bake right away.  Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 12-15 minutes or until bottoms are deeply golden brown.  Follow the same baking instructions for frozen scones just add a few extra minutes but look for the same signs for doneness, slightly browned tops and golden brown bottoms.  Serve warm or store covered for up to 5 days. This makes a great grab and go snack and they are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.  Enjoy!

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Almond Ricotta

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Almond Ricotta is so easy to make and is a great non dairy alternative.  Almond Ricotta can sell for up to $9.00 for a 4 oz package at Whole Foods Market, but you can make it at home for a fraction of the price.  The recipe does require a high speed powerful blender and just a little planning ahead.  To create the creamy, dreamy texture of ricotta, the almonds must be soft, so an overnight soak of raw slivered blanched (skins removed) almonds is ideal. There are quick soak methods, using hot water to soften but I have always done an overnight soak. Once the soaking is done and the almonds are drained and rinsed, the blender does all of the work.  Almond Ricotta may be dotted onto a baked pizza, or used to finish pasta dishes. Once the ricotta is added then place the pizza or pasta back in the oven just to warm the ricotta. Pictured above is a Spaghetti Squash Casserole which was warmed in a sauté pan, placed in a baking dish, topped with the cold Almond Ricotta and heated just to warm in the oven.  I finished the dish with some freshly chopped basil.  Preparing nut cheese requires food safety.  I always keep my almonds in the refrigerator during the soaking process and also refrigerate after the Ricotta is made. The Ricotta is perishable so keep in refrigerated for no more than 3-4 days.

Recipe-Yields approximately 1 cup of Almond Ricotta

Time: 8 hours/overnight soak, plus 5 minutes to blend and

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw blanched slivered almonds
  • Spring Water for soaking and for blending (approximately 1-2 cups)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place blanched slivered almonds in a 1 cup glass measuring cup or other container.  Pour spring water over the almonds until fully submerged with about  1-2 inches of additional water over the top of the almonds. The almonds will slightly expand when soaking.  Cover container with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  2. ***Very Important Step*** Make sure to drain and rinse the almonds well in a colander or strainer ***Do not use soaking liquid
  3. Place the blanched almonds in the blender with a few pinches of salt and pepper and blend on high speed with 1/4 cup of water to start and then drizzle in more water while blending until you get the consistency of ricotta. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

***Blender note: a narrow base blender jar works better than a wide base jar due to the small volume of ricotta made in this recipe. I have used a wide base jar, but just have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the consistency I am looking for.

 

 

“Celebrations” by Danielle Walker

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Danielle Walker’s, Against all Grain, “Celebrations” covers a year of gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo recipes for every occasion.  All the major holidays are covered including: New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Summer Showers, Halloween, Autumn Dinner, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  What I love about this book are the great photos which accompany each recipe, the hints and suggestions (tidbits) for ingredient substitution or make ahead suggestions, and the wide variety of foods that will find any home cook satisfied and able to find multiple recipes that will be of interest.  I will admit, I don’t have arrowroot powder in my pantry just yet, nor do I commit to a paleo, grain free, or dairy free  diet.  Even so, there are many recipes I would make from this book such as Carnitas on Tostones, BLTA Burger with Special Sauce, Blackened Salmon with Stone-Fruit Salsa,  Ginger Ale,  Whipped Coconut Cream. I imagine this book would be a life saver for someone who is on a strict grain free, paleo, or dairy free diet.  I am also looking forward to sharing this book with a friend who is on a plant based diet.  I received this book for an honest review through Blogging for Books.

 More Info: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/532608/danielle-walkers-against-all-grain-celebrations-by-danielle-walker/

Author Bio:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/32283/danielle-walker/