August 22, 2013
Recipe: Blueberry Lavender Scones
Remember when I confessed to my near-constant craving for breakfast pastries? Combine that weakness with a deep love of fresh-from-the-market blueberries and you get today's recipe: Blueberry Lavender Scones. I first tasted blueberry and lavender together when I worked at Great Harvest back in Michigan. We carried preserves from Food for Thought, a local company specializing in organic preserves with creative flavor combinations like Apricot Chardonnay, Blackberry Shiraz, Strawberry Basil, and Blueberry Lavender. They were all delicious, but that Blueberry Lavender Preserve was magical. You see, lavender perfumes sweet blueberries with an intoxicating floral-yet-herbaceous essence that somehow makes them taste more... blueberry-y. It's odd, and amazing, and insanely tasty.
I know many people are skeptical about cooking or baking with lavender, often stating a fear of making food "taste like soap". But here's the thing - the only secret to successfully cooking with lavender is using it judiciously. Lavender - especially when dried - is crazy intense. You know how too much rosemary can quickly overpower a dish? Lavender responds similarly when used with a heavy hand. However, used in small amounts, lavender can turn a good recipe into a great one. Such is the case with these Blueberry Lavender Scones.
This recipe relies on a lavender-scented sugar to deliver just enough flavor to intensify the blueberries without stealing their thunder. The result is a rich, fluffy scone gently infused with lavender goodness and bursting with inky pockets of fresh summer blueberries. It's a recipe that feels fancy despite its simplicity (seriously, guys, these are a cinch to pull together), sure to satisfy your baked good cravings with every blueberry-filled bite.
Vegan Blueberry Lavender Scones
makes 6 scones
adapted from my Grapefruit Ginger Scones
1/4 cup natural cane sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup plain soy yogurt
2 tablespoons agave nectar
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
non-dairy milk (just a bit to wash the tops of the scones)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, then get yourself ready to making some fancy-pants lavender-scented sugar. Combine the lavender flowers with the 1/4 cup of sugar in a happy little pile in either a small bowl or a mortar. Smush the heck out of the pair using the back of a spoon or the pestle until the flowers have broken down and the lavender scent intensifies, a signal that the lavender oils have permeated the sugar (that's good). Set aside for the moment.
In a food processor, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half (two tablespoons) of the lavender sugar, pulsing a few times to combine. Using the feed tube of the food processor, slowly pour in the oil while pulsing to create a crumbly, sandy mixture with pea-sized bits of dough beginning to form (Alternatively, you can use a fork to mash the mixture together in a large bowl until crumbly). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, form a well in the middle, and add the yogurt and agave nectar. Use a fork to combine the wet ingredients with the dry, being careful not to over-mix. The dough will be thick and a bit sticky. Don't freak out. At this point, fold in the blueberries - I like to use my hands to gently mix them into dough, but a spatula will work as well.
Prepare a clean surface with a good sprinkling of flour and turn out the dough. With floured hands, quickly form the dough into a circle approximately 8 inches across and 1 inch thick. Cut the dough circle into 6 wedges, then brush the top of the scones with a bit of milk, followed by a generous sprinkling of the remaining lavender sugar. Arrange scones spaced out on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the scones have a rich golden brown crust and feel "springy" to the touch (you want the interior of the scones to be pillowy and tender). Cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.