Make your mama proud by baking her (or any moms in your life) a batch of these grain-free, vegan cranberry orange scones with chocolate chips. They’re naturally sweetened with orange juice and honey and perfectly tender without sugar, gluten, or dairy!
Scones are easily one of my favorite baked goods.
They are the perfect cross between a soft, tender muffin and a crunchy, crumbly cookie and pair oh-so-well with a warm cup of tea at brunch or for an afternoon snack.
I think that I also love scones because they always make me feel kind of fancy in a British/European sort of way, even though I’m definitely not British or even a tiny bit fancy. I mean, hi, my go-to uniform is yoga pants and Nikes and I’m proud of it.
I can assure you though that scones are the kind of thing that if you bake them for someone, they will insist that you are quite fancy because despite being a total breeze to make, they always impress.
Meaning, they are literally the perfect thing to make your mom or other mamas you adore for Mother’s Day.
Because who doesn’t want to impress Mom with a batch of fresh baked treats?
They’re even more perfect if you’re still scrambling for gift ideas and/or what to do to show your mom some love this year because they only take 30 minutes to make.
I’d totally make these for my mom if she didn’t live 3,000-plus miles on the other side of the country, especially because I didn’t manage to get a Mother’s Day card in the mail until yesterday. (Sorry, Mom! And since I know you’re reading this post, I promise to make you some when you visit next month and of course call/FaceTime on Sunday. Love!)
THE GREAT DEBATE
There are some pretty strong opinions when it comes to which ingredients belong in scones.
Specifically, there is debate regarding how much fat to include and the English and Americans are on opposite sides of the argument. Go figure.
Apparently, Brits prefer their scones to be on the drier side and as such they don’t include much added fat in the recipe itself. It’s not that the British are fat phobic—far from it.
Instead, they prefer to add butter or clotted cream to their scones at the table, whereas Americans tend to favor scones that are softer and tenderer (i.e. they contain more butter in the actual dough).
Despite being understandably more crumbly without as much butter, the typical British scone has its pluses because having the option to add whatever fat you prefer—a generous drizzle of coconut butter drizzle, slather of nut butter, or smear of grass-fed butter or ghee—is not a bad thing.
Especially if you pledge allegiance to one fat over all others, for example, how I will ALWAYS choose coconut butter given an option.
But just a second. Can you please LOOK at this dough studded with chocolate chips and dried cranberries?! Dying over here.
A SCONE FOR EVERYONE
The beauty of this particular scone recipe—aside from it being gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan, grain free, paleo, and DELICIOUS—is that you could make it the British way or the American way.
No allegiance required!
Stay with me here…
In developing and tweaking this recipe over the past year, I can assure you that it works equally well with and without added fat.
Despite having different textures—one being more tender and delicate, the other being more crumbly and dry—they are both damn good scone recipes if I do say so myself.
Plus, I love giving you guys options galore because I’m an overachiever. HA! OK but really, because I know that not everyone here follows the same style of eating.
Some of you may not any eat animal products, some may eat eggs, others are gluten or dairy intolerant, etc. And it’s all good.
I want the recipes here to be as versatile as possible.
Let’s dive into the specifics of these bad boys, shall we?
ALL ABOUT THE DOUGH
Also, if you’re reading this and feel like this recipe seems familiar, you’re not crazy.
While it’s never appeared on the blog, I did send it to my modest group of email newsletter list subscribers last May before the blog officially launched.
Now, there are thousands and thousands of you reading the blog on the regular (a fact that I still can’t get over and for which I’m incredibly humble) and it’s time I shared this recipe with you, too.
After all I think this version is my best grain-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo scone to date. Seriously.
Because like I said, I also made them VEGAN.
While I’m not vegan and like I said, I do want as many of you to enjoy the recipes that I publish as possible, I maaaaaaaay have had an ulterior motive for making a vegan version of these scones.
When it comes to baked goods, I’m actually not as interested in eating the final product, as I am the raw dough.
Whether it’s brownie batter (heaven!), cookie dough (obviously!), cake or muffin batter (especially blueberry muffin batter!)—you get the idea—I’ve always found the dough to be the most irresistible part of baking.
Anyone else share these sentiments slash struggle?
Of course, I’m not one to let the threat of uncooked egg deter me from sampling raw dough.
But I figured that some of you might be deterred—whether for fear of salmonella or because you follow a vegan diet/lifestyle—and I couldn’t fathom you missing out on the dough OR the scones.
Let’s get one more look at that dough, shall we?
FOR THE HEALTH OF IT
I know what you’re thinking, aren’t scones one of the least healthy items in the bakery case?
Womp. Womp. Yes, that’s true.
But you all know how we do things here on Honestly Nourished. Even if I can’t exactly call this a “healthy” recipe, I can promise you that I used more healthful ingredients instead of the loads of sugar, butter, and gluten found in traditional scones.
That counts for something, people!
Quality over quantity!
It’s just one more reason to make them for Mother’s Day. You’ll have bragging rights about how you’re basically the most conscientious child ever for not only baking a treat from scratch, but one your mom can feel good about eating.
First of all, they are totally refined sugar free.
Instead they’re are sweetened with just a touch of honey and a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice. They also include unsweetened dried cranberries and stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, both of which give the scone plenty of natural sweetness sans sugar.
There’s no dairy or gluten because that’s how I roll and you better believe I’m taste testing what comes out of this kitchen—especially when dough is involved.
For those of you also prefer grain-free or paleo recipes because of food allergies or preference, you’ll be happy to know that these are made with almond flour only.
No grains whatsoever!
But what about the butter, right? Based on my earlier history lesson, if they’re scones, there’s gotta be butter, but there can’t be butter if they’re vegan.
BETTER THAN BUTTER
I mean, OK, technically, a classic scone would use butter to get that flakey and crumbly texture (think pie crusts).
The technique of cutting cold butter into dry ingredients creates pockets of fat in the dough that melt, producing steam during baking. The steam not only helps the scone rise, but also gives it that deliciously tender texture you likely love and expect.
Luckily there’s another equally effective plant-based fat you can use to get a similar texture.
That’s right. Coconut oil—your fun loving, gut friendly, skin soothing friend does it again.
Coconut oil makes these scones super soft and buttery (yet not buttery), tender, and melt-in-your-mouth GOOD.
You can either incorporate it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter (shown in an above photo) by hand or pulse with a food processor. Personally, I hate washing my food processor so I usually do it old school with a pastry cutter. Either way, you want the dough to have the consistency of breadcrumbs.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
I happen to be a huge fan of crunchy and chewy bits in my scones and I hope you’ll agree that using both vegan dark chocolate chips and cranberries is completely necessary.
Of course, if you don’t like cranberry, orange flavor, or chocolate (ha ha, riiiight), substitute with whatever you do like! Fresh berries, lemon zest, chocolate chips only…
Or more appropriate given that it’s Mother’s Day weekend, whatever your mama likes!
You can also lower the fat by leaving out the oil altogether. There are options for both in the instructions.
One more tiiiiiiiiny thing…
Yes, I wholeheartedly believe in counting ingredients rather than calories, but I don’t want to lead you astray or give false pretense that these scones are healthy simply because they are gluten free, grain free, sugar free, paleo, and vegan.
If you omit the coconut oil, the scones will contain HALF the calories and fat of a typical bakery scone (cough, Starbucks, cough) making them much less indulgent…Drier, yes, but don’t forget you can always slather them with your favorite healthy fat after they come out of the oven.
I promise that both versions are LEGIT.
Let’s DO it.
Serves: 8 scones
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 tbs honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, solid (see note below)*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 heaping tbsp freshly grated orange zest (about the zest from one large navel orange)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 flax egg or 1 medium egg**
- ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- ¼ cup vegan, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit (see below for different baking temp and time if NOT using coconut oil).
- Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Have a scone pan? Lightly coat that bad boy with nonstick coconut oil spray, set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients (almond flour, baking powder and sea salt) in one bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (flax egg or egg, honey, vanilla extract, orange juice, orange zest).
- Cut in the fat. You have two options...1) Use a pastry cutter to work tablespoon-sized scoops of chilled coconut oil into dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs; OR 2) Pulse dry ingredients and chilled coconut oil in a food processor. Again, it should resemble the consistency of breadcrumbs. See note below about making sure the oil is the right temperature before mixing with dry ingredients.
- Pop bowl with dry ingredients and coconut oil into the fridge for a few minutes to chill, then add wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Return dough to fridge to chill for another 5 minutes. Lightly dust a piece of parchment paper with almond or coconut flour to help prevent dough from sticking to the surface.
- Remove dough from fridge and gently shape into a one-inch thick circle, about 8 inches in diameter. If you have a scone pan, evenly distribute dough among compartments.
- Using a pizza cutter or dry knife, cut dough into eight slices.
- Pop in the oven for 22-28 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Continue cooling in/on pan for 10–15 minutes. Serve immediately or chilled (I LOVE my baked goods cold and these scones are so good chilled!).
- Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Follow all steps except #5 since you won't be using the oil. I'd still recommend chilling the dough prior to shaping it, as it will be sticky. Also, I think this version works best with a real egg versus a flax egg so it won't be vegan, but sometimes you can't have it all! 🙂
This is KEY to these scones turning out like the gluten-filled, grain-based, buttery scones you’ll find at most bakeries (and have probably grown to love). The coconut oil should be in a solid state without any liquid whatsoever. If yours is even a little bit melted, pop it in the fridge to chill for about 5-10 minutes so that it firms up. If there’s any doubt, err on the side of more solid than soft.
**HOW-TO MAKE A VEGAN "FLAX" EGG
Combine 1 tbs ground flax + 3 tbs warm water. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes until gelled. Use as you would an egg! Boom.
Simply follow the instructions and skip over the parts about cutting in the coconut oil. I will say that this version works best using an egg versus a flax egg, which means it's not vegan but hopefully that's OK. These are best baked at a lower temperature for less time...
350-degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes
Hope you enjoy this simple scone recipe!
Wishing all the mamas (especially my own mom, mother-in-law, and fabulous sister-in-laws) a very Happy Mother’s Day!
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
How will you be celebrating your mom or mama friends this weekend? What’s your favorite thing to bake for others?