Strawberry Scones

As hard as this may be to believe, there was a point in my life when my sweet tooth was virtually non-existent. Sure, I’d enjoy the occassional tiramisu at an Italian restaurant, or ice cream on a hot summer day. But generally, I didn’t enjoy sweets. I was one of those savory-over-sweet at brunch people; I’d prefer to eat more for dinner and not save room for dessert. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I probably went months at a time without eating anything sweet.

Then a funny thing happened. I was diagnosed with food allergies. Suddenly, every time I saw a chocolate chip cookie, I wanted it. Every ice cream cone taunted me, each piece of cake at a wedding. Let me tell you something: nothing kicks a sweet tooth in gear like thinking you’ll never be able to eat anything sweet again. I was desperate to re-create everything I couldn’t eat, and developed my newfound sweet tooth in the process.

Despite liking things a bit sweeter these days, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the not-too-sweet, biscuit-like scone —  the perfect end to a meal for sweet tooths and non-sweet-tooths alike. I love just about any kind of scone, but drop scones are an easy, almost foolproof, quick baked good. These scones are also quite healthy. They’re made with whole grains, and sweetened with just stevia. I’m loving NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia for baking. When I wanted to start baking more with stevia, I bought a bunch of different varieties and have been trying them all to see what I like (since I haven’t always been the biggest liquid stevia fan). I think this brand is definitely a good bet if you’re looking for nice flavor and less bitterness than you might expect from a liquid stevia. It may seem a bit on the pricey side (and it is, compared to many refined sugars), but remember that since it’s vanilla flavored, you won’t have to worry about paying for pricey vanilla extract. And since a little goes a long way (only 1/2 teaspoon for these scones), it will last you for several recipes.

I decided to make these today to celebrate the start of strawberry season, and to celebrate my last day of law school. Ever. Which means, today was my last day of school. Ever (I’m not counting Bar review classes here, of course…because that would just be no fun).  So here’s to the beginning of a season, and the end of an era.

Strawberry Drop Scones:

Yield: 8-10 scones

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup Spectrum organic shortening

1/2 cup plus 2-3 tablespoons light coconut milk, shaken, plus more for brushing

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 dropper NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia (plus more to taste)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add shortening and crumble into dry ingredients with hand. Add coconut milk, stevia and lemon zest and stir with a spoon until everything comes together. If batter is dry, add additional tablespoons of coconut milk one by one until it comes together. Fold in strawberries.

3. Drop scones by 1/4 cup measurements onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush tops with coconut milk. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

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Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Due to the fact that I’m heading into the home stretch of two grueling weeks of finals (not to mention entering the home stretch of my last year of law school), the fatigue has set in in multiple ways. Namely, I’m feeling like I want to make this post short and sweet, since my poor hands are beginning to bear the brunt of ruthless race-against-the-clock exams. That said, the fact that I was able to make these scones after a craving for something sweet to go with my second pot of coffee of the day (o.k., I’m exaggerating…but only a little bit) is a testament to how simple these scones are to whip up. Because believe me, I would not be baking anything at this point that wasn’t easy. Plus, their sweet aroma is quite comforting as they bake in the oven, which I very much appreciated.

With the impending holidays, stress is understandably abundant for many this season — and not just those studying for exams! With another year of economic woes behind us, and a degree of uncertainty still ahead, it’s easy to become annoyed with having to deal with the everyday stresses that remain a constant in our lives. Sometimes the little things — a meal with family, a homemade gift from a friend — will remind us what’s really important this season, and always.

I hope you bake these scones and share them with someone you love. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did (but I know you will).

Yield: 8-10 scones

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Scones:

1 2/3 cup sorghum flour

1/3 cup potato starch

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup Spectrum organic shortening

1/2 cup light coconut milk (shaken), plus more for brushing

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup fruit sweetened dried cranberries (if you can’t find them, you can substitute raisins)

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, halved

zest of one orange

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add shortening and crumble into dry mixture with hands until small clumps form. Add coconut milk, agave and vanilla extract and stir until everything is incorporated. Add fresh and dried cranberries and orange zest and fold until evenly distributed.

3. Drop heaping 1/4 cup-sized drops onto a greased baking sheet. Brush tops with coconut milk. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

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