Vegan chai pear scones

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My friend, Marina, and I both know that any recipe can be made vegan. These pear chai scones are proof of that. After tasting her scones which tasted somewhere between happiness, a hug and warm spices  (and my beau went gaga for them), Marina shared the original milk-and-egg-and-butter version of this recipe with me saying “of course make it vegan.” Of course. It’s easy peasy to do by substituting applesauce or a flax egg for a chicken’s egg, any plant-based milk for the heavy cream and vegan margarine for the butter required in the original recipe.

Here’s my version with some added touches – a batch with raisins and a batch with diced candied ginger.

Ingredients

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegan margarine

2 pears, cored, peeled and cut into small pieces (and what a great way to use up pears that look battered and bruised)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or a third pear)
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plant milk. I used almond milk.

Optional – ½ cup raisins or 1/3 cup diced candied ginger

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir together until the mix resembles a goopy brown snot (it does, sorry). Add the milk and vanilla and combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, sugar and salt together. Sift in the baking powder and spices. Yes, sift. We talk about this sifting thing every time. You do not want nasty, crystalline, salty bits of baking powder showing up in your finished baking!

Cut in the margarine using a pastry blender OR use two dinner knives or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the pear chunks (but not the applesauce).

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Your flour-sugar-spice mix should look like this once you’ve cut in the margarine.

Add the flax egg mixture and the applesauce to your flour mixture. Mix lightly to combine. IF you are adding raisins or candied ginger, add that now and fold in. The dough will be very sticky.

Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Form it into a circle then flatten it using your hands until it’s just a bit less than 1” thick.  You can sprinkle the top of the dough very lightly with flour too so you can work with it. Cut the circle into 8 equal wedges using a sharp knife.

Use a spatula to transfer the scones to an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the scones with a bit of sugar (I used “vanilla sugar” I had made by storing a whole vanilla bean in sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Eat up and enjoy!

 

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Beet, carrot and clementine slaw. So pink. So good.

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 Does anyone else notice their tastes change through the seasons? We’re in the heart of a Canadian winter now and I just cannot get enough of root vegetables and cabbages, kale and broccoli. Perhaps they just happen to be the most appetizing produce available this time of year or maybe our dietary needs really do change with the rhythm of the year.

This salad is earthy and delicious but also sunshine-y with a bit of spice. It’s perfect for brightening up the still-too-short winter days.

 I used a food processor but you could make this dish using a grater and a good knife.

 Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

2 large beets cleaned and peeled.

2 medium or 3 carrots cleaned

2 Tbsp raisins (any type) OR 2 dates with the stones removed

1 shallot peeled

2 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/4 of a lemon)

½ Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 Tbsp curry powder

½ tsp garam marsala

¼ tsp ground ginger

2-3 clementine or mandarin oranges

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Directions

 Whiz the raisins, shallot, and clementines (or mandarin oranges) in a food processor. You’ll end up with a pulp. Remove this pulp and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry, garam masala, ground ginger and maple syrup and blend to make the slaw dressing.  

In the same food processor – no need to clean it – switch the blade to finely grate the carrots and beets. 

Add the grated veggies to the salad dressing and toss to combine. You’ll have a furiously fuchsia salad! 

Serve up and enjoy. This dish will last for 3 days in the fridge.

 

Raw, vegan, carrot cake cupcakes with cashew frosting

September marches on and it’s still hotter than sin. It’s enough that we’re cooking outside; I’m not going to cook inside too. But a gal’s gotta eat. These cupcakes are all raw so require no heat. My carrots this year are especially sweet and juicy; perfect for these delicious treats.

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For the frosting

1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (8 hours) and drained

1 Tbsp maple syrup

½ Tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag for piping onto the cupcakes. I don’t have a piping bag, so I used a plastic ziplock bag with the corner snipped off to do my piping. You don’t get a fancy result, but you get results. J

For the cupcakes

2 cups shredded carrots

½ cup walnut pieces

½ cup dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for about 15-30 minutes

½ cup raisins (if you don’t like raisins, try diced dried apricot)

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

Pinch salt

Put the dates, walnuts and maple syrup in a food processor and blend. It’ll look ugly but persevere.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and then scoop into cupcake liners. Top with the frosting and keep in the freezer. Let thaw about 10 minutes before eating.

I think the cupcakes are delicious on their own without the frosting and could see making these into carrot cake balls rolled in ground walnuts.