Have you heard about this? According to an article I read this morning in The Atlantic, linguists are recognizing the word “because” as a preposition, or what they are calling the “because-noun.” I generally try to steer clear of Internet-inspired turns of phrase, because, annoying and overdone. I like the hint of irony behind this one, but now that I’ve used it here, I think I am done. Because, enough already.
As you may already know, I am currently blessed with a large sum of assorted winter squash and pumpkins. Last weekend I roasted a beautiful icy blue variety called ‘Jarradale’ and proceeded to work my way through the bounty of richly-flavoured, colourful flesh. I concocted all manner of treats including: pumpkin pudding (basically pie filling sans crust) and several batches of scones.
The idea for these scones is wholly attributed to my friend Abbey. A few weeks back I delivered the first pumpkin to her door while she was in the middle of a ‘Butternut’ glut. She had just finished baking a batch of scones and offered some to me with a dollop of Artisana Coconut Butter (btw I am not receiving any kickbacks for mentioning this product). My god, it was delicious. I had planned to make pumpkin muffins, but her scones sent me off in a different direction and so I spent last weekend making substitutions and revisions based on the loose recipe she shared with me.
RECIPE: Vegan Pumpkin Mini Scones
A few notes about these scones. I made the first batch without pepitas (pumpkin seeds), but the pepitas add a nice crunchy texture that complements the density of the scones. I wanted to keep these as healthy as possible and low-sugar so I have used a small quantity of maple syrup to sweeten. Abbey used 1 tablespoon less in hers and they were good, too.
I roasted the pumpkin (quartered) in the oven with a little water at 400 degrees F. The length of time required will depend on the variety. I suggest lowering the heat slightly for a smaller squash. Roast until the skin is darkened and the flesh is soft and shows signs of caramelization.
To toast the pepitas: Place seeds (without shells. You can buy them this way) on a baking tray and bake until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. You can also do this on the stove in a dry pan.
Further Substitutions: As mentioned above, I used ‘Jarrahdale,’ a very rich, sweet, and dense squash that is slightly dry. My friend Abbey used ‘Butternut,’ which is moister and has a mild flavour by comparison. If you use a pumpkin with mild flavour you may want to add a little more spice to bump up the taste. When using a moist squash, chances are good that you might not require as much liquid to make a good dough. You may not require any at all so wait until all of the flour is mixed in before adding more liquid.
- 1 cup (about 250 grams) mashed or pureed winter squash or pumpkin
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened on a low heat
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 2 cups whole spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas, roughly chopped
- Cold water to form dough (about 2-3 tablespoons)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl or mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the squash or pumpkin puree, softened coconut oil, maple syrup, and spices. While I typically add spices in the dry stage, I have added them here, providing the opportunity to taste for flavour should you be substituting with a different squash variety. This is your chance to add more spices or sweetener if required. Scrape down the bowl halfway though so that everything mixes well.
In a separate bowl combine the additional dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and pepitas. I typically use a whisk to do this, adding in the pepitas once everything else is well combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the puree mix, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once. If using a mixer, I suggest switching to the dough hook as this can be a little dense. Once the dry ingredients are in, slowly add a few tablespoons of cold water to form a soft dough. Try not to over-knead as this will only toughen the dough.
Using a large spoon and fork, scoop out clumps of dough, forming them into loose lumps. I get about 17 mini scones from this mix.
Place onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with a dollop of coconut butter.