A woman sconed

Scones left my world when The Hub found out he’s allergic to dairy products. “Dairy” means things made from milk. That does not include eggs, as someone insisted to me once. I believe the individual was thinking about vegans, which The Hub will never be. There’s no dairy in bacon, fried oysters or steak.

Anyway, the non-dairy margarine I use for other purposes was too soft to blend in and has a lot of water content. So, I dropped scones.

Then I read that coconut oil is coming back. It’s solid at room temp, is pure white and has a mild flavor (not like coconut at all). I made sure to purchase the non-hydrogenated version, which I found at my usual mega-grocery beside the olive and canola oils. It scooped and measured easily, and I worked it into the flour with my pastry blender very much like butter. I’m pleased with the results. The scones have a nice cakey texture. They lack that little butter sweetness, but overall they’re great. I overcooked them a bit while distracted by Just Dance on the Wii Fit. Preburning scone calories is good. But that’s why there’s no photograph here.

Here’s my version of the recipe. Naturally, you could use butter and milk, if you’re not cooking for the dairyless.

Blueberry Scones for The Hub

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar (you could go to 3/4 if you like a sweet scone)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon mace

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated coconut oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups blueberries (thawed and drained, if frozen)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mace. Using a pastry blender, cut in the coconut oil until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs; don’t obsess over making is all even and overwork the dough. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, almond milk and vanilla. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture quickly with large strokes. The dough will be sticky. Using your floured hands, mix in the blueberries without crushing them. Pat the dough into a 9 or 10-inch circle on the baking sheet. Score the dough into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Recut if needed. Store in an airtight bag after they’re completely cool, if storage becomes an issue, which it isn’t in my house.




Moo-ving out the dairy

An early holiday snowfall of cookbooks is accumulating on my desk. I’ll start digging through to see which ones are worth packing away and which should just melt away.

Ever since The Hub found out that he’s allergic to dairy, the biggest challenge for me has been baking. So I was excited to see “Living Dairy-Free for Dummies” by Suzanne Havala Hobbs, a Chapel Hill, N.C. registered dietitian and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. She also writes the On The Table column for The News & Observer. I also know that she enjoys good food.

Part of the book discusses reasons to eliminate dairy from the average person’s diet. I can’t comment on that, since I’m not a nutrition expert and my interest is in cooking for someone who must limit dairy because of an allergy. I turned straight to the recipes and substitutions. I found a lot of ideas and things I never thought about, including using almond milk in mashed potatoes and soy creamer as an ingredient. The Tofu Sour Cream is a substitute for those onion dips and other naughty party goodies.

My experience baking with nondairy milks is that they do not all behave equally, although many cookbooks imply that soy, almond and rice milks are interchangeable. Hobbs says to use the replacement you prefer from a taste standpoint, but I would have liked to see a comparison of how the milks behave in cooking. Personally, I prefer almond milk in muffins, pancakes and the like.  The book doesn’t mention coconut milk, which has become popular only recently. I’ve seen coconut milk creamer and the like in supermarkets.

Really, nothing truly takes the place of butter and cream for flavor. But this book can help bring flavor to dishes even without them, for those who must limit their intake of dairy.