August is a lovely month to visit the farmer’s market, there is an abundance of local produce on offer, including blueberries! These small blue powerhouses pack in a lot of flavour, are anti-inflammatory and contain high levels of antioxidants. One of the phytonutrients blueberries contains is resveratrol, which is found in high levels in grapes and has received a lot of coverage over the past few years in articles promoting the benefits of wine consumption. It appears that blueberries are beneficial for those of us who decide not to imbibe but still want to reap the benefits. The World’s Healthiest Foods also points out that blueberries are low on the glycemic index and also contain fibre, a very good combination when it comes to regulating blood sugar levels.
I’m a big fan of Dr. Michael Gregor and his NutritionFacts.org website. He has a page featuring a series of short and informative videos detailing the benefits of blueberries, for areas such as diabetes, mood, memory, heart disease and artery function. I find Dr. Gregor’s articles and videos to be very well researched and informative, and I find myself referencing his site frequently.
Trying to bake something that is both vegan and gluten-free feels a bit like a crazy science experiment. Vegan baking is fairly straightforward, as is gluten-free (for the most part, once you find a good flour blend to swap one for one). I referenced the gluten-free flour resources from The Gluten-Free Baking Academy, read through a few different cookbooks and researched the wonderful world wide web and finally had enough information regarding both gluten-free flour and scone recipes to draw from.
I never considered myself much of a baker, in fact prior to adopting a plant-based diet nine years ago I left most of the baking to my husband. In retrospect, this was a good thing, as I didn’t have any habits to break. Our voyage down the road of gluten-free baking started a few years later, and while it was not always smooth sailing (there is the infamous pancake incident of 2013 when batter came very close to sailing across the room) I have come a long way since then and I am now very comfortable when it comes to gluten-free baking.
For this recipe, I decided to try my hand at making my own blend of flours. I like the taste and texture of brown rice and sorghum flour in baking recipes, and I find arrowroot to be a very good binder. I elected to use coconut flour as my last flour ingredient, as I felt the flavour and density would lend itself well to a scone recipe. I was very happy with both the taste and texture of the final result! That being said you can also swap with 2 cups of a gluten-free flour of your choosing.
What about a non gluten-free take on this recipe? I haven’t experimented with wheat-based flour, although I suspect it would work just fine. We do a lot of gluten-free baking, but we do also deviate on occasion. I have done quite a bit of reserach into gluten and there is a lot to be said about the inflammatory properties it contains. On a very basic level I enjoy mixing things up in the flour department, as we are able to experience a variety of different tastes and textures. I have been baking with gluten-free flours for six years, and I find I am very comfortable using them now. This is all to say, please feel free to experiment with whatever regular flours you have on hand, if gluten-free is not something you ascribe to.
I’m also very excited to share a delicious blueberry jam recipe with you. It contains a lot less sugar than conventional jam recipes, and I specifically chose to use coconut sugar, as it registers lower on the glycemic index. I included chia seeds in the recipe, for a bit of omega three goodness. The jam is delicious as a topping for the Blueberry Scones, and as an extra bonus I have included a quick and easy Blueberry Milkshake recipe, that makes use of any leftovers you might have from the first two recipes. It was tested and vetted by my kids, who all enjoyed it (even my kiddo who is not typically a fan of cashews).
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup coconut flour (you can also sub millet flour)
¼ cup arrowroot flour
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil
1 chia egg (see instructions below)
2/3 cup cashew cream (½ for recipe and the remainder to brush over scones before baking)
¼ cup plan vegan yogurt (I like Silk Unsweetened Culured Coconut yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice (3 Tbsp) and zest of 1 lemon (organic)
1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat.
Mix together your chia egg, combining 1 Tbsp ground chia with ¼ cup warm water and letting the mixture sit for 10 minutes to gel.
Combine 2/3 cup soaked cashews with 2/3 cup water and blend until smooth. Measure out ½ cup and set the remaining cashew cream aside.
Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. In a separate bowl whisk together coconut oil, chia egg, cashew cream, yogurt, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and juice.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir together until smooth.
Add blueberries and stir to combine.
Roll batter out between two pieces of parchment and cut into triangles. Brush with remaining cashew cream and bake on the top rack for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Serve with Cashew Cream and Blueberry Chia Jam (recipe below).
Blueberry Chia Jam
2 cups blueberries
¼ cup water
¼ cup coconut sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chia seeds
Mix blueberries, water, and coconut sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until berries are soft and ingredients have blended together. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and chia seeds. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow chia seeds to absorb moisture and plump up. Use immediately or chill in the fridge for later use.
Cashew Cream (leftover from the recipe above, I had about ¼ cup)
¼ cup additional soaked cashews
½ cup blueberry jam
2 cups water
Combine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.