My kids have been in a breakfast rut. They cycle through smoothies, toast, and pancakes with occasional variances when I make more elaborate offerings such as donuts. These vegan and gluten-free cranberry and orange scones definitely grabbed their attention and their taste buds. Much more flavorful and healthy than the heavy, dry versions that can be found at coffee shop chains, these scones took minimal effort, so they're ideal for a breakfast treat or a last minute add-on to your brunch menu or for an afternoon snack. The fresh orange zest gives the scones an irresistible and uplifting citrus scent, and the dried cranberries add a chewy tart texture to the dough. I included a simple orange glaze to top the scones in case you or a family member has a bit of a sweet tooth, but they are delicious without it as well. If gluten isn't a concern in your family, swap out the gluten-free flour for regular flour (or perhaps even use a combination of regular flour with whole wheat pastry flour). Serve these scones with a spot of tea and you've got an easy fix for the breakfast blues for kids or parents.
1. Gather the ingredients.
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (Choose whatever version/brand you like for a basic all-purpose flour substitute. Add 2 tsp xanthan gum to the recipe if your particular brand does not include it or a similar ingredient. Xanthan gum helps gluten-free products rise and keeps them from being too crumbly)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top of scones
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Zest from one orange (about 1 1/2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup coconut butter (i.e. coconut oil that has hardened. It doesn’t have to be rock hard, but it should not be liquid. You can also substitute a vegan butter like Earth Balance)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
For glaze (optional):
- 4-5 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1/2 tablespoon non-dairy milk
2. Make the “buttermilk.”
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the milk into a small bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix. Set aside for a few minutes to “curdle” while you mix the dry ingredients.
3. Mix the dry ingredients then cut in the coconut butter.
In a large bowl, mix the gluten-free flour (plus xanthan gum if needed), sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the coconut butter (or vegan butter) into the dry ingredients until it is well-mixed.
4. Make the dough.
Add the “buttermilk,” orange juice, vanilla extract, and the dried cranberries to the dry ingredients, and mix again until a dough comes together and you can roll it into a ball. It should be a little moist as it holds together, but you can add some more gluten-free flour by the tablespoon if it feels too sticky.
5. Roll out and cut the dough.
Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work space and a little more on a rolling pin. Place the ball of dough on the floured space. Press gently on the ball of dough with the rolling pin and roll it out into a circle that is about 1 1/2 to 2 inch in thickness. As you have probably seen in coffee shops, some scones are flatter and wider, others are thicker and more wedge-like. Roll to your desired thickness (I went the flatter route because I thought it would be less messy when my kids pick the scones up and eat them like a piece of pizza.) Cut the circle into six to eight “slices” or triangles.
6. Bake the scones.
Using a metal spatula or egg turner, carefully pick up the scones and place them on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the scones with a little coconut sugar for some crunch on top. If you are making the glaze, you can skip this step. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the scone begins to turn golden. If you choose to make the scones more wedge-like, you may need to increase the baking time for a minute, but keep an eye on the scones to keep from burning.
7. Make the glaze (optional).
In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and orange juice. Start with 4 tablespoons of the sugar and add more as necessary to get the desired consistency. As you can see in the picture above, I made a thinner glaze to drizzle upon the scones. You can make a thicker glaze by adding more powdered sugar and then spreading it on the scones.
8. Serve and enjoy.
Remove the scones from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Add the glaze once the scones have cooled, then serve. Keep any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for two days, although they are definitely best when still slightly warm and fresh. If you want to maintain the scone’s crunchy “crust,” wait to add the glaze until just before serving. Enjoy!