I happen to be a big fan of coconut and started to think about what would happen if I used coconut milk instead of buttermilk or yogurt in scone dough, and then folded in a heap of toasted coconut and some dark chocolate bits. Would that, in fact, be a scone worth writing about? I'm here to report back that yes, they are in fact worth talking about.
My mom just came and stayed with us for a few days, and we all had a serious discussion about scones one morning. My mom doesn't care for them, insisting they're far too dry and just not all that interesting. Try to convince someone who thinks a scone is dry that a whole grain scone will be even better? Tough to do.
But that's why I chose to add some spelt flour alongside the usual wheat flour for these particular scones. I find spelt flour to be really easy to work with and an easy introduction to whole grain flours for people who might be otherwise unconvinced. It bakes much like all-purpose flour (although it tends to soak up a bit more moisture), and combining it with some standard whole wheat flour creates a whole grain scone with a pleasant, earthy flavor. The butter and full-fat coconut milk also help keep these scones perfectly tender.
As for making these scones in advance, you have a few options: First off, you can bake them, let them cool completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap and then freeze them. I like to wrap them individually so that later, when weekday breakfasts get harried, I can pull one out and quickly heat it in our convection oven. It feels like a pretty big treat. Alternatively, you can make the dough and shape the scones, and then freeze them unbaked. When you want fresh scones, just pull them out and bake as usual, adding on an extra minute or two to the baking time.
They do make the house smell pretty wonderful, so I usually opt for the bake-them-all-off route and then freeze a few for later. I like having them around to give to friends or to share with my husband in the afternoon. They are not at all too sweet, so they don't feel like as much of an indulgence as, say, a cookie. But that's not to say I don't love them slathered with butter. I hope you will, too.
WHOLE WHEAT CHOCOLATE COCONUT SCONES
MAKES 6 large scones or 8 regular-sized scones
- 3/4 cup (65 grams) shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup (150 grams) spelt flour (or all-purpose flour), plus more to shape
- 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) coconut sugar (or turbinado sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, plus extra to brush tops
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) bittersweet chocolate pieces
- Coarse sugar, for scone tops (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat; spread coconut flakes out evenly. Toast in the oven until just golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender, or your fingertips, work in the cubes of butter until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.
In a small mixing bowl combine the egg, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and, using a fork, stir just until moistened. Fold in the toasted coconut and chocolate bits.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and pat/push it down so it is circular in shape and about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into six or eight wedges depending on how large you'd like your scones. Transfer the wedges to the same baking sheet you used to toast the coconut, spaced slightly apart. If desired, brush tops of scones with coconut milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Separate scones. Cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container or bag, and store at room temperature for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Recipe notes: You can also freeze the unbaked scones, wrapped and sealed, for up to three months. Bake straight from the freezer, adding on a minute or two to the total baking time.