Vegan Lemon Blueberry Scones + Why I Bake

Turbinado sugar coated vegan blueberry scones

As I snuggle up on my couch with a warm cup of tea, I once again breathe in the smell of freshly baked blueberry scones. Blueberry scones are not something to be whipped up at 9pm, especially on a Monday when most are reminiscing about the now seemingly long ago weekend.

Scones evokes coffee-scented mornings and afternoon tea in the sun, embodies ephemeral moments in the day. Blueberry scones especially have the unique ability to briefly put life on hold, allowing space to appreciate the simple things in life: the lovely bursts of tangy blueberries, brightened further by lemon zest and the perfect crunch of turbinado sugar.

To make things lighter and lactose-free, coconut oil and milk replace butter and heavy cream, creating an unintentionally vegan recipe for delightful blueberry scones. The coconut flavor does not overpower and in fact is barely perceptible; instead, it heightens the blueberry flavor.

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Vegan Chocolate Agave Oat Cookies

Vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies 

After honing her skills in Chez Panisse, Claire Ptak opened up a modest bakery in East London that fully delivers on flavor and comfort. I’ve been dreaming of visiting the bakery ever since, sitting outside the bakery, watching the world go by-as one does in Europe. Once I saw these vegan cookies, a stroke of inspiration hit as I immediately dived into a recipe from Claire Ptak’s The Violet Bakery Cookbook.

A lot of her best hits have graced the blogosphere in the past few years, from her incredible Butterscotch Caramel Blondies to her classic Buttermilk Banana Bread. Naturally, I gravitated towards these reliable favorites like everyone else. But, believing in Claire’s foolproof recipes, I ventured past the shiny classics and discovered a hidden gem, a dark horse, if you will: Chocolate Oat Agave Cookies.

chocolate chip oat and agave vegan cookies 

It’s easy to brush past a vegan, sugar-free, and potentially gluten-free cookie. My first reaction: Is that even a cookie anymore? I’ll take the blondies, thank you very much. My second reaction: how good can they be, really? I had to satisfy this insatiable drive to experiment on all things foreign and obscure.

perfect vegan chocolate chip oat cookies 

half eaten fresh chocolate oat cookies

These cookies are light on sugar, heavy on time in terms of buying such unfamiliar ingredients. With these cookies, I realize that I’ve barely scratch the surface of the complex world of alternative baking techniques. The laundry list of foreign flours and binders can be daunting, but if you have an afternoon to head over to Whole Foods and buy these flours, I could think of a worse place to start.

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My Two South’s Kerela Fried Chicken and Waffles with Spicy Maple Syrup

Fried Chicken and Cardamom Waffles for National Waffle Day

Another matcha recipe? No, I’m not a monster. Well, maybe I am. Somehow, Sundays have become a Day of Indulgence. Not only did I devour  fried chicken and waffles, but also (healthyish) chocolate chip cookies and a giant poke bowl-all in the span of five measly hours. 

As is it National Waffle Day on March 25th(in Sweden because of course America has to have it’s own Waffle Day), I thought it imperative to share the awesomeness of these cardamom waffles with spicy syrup. A little fried chicken on the side doesn’t hurt either. Once I have a recipe in mind, some unstoppable force of determination takes over, compelling me to Target after work, where I made a beeline straight to the waffle irons. 

Stacked waffles with fried chicken

I had this fried chicken recipe in my back pocket for months. The recipe: buttermilk friend chicken and waffles. The twist: mint, cilantro, and serrano pepper buttermilk marinade with cardamom waffles AND spicy syrup? Who can resist!  As I have been fervently following Food52’s 2017 Piglet challenge, the recipe inspirations pile up, with this recipe first in the queue. With the recipe available on multiple sites, I thought it best to skip the recipe post and focus my energies on describing the intricate play of flavors that this fried chicken and waffles recipe opens you up to.


Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Matcha Frosting

Zucchini Matcha Cake, frosted and ready to be served with some tea

I know, I know, I’m very much channeling my inner Asian girl. But I’d like to argue to that I go above and beyond the typical obsession, that I freakin’ went to Uji, Japan: the capital of Matcha. Indeed, I am a hardcore fan. I have a dedicated matcha cup, a fancy whisk,  a whisk holder for said fancy whisk. Plus, I store my ceremonial grade matcha in the freezer. What do you say to that, haters! What’s that? I’ve said this before and only my social anxiety gives a damn about my oh-so-sterotypical penchant for matcha baked goods? Oh okay.

You’d think I wouldn’t fall for every matcha recipe I see on the internet, but only if you don’t know me and my undying devotion to all things Matcha.

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Japanese Matcha Melon Pan

Matcha melon pans cooling on a tray. Can't wait!

Welp. I did it. I channeled my inner Asian girl and honed in on any recipe that would greatly benefit with the addition of Matcha. et voilà! Matcha Melon Pan heaven. Out of the oven, these buns are the best afternoon snack.

Last weekend, while walking through Berkeley’s college town, we stumbled into an Asian bakery. Obviously, when there’s any bakery of any sorts, a slight detour is to be made. Even if I had just gorged myself on delicious, satisfying, tongue-numbing Indian food at Vik’s Chaat, I couldn’t help but imagine taking a bite out of those those crunchy, yet fluffy buns.

Freshly baked Japanese melon pan half eaten 

First: What are Melon Pans?

Melon Pans = fluffy sweet bun + crispy cookie topping. The bun is an enriched dough, made with yeast. The origin of “Melon Pan” can be broken down into two parts. “Pan” in Japanese means bread, adapted from the Portuguese. As for “Melon” part, I’ve always assumed it was named because the top looked like a melon. Just One Cookbook is my go-to blog for all things Japanese. Nami clearly does her research and laid out some really interesting theories for the etymology of “Melon” , some rooted in Japan’s rich cultural history.

These babies were to be my weekend project. The only problem: I HAD NO MILK.

Alas, after sifting through the internet looking for a dairy-free melon pan recipe, none was to be found. (Granted, what Asian pastry dough doesn’t have milk?)

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