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dark chocolate espresso scones, coconut cream + jam

Before I tell you about these cozy vegan scones (based on my favourite spelt scone recipe), all flecked with ground espresso and shards of dark chocolate, I want to talk about small changes. Oh, and big, unexpected outcomes. Simple and serious pleasures that result from small and mindful movements.

Up until a month ago, this was a typical morning for me: dog busts through the door, jumps on the bed, starts relentlessly licking my face and whimpering excitedly. It’s cute, but I scrunch my face up and tell her to seriously quit it. Feeling super groggy and on the edge of barely-rested, I reluctantly get out of my warm bed. The floor is harshly cold. The super regimented movements of coffee production come next. A firm “nah” to a tall glass of water to hydrate my probably parched body–clambering for a giant cup of caffeine is at the top of my list. IT IS the list. And I live and die by the list. Once a piping hot sixteen ounces of dark roast are at my fingertips, I’ll watch the news or putter about on the computer, doing absolutely nothing in particular for way too long. Non-productivity reigns, still groggy/miserable, bound by caffeine’s chains, no breakfast to speak of quite yet… Ready to face the day? Ah, I guess I could rig something up…

I took coffee out of the equation and my world basically turned upside down.

Pup still comes crashing in all excited (and I couldn’t be happier about that), but now I feel seriously rested, like to the core. I remember to put on wooly socks. I have a bit of an early-morning-super-glow-y stride into the kitchen and get the tea kettle working. The first cup is always herbal, something with lavender or chamomile to keep the blissed-out-calm-upon-waking thing going. I get to look at the winter scenes out the kitchen window while I wait for the bubbles. Then I read a book (this one currently) and, for lack of a better descriptive phrase, I chill the most. Next, I move to some earl or lady grey, all filled out with some warm, vanilla scented almond or cashew milk, I start to get ready for the day ahead, actually eat a balanced breakfast, think about the many other delicious cups of tea I’ll probably consume… you get the idea. Different beverage = better life.

I still try to have one really good coffee on a day off–it’s one of my favourite things to do with my man, actually. And I’m not saying that cutting down coffee consumption is for everyone or that it will just solve your life’s problems. It very simply worked for me within the context that I needed it to. I knew that my morning routine wasn’t contributing anything actually good to my existence overall. Initially, I just hated feeling weakened by one, small habit; that I needed coffee to be somewhat agreeable towards other beings in the am. It was an issue of control, no doubt. I changed that one small thing and life kind of spilled and tumbled forward to a more abundant daily disposition. Stillness is more easily arrived at and I’m not a completely terrible person in the early hours anymore. Many wins.

Since tea is more my pace these days, I thought I’d make you something wholesome, but indulgent, to go with a calming brew. I’ve made this spelt scone recipe many times, always changing up the add-ins and aromatics based on the season and my own cravings. I used to love one in particular from a local bakery with ground espresso and big, dark chocolate pieces. I decided that a homemade version was needed, a coffee flecked indulgence that plays nice with tea. I had a dark bar of chocolate infused with espresso in my pantry that had to be used in this one glorious purpose. I thinned out my basic coconut cream recipe for a nice, fatty and sweet dollop of goodness to compliment the hearty structure and strong flavour of the scone. A dab of sour-sweet raspberry jam finishes this out nicely. Luxe breakfast or sweet snack, this part is up to you.

vegan dark chocolate + espresso spelt scones
Lightly adapted from the Babycakes NYC Cookbook
serves: makes 6-8
notes: I use a combination of whole and light spelt flour, but I’ve also made it with 100% of one or the other and it worked out great.

scones:
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup light spelt flour
1/2 tbsp ground espresso or coffee
pinch of fine sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup melted coconut oil + extra for brushing
1/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water
50 grams of dark chocolate (this was 1/2 a standard bar for me), roughly chopped

to serve:
slightly thinned out coconut cream (recipe here)
jam of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the whole and light spelt flour, ground espresso, sea salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine. To the flour mixture, add the melted coconut oil, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Stir until a very crumbly/dry batter forms. Add the hot water to the mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped dark chocolate until evenly mixed throughout the batter.

Grease a 1/3 cup measuring cup and fill it with portions of the dough. Drop the portions onto the parchment lined sheet, giving each an inch or so of space. Brush the tops with melted coconut oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-14 minutes, flipping the sheet around at the halfway mark. Allow scones to cool slightly before serving with coconut cream and jam.

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Sophie {The Cake Hunter}06/02/2013 - 6:21 am

I’m in love! These look amazing. I want to put coconut oil in everything I bake because it’s just the best ingredient I’ve used in years. Definitely pinning this to my to do list.

Natasha06/02/2013 - 7:55 am

I love the idea of a vegan scone, especially one with coconut oil and chocolate. Although, I definitely don’t think I will be giving up my morning coffee anytime soon. It makes me feel like the day has begun! I for some reason am opposite with tea–I love it mid-afternoon. In any case, vegan scones are now next on my list. Thanks for the inspiration!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar06/02/2013 - 8:40 am

These are so pretty! And look awesome too. Yum!

thelittleloaf06/02/2013 - 9:33 am

I’ve never drunk coffee so haven’t had to contend with the problems it brings, but I always remember my Mum telling me how hard it was to quit back when she was my age. She now drinks herbal teas and infusions and feels so much better for it!

I love the look of these simple little scones and am also a fan of coffee in baking (even though I don’t drink it), so they would be my idea of the perfect breakfast.

erin06/02/2013 - 10:19 am

I’ve been back and forth with moving away from tea and I’ve found similar results (even down to the not being grumpy when the dog wakes you up in the morning!) But like you, I still enjoy a good cup every once and awhile.

These scones look absolutely perfect and I love that they are vegan (Oh and your photos, absolutely gorgeous- the lighting is just perfect!)

Michelle06/02/2013 - 10:22 am

You know my love of scones runs pretty deep lady! These look glorious! My morning routine is pretty much the opposite of yours (wake up, run, barely have enough time for breakfast/getting clothed before I run out the door). I don’t even have time for coffee until I get to the office! But I am feeling the effects of too much coffee throughout the day on my sleep patterns, for real. Considering switching to tea for the afternoon pick me up, for real. This is just a reminder to run down to tealish or David’s to pick up some sweet loose leaf options. What are your favourites mid-afternoon enjoyment?

Michelle06/02/2013 - 10:23 am

Also, realized I used “for real” in two consecutive sentences, and forgot a word. Can you tell I haven’t had my morning pick-me-up? :)

Laura Wright06/02/2013 - 10:51 am

Michelle! Here’s a little run down of my faves for mid-afternoon (for real haha):

1) This Moroccan Mint from Tealish. So fresh: http://www.tealish.com/product-p/morocc.htm
2) Hojicha in general. It’s a roasted green tea, so the caffeine is lower, but the taste is strong: http://www.tealish.com/product-p/hojich.htm
3) This Provencal Rooibos from Tealish-It’s hydrating from the rooibos and mad calming from the lavender: http://www.tealish.com/product-p/rooibo.htm
4) This Creme Brulee Rooibos from David’s Tea. It’s insane in the brain. Sweet and lovely for afternoon slumps: http://www.davidstea.com/organic-creme-brulee
5) And Genmaicha too. That roasted brown rice tea feels constantly appropriate for me.

Michelle06/02/2013 - 11:16 am

So many sweet recommendations! I LOVE Genmaicha and those others sound amazing (especially the Creme Brulee Rooibos, wowza). On it.

Kathryn06/02/2013 - 2:49 pm

I used to have a serious caffeine problem – not so much the quantity but that I would get to a certain stage in the day and NEED some. I’ve felt so much better since I just cut it out (apart from the minimal amount in chocolate obviously).

These scones sound just the perfect tweet – sweet but with a little bitterness and just a touch of wholesomeness. Love them.

Courtney06/02/2013 - 5:47 pm

Though I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, I do love a good coffee & espresso flecked baked good. These look like something I could get behind for breakfast. I love that you topped them with the coconut cream and raspberry jam. YUM!!

jillian {gingerspoon}06/02/2013 - 7:02 pm

I can relate in so many ways–trying life without coffee this past month, love of wooly socks and warm things, and an irrepressible affinity for the combination of dark chocolate and espresso. These look fantastic, and I’m so glad they play nice with tea…perfect.

Eileen06/02/2013 - 8:39 pm

Well, now I have an excellent idea of what might happen to the coconut oil that’s been languishing in my cabinet. :) These scones sound amazing!

Katie (The Muffin Myth)07/02/2013 - 2:28 am

I gave up coffee years ago because it makes me feel anxious and crazy, but I drink a lot (a LOT) of tea – particularly black tea. I haven’t slept well in ages, so I decided to cut waaaaay back on tea. Now I start my day with hot water with lemon, and then one cup of black tea. No black tea past 9am, maybe a cup of oolong or green tea a little bit later. I’ve only been doing this for a week or so, but last night I actually slept. I’ve also started an evening meditation routine, so that may be helping as well.

Anyways, these scones look great. I’ve got the remnants of a bag of spelt flour kicking around which I need to use up before I can justify buying a new one. These scones look like just the ticket! Thanks for another great recipe.

Caitlin07/02/2013 - 10:18 am

when i was college, i started out drinking two cups of coffee in the morning. fast forward 5 years, after i moved out of my parents house, and i was drinking half a pot of coffee in the morning- all within a one hour period of time. in the back of my mind, i always wanted to stop drinking it. as luck would have it, my coffee maker broke this past july, forcing me to stop drinking it cold turkey and switching over to green tea. the first few days of withdrawal were brutal- migraine headaches, depression, inability to concentrate. but, after that it was smooth sailing, and i’m so happy that i’m off that stimulant completely. espresso tasting goodies are the exception though, as i’d eat one of these scones in a heartbeat ;)

la domestique07/02/2013 - 11:50 am

I’ve been weaning off caffeine completely before starting a cleanse today, and the first few days were tough, but now I feel really good. I’m a real chocoholic and those scones look so good!

[...] roasted carrot salad with cashew labneh, avocado + frisée all the way and on the baking side, dark chocolate espresso scones w/ coconut cream + jam are calling my [...]

Maria07/02/2013 - 6:14 pm

Scones are one of my very favorite breakfast treats. Can’t wait to try these!

Richa07/02/2013 - 7:46 pm

the only time i drank loads of coffee was when i was working in a the finance industry.. thank god i changed jobs after just a year and a half.
These scones look heavenly with that coconut cream and jam.!

Julia08/02/2013 - 2:09 pm

wow!! we had a snow day here today.. so that meant i got to play in the kitchen. just finished nibbling on a still-warm-from the oven scone!! this recipe rocks!! i’m a one cup a day gal. i periodically give up coffee for a few weeks at a time. always feeling great when i do.. much like you. i ALWAYS seem to come back to it though?! i love coffee everything!! so these scones are just brilliant. i’ll try to save one for monday morning, when i “give up” my coffee. again. thanks:)

[...] doing this Perfect Health Diet, I’d totally be all over these scrumptious-looking Dark Chocolate Espresso Scones with Coconut Cream & Jam (The First [...]

Kristy08/02/2013 - 6:12 pm

I have been slowly weaning myself off coffee too and trying to save it for the weekends, making it more of a treat. I was actually toying with the idea of making espresso scones, though, and now I don’t need to look any further for a recipe! :-)

Kathryne10/02/2013 - 5:20 pm

First, let me say that these photos are spectacular, Laura. Second, I hear you on the coffee thing, but I swear, I really, I… can’t give it up. I’ve been thinking about spending my first hour awake reading instead of opening up my computer first thing. That counts, right?

sarah11/02/2013 - 12:29 am

I’ve given up coffee many times over the years, and always find myself crawling back to it at some point. I do hate the thought of needing it – I need it so I don’t get a headache, I need it to feel awake, I need it to be human. Tea is a much better choice! Really, but I don’t drink it.

Sigh.

Anyway, you’re awesome. I always feel challenged and encouraged by your good choices. And your scones! Beautiful. I love scones.

Nat @ the Apple Diaries12/02/2013 - 7:07 am

Absolutely delectable! What a great idea for a healthier, more creative scone recipe. I have a beautiful homemade rosella jam that would go perfectly with these ;)

Thanks!

Jacqui12/02/2013 - 4:18 pm

I love a good scone recipe; for breakfast or snack! And love the coconut cream/jam combo on top! I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I do love the ritual of a morning (or all day long) cup of tea. Glad you were able to make the small change you needed to have a better start to the day : )

RootedVegan15/02/2013 - 1:25 pm

I love baking with coconut oil, but sometimes I can’t find it and I still want to make scones, etc. Have you ever used canola oil or grapeseed oil in place of coconut oil? Just curious if it can be swapped out with a similar effect? Thanks for any tips!

Laura Wright15/02/2013 - 2:30 pm

Hi there! I think canola or grapeseed would work just fine in terms of structure for these scones. I just love using the coconut oil because it gives off that buttery-coconutty flavour. With that in mind, canola or grapeseed might give the scone a lighter flavour in general.
-L

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ellen19/02/2013 - 5:53 pm

Just pulled one out of the oven. I am not one to resist coffee and chocolate, but I don’t keep coffee in the house! I did add some cocoa nibs for the roasty flavor, and used whole wheat flour. They turned out awesome, and pretty moist. I used maple for the sweetener and sprinkled the tops with coarse sugar for looks and a little added sweetness. Can’t wait for tea time this afternoon :)

P.S. I think you mean allow scones to COOL before serving.

Laura Wright19/02/2013 - 5:58 pm

Your version with cacao nibs and maple syrup sounds delicious, Ellen! And thanks for catching that little error :)
-L

Kasey24/02/2013 - 8:52 pm

The day after I found out I was pregnant, I immediately stopped drinking coffee and I had a RAGING headache for 3 days. But, soon after, I felt less tired. I had fewer headaches and weirdly, I had MORE energy. I’ve slowly been getting back into it, but I find I’ll drink less than half a cup (just for the taste of it) and feel pretty happy and satisfied. Gorgeous scones, lady!

[...] over this dark chocolate espresso scones from The First Mess which is also my new found blog crush. I admire not only the recipes posted on [...]

[...] over this dark chocolate espresso scones from The First Mess which is also my new found blog crush. I admire not only the recipes posted on [...]

Ellie25/04/2013 - 10:54 am

Hi there, i really want to try this recipe but was wondering… will veg. oil work instead of coconut oil and all purpose flour instead of spelt flour? thanks so much!

Laura Wright26/04/2013 - 9:10 am

Hi Ellie! Those two substitutions should work just fine.
-L

Ellie26/04/2013 - 1:11 pm

thanks so much!

Kristen20/11/2013 - 3:00 pm

Hi Laura!

Is this recipe considered gluten free?

Thanks and can’t wait to make it :)
-Kristen

Laura Wright20/11/2013 - 8:28 pm

Hi Kristen, It is not considered gluten free because of the spelt flour. I would recommend subbing in 2 cups of a gluten-free all purpose flour mix for the whole + light spelt. There are lots of good ones out there these days and you can even make your own!: http://www.ohladycakes.com/2012/01/how-to-make-gluten-free-flour.html

Hope this helps!
-L

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