Just as a pinch of salt coaxes out the flavor of a dish, a dash of a dining companion’s cibophobias give my double portion a singular zest. I swoon over the victuals others scorn. My pleasure in the morsels is doubled knowing that I must make up for the absence of others’ love. Perhaps I am a contrarian. I am a vegan. The ethical, environmental, and spiritual signposts led me here, but perhaps contrarianism made fleet my feet.
A tidbit most mundane becomes quite titillating when stamped “Top Secret.” As I munch my collards, my bok choy, my millet (“Why do all your vegan foods sound like they could be medieval weapons?” asks my brother, the carnivorous varsity linebacker), I smile. I have been initiated into a scrumptious secret and being exclusive just increases its value. Sorry little brother, you can’t play with Okra and me today.
Ask my father to name a food he finds unpalatable. He will claim that he eats everything. But set before him a dish with a smidgeon of coconut and he politely declines. Set before him a plate pebbled with nuts and he demurs. Set before him a sweet sticky with dates and he draws back.
Father flew away to a glamorous hotel to say intellectual things to intellectual people in nametags. I baked almond date scones laced with coconut oil and bathed them in coconut maple icing for good measure. Obviously you should replace the nuts and dates with whatever tidbits are most likely to repulse your comrades.
Whole Grain Almond Date Scones with Coconut Maple Icing
Adapted from Adventures in Cooking
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (someday I may try blending in some buckwheat flour to drive off a few more picky eaters)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup solid-state coconut oil
- ¾ cup nondairy milk (I used almond)
- Generous handful of chopped nuts (I imagined the scones with walnuts but we didn’t have any, so almonds it was)
- 5-6 dates, chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Splash of nondairy milk
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in the coconut oil until you have the usual “little peas” of floury fat globs (appetizing, no?). Sprinkle in the nuts and dates (don’t let the date bits stick together), stirring to distribute evenly. Add the milk and stir just until a loose dough forms. Pat the dough onto a baking sheet, forming a disk 1” thick. Slice into eight triangles, and scoot them a little bit apart from one another so that everyone has some breathing room. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the scones have filled out a little, looked crisped at the edges, and feel firm to the touch.
In a small bowl, stir together the icing ingredients. Microwave in short bursts, just until the coconut oil is melted and the other ingredients are warm enough to keep the oil from seizing. Stir until smooth, adding more powdered sugar or milk to reach a pourable consistency. Drizzle over the warm scones and let rest until the glossy coat firms up.