There is a certain smell—a slightly fermented scent, perhaps with a tinge of mildew—that washes over you upon entering one of the many the small Asian markets in Seattle. It lets you know you’re in the right place and it’s pretty standard, whether you’re in North Seattle, Chinatown or the Central District. It’s a welcome sign meant to prepare you for the treasure trove of salty sauces, pungent pastes, foreign sea creatures and vegetation. I take no offense to it, although, I’m not exactly inclined to buy milk or any fresh dairy for that matter.
As I was strolling one of the condiment aisles on a recent shopping excursion in the International District, I stumbled upon this jar of coconut jam, called matamís na báo or kaya. Nothing more than coconut milk, brown sugar and water (and sometimes eggs), it’s reminiscent of dulce de leche, the caramelized milk spread of Latin America. Like Nutella, it’s perfectly delicious by the spoonful, but upon first taste I quickly started dreaming up a myriad of uses: spread on toast, drizzled over steel-cut oats, crepes, ice cream or stirred into spiced chai tea.
Once I got home, I immediately scanned the kitchen for something I could whip up as an excuse to eat the sweet, sticky spread. There were some ripe bananas on the counter, coconut flour in the freezer and a can of coconut milk in the pantry; this I could work with. Because it was Sunday morning, I quickly decided there would be scones, crumbly, rich scones.
First, the dry ingredients. High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, coconut flour can be used to replace other flours up to twenty percent in recipes, so in it went along with the other dry ingredients. Then, in place of the usual heavy cream and egg used to bind most scones, I pureed a ripe banana and rich coconut milk to keep with the tropical theme. Finally, a brush of coconut milk and a scatter of toasted coconut and raw sugar over the top for crunch.
This, is what I’d like to call a no regrets move and well worth the trek down to your local Asian market, smells and all.
Vegan Coconut Banana Scones with Coconut Jam
The amount of coconut milk called for is slightly less than one can, so use the extra in your morning smoothie or oatmeal (preferably with some of that coconut jam). If you’d like, you can freeze the scones on the pan before baking, then transfer to a zip-top bag for storage up to two months, just bake them an extra 5-10 minutes. Then you’ll be ready for hot, fresh scones at a moment’s notice (which is to say, always).
Preheat the oven to 425°F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.
With your fingers, rub the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal, then stir in the toasted coconut.
In a blender, puree the coconut milk, banana and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir gently until the dough starts to come together, then dump out onto a clean floured surface and pat together into a 12-inch circle. With a bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges and transfer to the baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the scones with coconut milk, then sprinkle with raw sugar and toasted coconut.
Bake the scones for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before ripping open and slathering with coconut jam.