It was a normal weekday night where I was throwing together a typical steamer-basket-meal for Scott. I keep cooked grains, a few plant based protein options, and a handful of fresh veggies on hand to assemble into the basket for a quick 7 minute steam. It gets tossed from the basket straight into a bowl. A drizzle of olive oil, a little salt, pepper, garlic, and a quick toss – dinner is served. I’ve been assembling a handful of weeknight dinners like this for a few months. However, about a month back I received an unusual ovation from Scott. He took his first bite and told me it was one of the best meals I had ever made. I responded, but you’ve been eating this same meal for months? Then I took a bite and knew right away. It was the olive oil. I had received my first bottle from Oil Ladi that day and had yet to give it a try. The dinner tasted as if it had been sautéed in the richest butter, and as if a handful of other fancy ingredients had been added to enhance its flavor. Golden and buttery, with a peppery kick, and mellow grassy notes. It was the richest thing I had tasted since going vegan over four years ago, and the closest to “buttery” Scott and I had ever experienced with an olive oil. Since then Scott has been extra excited for my humble steamer basket meals, and I’ve been experimenting up the wazoo with this incredible ingredient. Such as in these scones.
Before we dive into the amazing combination of a true, high quality olive oil and dark chocolate – I’d like for you to meet Dina. She is the gracious heart that brought these bottles of liquid gold over to America from her family’s olive orchard on the northeast coast of the provence, Argolis, in Greece. After the fall of the Ottoman empire, the government divvied up the olive groves in the late 1800’s to the families who had been working the land for generations. One of those families is Dina’s. Her immediate family owns about 600 trees, and many of the neighboring farmers are related to them (the Touloukis family). With the olive oil pressed from their harvest, as well as some of their neighbors’ harvests, they are able to bottle about five to eight thousand bottles per year. Making a bottle feel like a true treasure when you hold one. The olives are cold pressed within twenty four hours of being picked, on site, and their specific groves produce some of the best tasting olive oil due to their location – on a slope of land with excellent drainage and lots of sunlight. Apparently those two things are imperative to healthy, happy olive trees – and you can taste their effects! Its incredible talking to Dina about her olive oil. She is contagiously passionate, provides every little detail about the harvest, and emphasizes the importance of educating people on the difference between fresh, unrefined olive oil – and the mislabeled, tasteless bottles we find in their midst at the store. If you’ve been searching (like I have) for someone to trust when it comes to finding a quality olive oil, I’m happy to say I have found that person for you today.
ABOUT THE OLIVE OIL
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – what is it, can you cook with it, is it safe to use with high heat – these questions have been up for debate lately, and do you want to know something that irks me a bit? There is no regulation for the labeling of EVOO. Meaning, olives that have been treated with high heat and ones that are technically “old” can still be pressed and bottled with a label expressing their “cold pressed” and “extra virgin” nature that is far from the truth. It isn’t safe to cook with oils above their smoke point, and when an olive is old and gets pressed is yields an oil with high acidity (anything above 0.8% is high) and thus reduces it’s smoke point (and flavor). However, a truly cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil made using the freshest olives (within 24 hours of harvest) will have low acidity and high nutrient content – protecting the oil up to 400F. This was all news to me, and it meant the world to receive a packet of paperwork from Dina outlining the timing, processing, and acidity for each harvest of her olive oil (the most recent harvest being below 0.4% acidity). When she delivers an order of olive oil to a retailer she always provides this same information, whether or not they ask for it, because she believes it is important people know the quality of the oil they are purchasing. Its for this reason that I adore Dina and Oil Ladi so very much, and am happy to confidently include olive oil in my diet once more. One of the ways being in this rich and delicious scone recipe that I am totally jazzed to share with you today!
ABOUT THE RECIPE
These scones, let me tell you, will win over even the most “iffy” scone eaters. They don’t have the traditional dense interior, but a slightly fluffier one with a delectable crumb. Usually scones are made with cold butter, and I have been making this coconut oil version for years with no complaints. But to use Oil Ladi’s olive oil was a treat I can only credit to poor grocery shopping planning. I was making scones the other weekend when I went to grab my coconut oil jar and only a small teaspoon was left. Needing scones in my life I grabbed the bottle of Oil Ladi and decided to give it a go. I don’t know if I will ever switch back, now that I know the rich taste of an olive oil scone! Paired with dark chocolate here, but also stellar with blueberries (which I posted here on Instagram last weekend) or any other fresh, frozen, or dried fruit of your liking. The next-to-best part (the best being eating them, of course) is the ease of making. No flouring of countertops, no rolling, cutting, and carefully chilling. One bowl, one stir, one quick freeze, and a cookie scoop. Thats all it takes, and you have scones within 40 minutes from start to finish. And 30 minutes of that time is spent with the scones either in the freezer or oven! Magic? I think so.
This post was sponsored by Oil Ladi. All words and opinions are my own, and I truly believe in this family and their extra virgin olive oil. Thank you for supporting Faring Well by supporting its gracious sponsors!
DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK OLIVE OIL SCONES
Makes 5 scones, batch can easily be doubled.
1 1/4 cup light spelt flour (or all purpose)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup plain almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup Oil Ladi olive oil
1/3 cup quality dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small cup, set aside. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and add the maple syrup, olive oil, and almond milk mixture. Stir until the dough begins to come together, then add the chopped dark chocolate. Fold in the chocolate to incorporate, and place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes (no more, no less, set your timer!). Remove the bowl from the freezer and using a cookie scoop (or spoon) drop five spoonfuls of dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheet. Then drop another scoop of dough on top of each (that has been already scooped) and press down slightly to make sure the two scoops stick together. Place in the oven and bake for 22 to 24 minutes. The tops and edges should be a nice golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving, and cool any extras completely before storing in an airtight container on the counter. Best enjoyed fresh, or eaten within 2 days.
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