RECIPE: May Day scones

A recipe suitable for May 1, May Day – when Washington DC’s morris dance teams grace Takoma Park with their annual Dawn Dance to greet the summer sun at the Old Town gazebo. Photo above by Dahlia Rose Darling.


I have a confession, my parents are Morris dancers. It was embarrassing as a child to turn down play dates, because you had to ‘tour’ with your parents and their team of Morris dancers around whatever part of DC they were doing that day. And confusing, to explain what Morris dancing actually is (you can watch the video below), and that ‘touring’ really meant that you were bar hopping with your parents while they danced in bells and sang sea shanties.

This at least contributed to my family’s obsession with British culture. One of the most significant ways this played out in my early life was when my birthday came around at school, and my mom wouldn’t go to Safeway and buy a dozen cupcakes, but would wake up early in the morning and bake scones for me and my classmates. I was horribly embarrassed at the time, but now am happy that I know what a real scone tastes like, and know how popular they can actually be. And these aren’t just birthday treats, this recipe has been pulled out for breakfasts, meetings, funerals, May Day, Solstice, Christmas. If you have an event you need to bring something for, these will do the trick.

Some people view scones as the brussel sprouts of pastry, they’ve had a couple that were overcooked and have written them off entirely. If this is you, I urge you to at least try this recipe. It has been tested on so many people for so many years, I can guarantee you will want more than just one. What makes these scones different from your typical vegan scone is that they are made with shortening, and you cut them out with a cookie cutter. This not only makes them more fun, but gives you more control over size and portion. If you absolutely must have ‘just a bite’, do what you wish but know you will be silently judged by the people around you who are unafraid of digging in.


May Day, 2013 in Takoma Park. Photo by Julie Wiatt

Before I give you the full recipe, let me give you some pro tips:

• Do not use a mixer. Scones are similar to muffins, you don’t want to mix them too much or they will harden and taste stale.
• Enjoy these day of. They will not hold until the next day, just another reason they work well for events. I encourage you to give these to your friends and family while they are fresh, everyone loves being asked to come over and eat.
• Keep them moist. Put a tea towel down before you place them in your chosen vessel, and place another one on top before you serve them or travel with them.
• You absolutely must use shortening with them.
I made these chai spice because chai is the way to my heart, but I encourage you to try them plain or to create your own variations.

Jenni’s Famous (Chai Spice) Scones. Makes 2 dozen.


• 2 1/2 cups of flour
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup margarine or shortening (I used Earth Balance)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup soy milk
• 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Chai spice variation:

• 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground cloves
• 1/4 tsp ground allspice
• Steep 2 chai tea bags in 1/4 cup of hot water
• Only use 1/2 cup soy milk with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.

1). Whisk together soy milk and vinegar, set aside to curdle.

2). Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3). Cut in margarine, until pieces are pebble size.

4). Toss in sugar, and chai spice mix.

5). Swiftly mix in soy milk and vinegar mixture.

6). Knead for about one minute, until dough is formed in one large ball.

7). Now roll out 1/2″ thick, and cut out shapes. Place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with any left over sugar and spice.

8). Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Serve warm!


May Day, 2013 at the Takoma Park gazebo. Photo by Julie Wiatt

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Dahlia Rose Darling was born and raised in Montgomery County, but currently resides in Seattle Washington. She loves to bake, knit, and listen to vinyl records. Her blog is Darling Dishes – “A Modern Flower Child’s Guide to Vegan Cooking and Crafts.”