The first important factor is the thickness of your dough. You need to roll out the dough, keeping in mind that the height(thickness of the dough) to width(size of your cookie cutters) ratio needs to be pretty close to 1:2 for the scones to rise appropriately and proportionately. My first batch, I went 2:3 for height to width(the dough was rolled to 2 centimeters thick and cut with a cookie that had a 3.5 centimeter diameter), and they all came out lopsided. Keep in mind for my recipe, I stuck with the 3.5 centimeter cookie cutter, so I ultimately had to go 1.75 centimeters in height for them to work. My second batch, I went in at 1.5 centimeters, and my scones came out too flat, so 1.75 or 1 3/4 centimeters became my lucky number for these. Do not be afraid to get a ruler. I actually encourage it for consistent and accurate results!
The second important factor is resting. My second batch, I did not bother to rest my dough for a sufficient amount of time. Because of this, the glutens were not relaxed in the scones, causing the scones to contract and shrink in the oven while they were baking. Because of this, my second batch of scones looked like they did not rise at all, even though I used the exact same recipe both times. The main difference is that I rested my first dough for 2 hours before even trying to cut them, and let them rest again while I was making my glaze in lieu of the egg wash.
The third factor is kneading. With biscuits, you are always told to never overwork the dough, since that will result in dense, greasy biscuits. For scones, however, you do need to knead the dough(try saying that sentence three times fast). Overworking scone dough is very difficult to do, so knead to your heart’s content(which in this case is when the surface of the scone dough is smooth). The gluten development helps the scones capture the steam and air that is let out from both the coconut oil melting and the baking powder activating. If you do not knead the scones enough, they will not contain that hot air coming out from your ingredients as they bake, and the end result will be flat scones that look like you forgot to add in any baking powder.
The fourth factor is temperature. Since my recipe uses coconut oil which has a lower melting point than butter, I found myself having to work fast and quick, or else my scones would warp in shape. You can either use coconut oil, and scramble to get the dough done quickly, or if you are using bigger batches of this recipe, use vegan margarine/vegetable shortening, which have higher melting points, and then will not warp or stick as the dough gets warm from the rolling/kneading. Pros and cons to consider are that coconut oil is faster to incorporate into your dough, but your dough needs to chill down for longer periods, whereas the vegan butter substitutes will be harder to mix into your doughs, but they can be kneaded for longer, and will hold their shape better when being cut into smaller pieces.
Beyond just the dough, I made a glaze to replace the egg wash. It was made by melting down sugar into soy milk(you can substitute this with any nut or plant-based milk!). The proteins in those kinds of milks, coupled with sugar, works as a pretty effective egg wash substitution, allowing you to still get that glossy golden brown color on top of your vegan baked goods! For this recipe, we will go over the scones twice with the glaze. Once before the final rest, and a second time right before they go into the oven! This way, the glaze will get a nice, deep caramelization on top of the scones.
For the scone dough:
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
Mix together the soy milk with vinegar/lemon juice first, and let that sit at room temperature for 10 minutes(if sitting any longer, transfer to the refrigerator). In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Mix into that your coconut oil, mixing thoroughly until everything combines together into a fine powder. Mix into that your soy milk and knead into a dough. Continue to knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Wrap up your dough and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is roughly 1 3/4 centimeters thick. Dust a 3.5 centimeter cookie cutter with flour. To cut out your scones, press the cutter straight down into the dough, making sure not to twist it. Re-dust the cutter with flour between each press. Flip the scones so that the side that was facing down when you pressed into them is facing upwards. This guarantees a flat and even top for the scones. Re-roll your scrap dough and continue this process until you use up all of the dough.
Brush the tops of the scones with the glaze and rest the scones in your refrigerator for another hour. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. After the final rest, brush the tops of the scones with another round of the glaze. Bake the scones at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.
For the glaze:
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp sugar
Heat up the two ingredients until the sugar is fully melted into the milk. Allow the glaze to cool down before brushing over the scones.