The Imaginary Heroine

searching for the plot

A New Dawn part 12: “To Bite, or Not to Bite; That Is the Question” by Janette Rallison March 26, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

Most of what I read about the Twilight refers to destiny or fate. According to Janette Rallison, the books are instead all about free will. This jives with a few statements I’ve read from SMeyer. On her website, Meyer discusses the importance of the apple image on the first novel’s cover. Apples have been featured in myriad stories through the ages, but always with a similar meaning: Choice. She also discussed the importance of Free Will in Mormon doctrine in an interview with Lev Grossman from Time:

“[A]lthough Mormons avoid caffeine on principle, [Meyer] drinks the occasional cherry Diet Pepsi. “It’s about keeping yourself free of addictions,” she explains, sitting on a huge couch in her living room. “We have free will, which is a huge gift from God. If you tie that up with something like, I don’t know, cocaine, then you don’t really have a lot of freedom anymore.”

Rallison shows us that Meyer overtly communicates this idea to the readers when Carlise tells Bella that all anyone can do is decide what to do with what they were given in life. Even Alice’s future sight is dependent on the decisions of others. Rallison points out that this is Meyer telling us again that “no one’s fate is set in stone in the Twilight series. The future is made and undone with every choice a character makes.”

I’m going to stop with the free will vs. destiny stuff right here. It’s a good essay. Go buy or take the book out of the library and read it.

I’ve been derailed (Again!) by someone totally missing the manipulative element behind Edward letting Bella see Jacob. Rallison attributes this to Edward’s saint-like understanding. I’m still pretty sure that the whole point was to make himself appear saint-like and make Bella feel that she had to get rid of Jacob in order to be good enough for perfect, angelic Edward.

He's doing it again!

Then she turns around and says that Jacob is not above manipulation when honesty and logic don’t work. Yes. He did try to manipulate Bella. I will yet again point out the fact that when he did, he totally stank at it. People hated Jacob for that stunt. He’s not a skillful manipulator, for the simple reason that he’s usually an honest guy who doesn’t try to manipulate others. Allow me to point out (AGAIN!) that Jacob only tried it, because he realized that was how Edward was winning! He was manipulating Bella’s pathological need to throw herself under the bus before hurting anyone else.

Even thought Bella says Edward isn’t playing any game, Jacob knows better:

“He isn’t manipulating me”

“You bet he is. He’s playing every bit as hard as I am, only he know what he’s doing and I don’t. Don’t blame me because he’s a better manipulator than I am – I haven’t been around long enough to learn all his tricks.”

“He isn’t manipulating me!”

“Yes, he is! When are you going to wake up and realize that he’s not as perfect as you think he is?”
Eclipse p594

Maybe it would be different if this was an exploration of open relationships or something. I’m sure there’s a pile of fan fiction about various Bella, Edward, Jacob arrangements. But that’s not what the Twilight Canon is about. Edward, Bella, and Jacob are all up front about wanting to be in a monogamous coupling. Both Edward and Jacob are trying to get the other out of the picture by any means necessary. Neither is above manipulation to achieve their ends. So why is Edward getting called honest and understanding while Jacob gets tutted at for doing the exact same thing?

Ugh. I’m going to pull out a legendary Kansas quote and and simply say: “That’s right…Dollar signs.”

All of this discussion of who is manipulating whom is not about who is right for whom or which guy Bella should have chosen. Of course Edward loves Bella and vice versa. Of course Edward was the right choice for Bella. She may have loved Jacob too, but she always knew she loved Edward best, last, and forever. I just wish people weren’t quite so hard on Jacob. Sometimes I wonder if people don’t hate him so very much because he brought out the nasty side of Edward. It’s hard to see your knight in shining armor get tarnished.

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Wuthering Blights March 10, 2010

Furze aka Gorse, a spiny plant found on the English Moors frequented by the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff.

Wuthering Heights might be one of my least favorite classics. So, why have I read it so many times? I honestly couldn’t tell you.

7abibi recently brought to my attention a Lewis Black sketch about candy corn:

I’ll never forget the first time my mother gave me candy corn. She said, “Here – Lewis, this is candy corn. It’s corn that tastes like candy.” [high-pitched scream] This tastes like crap! And every year since then, Halloween has returned and I, like an Alzheimer’s patient, find myself in the room, and the room has a big table in it, and on the table is a bowl of candy corn. And I look at it as if I’ve never seen it before. “Candy corn”, I think. “Corn that tastes like candy. I can’t wait.” Son of a bitch!!

This is me and Wuthering Heights.

The first time I read it, I think I was in sixth or seventh grade. My dad despaired of my fantasy addiction and wanted me to break out of the Young Adult section and into adult literature (adult as in grown up; not “adult” as in pornographic). He probably could have found a drearier book…but not by much. I hated every moment of Wuthering Heights. It took me ages to finish, mostly because I kept reading other, more exciting books in the process.

I read it again in high school, thinking that maybe my first reading was marred by the fact that I was too young to understand the love story or that I was not yet a good enough reader to comprehend the flowery prose. By that time, I was a great believer in the Austen Canon and was on the look out for more Great Books by Women. Unfortunately, I hated it. Again.

I tried to read Wuthering Heights in college when an English professor referred to Catherine and Heathcliff as an example of great lovers in literature. I still didn’t get it. Sure, the language is beautiful. There are some great lines:

“You are a dog in the manger, Cathy, and desire no one to be loved but yourself!”
– Isabella Linton

“Tell her what Heathcliff is: an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation; an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone.”
– Catherine Earnshaw Linton

“By God!  Mr. Linton, I’m mortally sorry that you are not worth knocking down!”
– Heathcliff

“He might as well plant an oak in a flower-pot, and expect it to thrive, as imagine he can restore her to vigour in the soil of his shallow cares.”
– Heathcliff

“You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff!  And you both come to bewail the deed to me, as if you were the people to be pitied!  I shall not pity you, not I. You have killed me–and thriven on it.”
– Catherine Earnshaw Linton

This passage especially sums up a particular brand of black melancholy that comes over me from time to time:

“[Heathcliff] yielded completely; and there was no prevailing on him to take a step in the way of moving upward, when he found he must, necessarily, sink beneath his former level. Then personal appearance sympathised with mental deterioration: he acquired a slouching gait and ignoble look; his naturally reserved disposition was exaggerated into an almost idiotic excess of unsociable moroseness; and he took a grim pleasure, apparently, in exciting the aversion rather than the esteem of his few acquaintance.”
– Ellen “Nelly” Dean

If I enjoyed any part of this read through, it was finding in Heathcliff someone more savage than myself at the moment. I may have bouts of irascibility, pessimism, and utter self-immolation. The Scottish thistle is deep in my genes. But I am not so far gone as Heathcliff.

Ultimately, my summary of Wuthering Heights goes like this:
Awful people are awful to each other for YEARS and then they die.
The end.

Imagine my chagrin when Wuthering Heights took me in again just yesterday!

I blame Twilight. In Eclipse, we learn that Bella has read Wuthering Heights so many times its binding is creased and the pages are dog-eared. Edward, like me, can’t understand why she reads it over and over, saying “It isn’t a love story, it’s a hate story.”

As you can probably tell, I’m inclined to agree. Despite Bella’s insistence that Catherine and Heathcliff are supposed to have no good qualities and the point of the novel is that they are redeemed only by their love, I still can’t be persuaded to like Wuthering Heights. Catherine is obnoxious,Heathcliff is sadistic, and they make a good go at destroying everyone around them for their “great love.”

Wuthering Heights was re-released in the US and UK last year with Twilight-esque covers that bore the line "Bella and Edward's favorite book!"

Stephenie Meyer has said Eclipse is based in part on Wuthering Heights. I think rereading the latter helped me gain some insight to the former I might not have had otherwise. The Bella-Edward-Jacob triangle is clearly similar to Emily Bronte’s Catherine-Heathcliff-Edgar. Although I’m not positive who is supposed to be Heathcliff in Eclipse. Is it Edward, because his love trumps any other responsibilities he might have, but will eventually turn Bella into a monster? Is it Jacob, because he loses Bella in the end to the wealthy, elite Edward and then disappears into his wolf self for months on end? What is Meyer trying to say about love if her examples are taken from Romances of Mass Destruction like Adam and Eve, Romeo and Juliet, and Catherine and Heathcliff? What does it mean that she subverted their tragic ends, giving her trio a faultless ending?

I suppose these questions make Wuthering Heights a little more interesting, keeping this fourth (and final?!) reading from being a total waste. Had any of the Wuthering Triangle been a little more personable, like, say, Bella, Edward, and Jacob, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

I guess if I learned anything, it’s that I really, truly do not like Wuthering Heights and I will never be convinced to read it again. Although, I’m guessing like Lewis Black’s prohibition on candy corn, this resolution will only last about as long as it will take me to forget it again.

 

A New Dawn part 4: “My Boyfriend Sparkles” by Anne Ursu March 7, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

In this essay Ursu details how the Twilight Saga illustrates truths about first love. Bella’s feelings for Edward are typical of a teenager locked in the throws of their first romance. Each segment of the essay is titled with phrases pulled straight from the mouths and diaries of young lovers every where: “He’s Not Like Other Boys,” “When He Touches Me, It’s Electric,” and “I’ll Love Him Forever.”

A less conventional heading is “My Boyfriend Sparkles.”The books are fantasy, but the best fantasy tells us something about reality[,]” says Ursu. “The author Lloyd Alexander said “Fantasy is a good way to show the world as it is. Fantasy can show us the truth about human relationships and moral dilemmas because it works on our emotions on a deeper, symbolic level than realistic fiction.”” Hmm…sounds familiar.

Ursu takes this a step further and points out that the fantasy of Twilight also serves to obscure less acceptable elements of the story. “There are aspects to Bella and Edward’s relationship that, when translated into the real world become disturbing and dangerous.” Namely Edward’s supreme power over Bella (while she’s human, anyway) and Bella’s supplication before him. This lack of equality is certainly not a healthy ideal for teenagers to emulate. Stephenie Meyer seems to know this and allows Bella to become a super-powerful vampire in the final novel, creating balance not just in the Bella-Edward relationship, but in the Twilight universe as a whole, resulting in total resolution of all conflict by the final pages of Breaking Dawn.

Bella’s transformation and Happily (Raised to Infinity) Ever After ending can be interpreted several different ways, depending on what you believe Bella and Edward’s relationship is supposed to represent. If, as Ursu posits in this essay, it represents the deepest, most obsessive throws of first love, there are still differing conclusions that can be drawn as to what exactly their happy ending means.

One way to interpret Bella’s rise to power and ultimate triumph is that first love can bring two people together, but the relationship can only be whole and permanent if the partners are equals. As such, their love is a source of strength that enables them to reach personal actualization and face down any dangers they may encounter. Even if that danger happens to be an undead army lead by ancient Italian vampires with superpowers.

However, Twilight’s ending can also be interpreted as an encouragement to throw everything to the wind for love, which, although a staple of innumerable volumes of literature, poetry, music, and art, has its pitfalls when practiced in real life. On a personal note, as someone who moved half way across the country to a city where she had neither friends, family, nor job prospects because of love, these pitfalls can be pretty heartbreaking in their own right. This isn’t to say that it isn’t worth it, but simply that the transaction is not as painless as the Twilight Saga would have us believe. Bella gets to keep her human family, her vampire family, her child, Jacob and Edward as a reward for having enough faith to sacrifice even her life for love. In reality, the rewards are more bittersweet.

I believe it is with good reason that the author’s conclusions are a bit pessimistic about the implications one might draw from the Twilight Saga. The fantasy doesn’t stop at the vampires and werewolves, but goes right to the heart of the story. For Ursu, first love that lasts forever is about as realistic as a sparkly boyfriend.

 

A New Dawn part 3: “Romeo, Ripley, and Bella Swan” by Rosemary Clement-Moore March 5, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

A theatre expert, Clement-Moore analyzes the Twilight Saga as an Aristotelian tragedy. According to Aristotle, the point of tragedy is to inspire pity and fear in the audience through sympathy for the doomed hero. This sympathy has a therapeutic effect on the audience, allowing us to achieve catharsis.

Twilight in Greek! How cool is that?!

Twilight in Greek! How cool is that?!

In this analysis, Bella is interpreted as a Classic Hero with a tragic flaw of being in love with a monster-boy and a tragic fate of being a danger magnet for less benevolent monsters. We feel sympathy for her through the novels as she suffers for her love. We fear no matter what she does, Bella may be fated to lose the ones she loves – her human and vampire families, her friends, Jacob, and Edward. By evoking these feelings, the novels allow us to connect with the fears we have about our own destiny and release some of the tensions they cause.

It all breaks down for Clement-Moore in Breaking Dawn as it did for many Twilight readers. Bella seems to escape her tragic fate and achieve a rapturous ending for all involved. The author decides to throw Meyer’s zillion page finale out because, for her, it doesn’t fit the pattern of the other books.

I will admit that this was my first instinct when I read Breaking Dawn. Actually my first instinct was to throw the book across the room. I think I may have done so a couple times. My cat was not amused.

What may be the problem here is that Clement-Moore is working with a philosophical framework that isn’t a fit for the subject matter. Stephenie Meyer was brought up in the Mormon church, attended Brigham Young University, and is still an active member of the LDS community. What Meyer created in Breaking Dawn is not a subverted Greek tragedy with a daring escape from fate, but instead a tale of triumphant ascension with a uniquely Mormon philosophical framework. In marrying Edward, consummating their marriage, and bearing his child, Bella is transformed into a powerful immortal being. This pattern closely matches the process of conversion to Mormonism and the path to redemption and union with God as promised in LDS teachings.

Low blow, but I couldn't resist

It’s important to note that my argument here is NOT that SMeyer set out to write a book to convert everyone to Mormonism. It is not that Mormonism is a good thing or a bad thing. It is not that Twilight having a Mormon moral to the story is a good or a bad thing. These are all debatable points and some of them depend on subjective personal beliefs.

My point is simply that Meyer has  a strong philosophical point of view and it inherently defines her writing. It would be interesting to speculate how intentionally she crafted her finale  – is it a very Mormon conclusion because she is very Mormon and that’s the framework by which she defines a happy ending or did she set out to write a characteristically Mormon happy ending from the beginning?

We will never know for sure and in some ways it less important than other questions. Questions like what does it mean that there has been so much backlash to Breaking Dawn from loyal readers? What does it mean that despite that backlash, it still sat atop the best seller lists for record amounts of time? Is Meyer a Mormon apologetic? Are some elements of the Saga a critique of Mormon thought? What does this mean for the stigmatization of Mormonism in American culture?

If it’s not already obvious, I find the Twilight Saga more interesting as a Mormon allegory than I do as a vampire adventure or a romance novel.

 

Analyzing the Twilight Saga February 27, 2010

Ever since I first gobbled down all four books in one week in December 2008 (I almost ruined my last finals week of college – Thanks, SMeyer), I’ve been dealing with a lot of confused feelings about my TwiLove.

I’m an unabashed vampophile, but in terms of vamp cannon, Meyer’s vampires are definitely a departure in both surface elements and underlying metaphor. The books are definitely romantic, but are they romance novels? Considering that all bodice ripping takes place after an exchange of I do’s and even then tactfully out of the literary frame, I’m not so sure. Don’t even get me started on the whole issue of whether Edward is abusive, Bella is a passive bore, and Jacob is guilty of being a Nice Guy (R). Hello cognitive ambiguity!

As you can see, it’s all a very fraught subject for a hyper-analytical nutjob like me. I can’t just sit back and enjoy. I have to know! If they aren’t vampire novels…and they aren’t romance novels…what the heck are they? Why do grown up women and even feminist academics go gaga over these books? What was up with Breaking Dawn? Most importantly – what the heck do they all mean? What is the Saga trying to tell us about life, the universe, and everything (LU&E)?

With all these questions swirling around in my head, I started hunting down critical analyses of the Saga. After sifting through a lot of “Twilight is so awesome and Edward is so HAWT SQUEEEE!” and even more “Twilight is the stupidest book of all time, not that I read it to come to this is conclusion”, I found a few books and blogs that really got me thinking about the philosophy behind the Saga. This is the beginning of some posts about the latest bit of Twilosophy I’ve been reading, A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins.

Unfortunately I got my hands on this book just after I had stumbled upon a series of essays by John Granger, the Forks High School Professor, that included a serious analysis of the underlying allegories of Twilight (and Harry Potter, but that’s another post). A New Dawn really didn’t hold a candle to Granger’s work.

Instead of dealing with the question “what does Twilight tell us about LU&E?,” A New Dawn examines individual elements of the Saga and places them in context of young adult fiction, vampire cannon, the romance genre, etc. The book is written to the young adult audience specifically, so it’s very chatty and light.

I’ll be posting on each essay separately, as I’ve been informed that my posts resemble Tolstoy’s War and Peace (must be an August 28 birthday thing).

 

Guilty Pleasures and Guiltless Double Chocolate Scones January 29, 2010

Guilty pleasures first. After admitting my supreme dorkdom in the previous post, it’s amazing that I still have some qualms about admitting this….but… I am a Twilight fan. Actually, I prefer Twitard, in honor of one of the most hysterical blogs on the net Twitarded.

I didn’t want to read the Twilight Saga. I was tricked into  it by one of my professors. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to like it. I started out with a pencil, circling questionable vocabulary decisions (‘verbose’? Seriously? I think she meant ‘loquacious’). But despite its doubtful literary merit and dubious moral undertones, it nearly ruined the last week of finals in my undergrad career. I started Twilight on stop day and went out and bought the other three books and devoured them one after the other. I simply had to know what happened.

I thank you Stephenie Meyer for all the joy you've brought me, but WTF, mate?

Even after the fiasco that was Breaking Dawn, I was still addicted to the books, audiobooks, soundtracks, movies, and various cosmetic and wardrobe products affiliated with the movie. I have the Aerie ruffled roll over sweats that Bella wore in that scene in New Moon where Jacob jumps into her window. I am that lame. 7abibi (“ha-bee-bee” which means my male beloved in Arabic and refers to my boyfriend, with whom I share an apartment and an annoying yet adorable cat) has born it all with puzzled equanimity, poor man.

I thought I had plumbed the depths with those sweat pants, but I was wrong.

After a few rotations of books 1 – 3 and even a stab and trying to like Breaking Dawn, it was obvious that I had to find more. I had to dip into the torrid, Mary Sue laden world of fan fiction. Don’t misunderstand – I have a few friends who read and also write fanfic. It only took a few peeks into Harry Potter fanfic during the long cold nights between books before I was totally turned off. Totally. Malfoy/Ron X-rated slash fic is just not for me. Sorry.

But after hearing the buzz on not one, but several sites about the fanfic Wide Awake by angstgoddess003, I had to go check it out. I was in pain. I needed more Twilight!

Dare I say it, but even devoid of vampires, magic, and other fantastical elements, Wide Awake is absolutely phenomenal. It’s full of delicious teen angst, drama, and romance woven together with a perfect stripe of tart humor by light and skillful hand. I stayed up two nights in a row and snuck peeks between calls at work. I was truly a woman possessed.

**Disclaimer: Wide Awake is rated M for mature. It has lots of filthy language, some graphic sexual content, and disturbing imagery that may trigger, offend, or disturb some readers. This is not your tween or prudish Twimom’s Twilight**

I want to examine some of the themes in a later blog post, because it’s a really beautiful text with many points of interest, but right now I just want to talk about cookies. You’ll notice that the chapter titles are named after cookies. These cookies provide a quick snapshot of Bella’s state of mind in a particular chapter. She relates to others through her baking.

This is something I can really relate to, as I both enjoy baking and eating baked goods. My greatest joy is always seeing other people eating and enjoying food I’ve made for them. It gives me a way to connect with people I may not know how to approach. Food helps me tell people that I care for them. For me, a gift of food is meant to encompass nutritional sustenance, sensual pleasure, and personal affection.

This recipe is based on one for a healthier cookie that was originally published in SELF magazine circa 2000. I was trying to counteract the guilty reading pleasures with a bit of virtuous eating (I seriously am trying to follow a Clean Eating diet, but my life simply can’t go on without baked goods). Unfortunately, my first batch turned out to be seriously lacking in tastiness. Who cares if food is healthy if no one wants to eat it? However, with a bit more leavening and some other tweaks, the recipe turned out to yield a pretty darn good (and quasi-healthy) scone.

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Scones

Yield: Makes 2 -3 dozen depending on drop size

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat works too, but white whole wheat tastes lighter)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground flax seeds or flax meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup drained great Northern, Cannellini, Garbanzo or any white beans, liquid reserved
2 tbsp coco butter at room temperature
1/2 – 3/4 cup agave nectar
2 large eggs (can be replaced with 3 egg whites and 1 yolk, but all whites can result in crumbly, hard scones)
1/4 cup skim milk or unsweetened soy milk
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
8 oz chocolate chips with at least 60% cacao content
Optional mix-ins: these are great with walnut pieces, dried cherries and/or cranberries
Optional topping: 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt and 2 teaspoons raw sugar

Equipment:
1 medium mixing bowl
1 large mixing bowl

Stick blender/immersion blender
Coffee grinder
OR
Food processor

Flexible silicone spatula
2 metal teaspoons
Silicone baking mats
Cookie sheets
Nylon rigid spatula (or other cookie de-panning device)
Cooling racks

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using coffee grinder OR food processor, process oats until finely ground but not powdery. If you’re using the coffee grinder, this will have to be done in batches. Combine with flour, cocoa powder, ground flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium mixing bowl. This is your dry goods bowl.

Using stick blender, purée beans and 2 tbsp reserved bean liquid until smooth in a large bowl. Add coco butter, Agave nectar, eggs, vanilla and mix with immersion blender until combined. Alternatively, purée beans and liquid in clean bowl of food processor, and then add coco butter, agave nectar, eggs, vanilla and pulse until combined. Then transfer contents to large mixing bowl. This is your wet goods bowl and soon to be your final mixing bowl.

Add dry goods to wet goods bowl in batches, stirring slowly with silicone spatula to avoid puffs of dry goods. Stir in chocolate chips (and other mix-ins like nuts and dried fruit). Batter will be thick and wet with heterogeneous bits of mix-ins and bits of oatmeal and flax. If batter is dry, drizzle in milk 1 tbsp at a time and mix until it becomes wet. If batter is too runny, add in whole wheat flour 1/4 cup at a time and mix until it becomes thicker.

Using metal teaspoons (in my experience, the batter is too sticky for a disher or scoop) drop about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on cookie sheets with silicone baking mats. The concern while baking these scones is upward lift, instead of outward spread. They can be made about 1.5 inches apart from each other, but be sure to spread the batter out to about 1/4 inch thickness. It will puff up quite a bit as it bakes.

Once the scones are dished onto the baking surface, now would be the time to add the topping if you so chose. Mix together salt and raw sugar and sprinkle a small amount onto the tops of the scones.

Bake 15 to 17 minutes until centers are firm. Use nylon spatula to transfer to wire rack to cool.

***

This recipe is very forgiving and versatile. Wet batter can be remedied with a bit more flour, while dry batter can be fixed with a bit more milk. There are also lots of other flavor combinations you can introduce to the batter with great results. Here are a few off the top of my head:

  • For a mocha scone add enough instant coffee mix for 2 or 3 cups of coffee to the wet goods before mixing in the dry goods
  • Try black beans instead of white – the dark, smoky flavor goes well with chocolate
  • Omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips and use mixed dried fruit and substitute lemon extract for half of the vanilla extract for a light, fruity scone
  • Omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips and substitute almond extract for half of the vanilla extract. Mix in sliced almonds for a toasty almond scone
  • Omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips and add 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 3 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and use molasses in place of agave nectar to make a spicy gingerbread scone (omit pepper for milder gingerbread flavor)
  • Substitute maple syrup for agave nectar, nix all or part of the vanilla extract, and add in bits of cooked turkey bacon for a sweet and savory scone
  • Omit agave nectar, vanilla, cocoa powder and chocolate chips and swap 2 tablespoons olive oil for the coco butter, then try savory mix-ins like 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shreds and 1 cup broccoli pieces and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Or use black beans as suggested above and add in diced bell pepper, cumin, paprika, and cilantro and serve them with salsa for southwestern scones.
  • I’m not particularly well-versed in the use of alternative flours (yet), but I feel like you could experiment with omitting the wheat flour in this recipe for gluten-free alternatives like rice flour and chickpea flour. You could also try partial substitutions of soy flour to lower the carb count, but I think a full substitution could result in hockey pucks instead of scones.