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It's All About the Baking came about because I want to share my Gluten-free baking. I've developed recipes and tricks over the past ten years so I could enjoy old favorites that tasted, well, just like the old favorites! Hundreds of experiments and tastings (including and especially friends who can eat gluten) later, I'm ready to share!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Scones. Flaky, Tender, Wonderful!

I love scones. Years ago, before Celiac disease, over the course of several months I worked on a scone recipe that I considered worthy, not just good for a "gluten-free" scone. Overwhelmed with Gluten-free baking, too many bad recipes and the availability (at the time) of inferior flours and mixes, I gave up the idea that a good, Gluten-free scone was even possible. As new versions of rice flour appeared on the market, I began experimenting with biscuits first. After all, they had been a staple in my baking for my family. Even as kids, my sisters and I were happy when our mom ran out of bread for breakfast toast because it meant a batch of warm, butter-smothered biscuits. Of course I had to reproduce them for my family, and that recipe was the beginning and basis for my scones. The GF buscuits we now eat are second to none, and the scones come in on top, too.

This recipe is one of three scone recipes I'll be offering. These are a little more dense and moist than my original version, and perfectly match one version of scones that some of my friends prefer. Next I'll publish my first, favorite version, and then the recipe of my friend, Richard's mother, who is Scotish and a school baker and nutritionist in Scotland.

The temps are were the low 70s the day I made these, a perfect day for warm scones and tea after the previous day's high temp of 90 degrees. They have a subtle lemon flavor but I'll write substitutions in case you don't like lemon. And believe it or not, some people do not! Ah, well, we all have our flaws.

I used the flour blend recipe* from America's Test Kitchen Gluten-free cookbook with my favorite rice flour from Anson Mills. I recommend buying this cookbook (it's on sale!). And please go to the Anson Mills website for beautiful photos, wonderful products, and unique recipes and ideas.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Recipe makes eight, good-sized scones
I never eat two
but I did today!

The Recipe
Sift together:
2 cups or 9 ounces of GF flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp psyllium seed husk powder**
1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 tsp salt

Cutting in the butter
Into above flour mixture cut:**
3 TB cold butter (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
2 TB shortening OR 5 TB butter or shortening

Then stir into this flour/butter mixture:
grated zest of one lemon**
3/4 C chopped pecans

Measured yogurt
Stir together:
1 slightly beaten, large egg
3/4 C whole milk yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice** (4 tsp for more lemon flavor) and 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional.

Pour the combined liquid ingreients into the dry mixture,
folding and cutting together with a silicone spatula. If you feel the dough is too dry (it will be thick and slightly crumbly) drizzle in whole milk or half and half a tablespoon at a time.

Once combined, cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let rest for 30 minutes at room temp to give the flour time to absorb liquid ingredients and fats.

A pan in a pan
Next you'll need two baking sheets, placing one inside the other. This will prevent the bottom of the scones from getting too dark. Place a piece of parchment paper in the top pan and turn dough out onto the paper. Lightly pat out the dough into roughly an 8 inch circle.

With very sharp knife, cut the dough into eight wedges, pulling them apart slightly so they bake evenly. This will be a bit tedious as the dough will be soft. It's easier and just as lovely to drop the dough by spoon fulls leaving a bit of space between scones. Admittedly, my cutting wedges was an experiment that worked OK. I'll probably go back to just dropping them.
Dough patteted
into a round
Cutting into wedges

Bake in preheated, 450 degree oven for about 17 minutes. The tops will get well browned but check for doneness by pushing lightly on top. Best not to underbake! Let sit for a couple of minutes then finish cooling on a wire rack

Enjoy warm with a cup of tea or coffee, or glass of cold milk.

*ATK flour blend:
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup white rice flour
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (3/4 cup) potato starch
3/4 ounce (3 TB) nonfat milk powder
If you want to understand the science behind why this works, please buy the ATK cookbook. Having said that, I use only Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Flour for both types of rice flour in this formula. This is a wonderful company and deserves supporting and this flour makes the absolutely best baked goods.

**If you don't have the psylliium, use and extra 1/2 tsp gum
**Use a pastry cutter, two knives, or food processor, which is the easiest.
**If you'd rather have pain vanilla instead of lemon scones, omit the lemon juice and use white vinegar or rice wine vinegar, and omit the grated zest of the lemon.