Well hello, sexy! How did you get here?
Its not such a long and complicated story, actually, but it is a story. I work (or, until December 31st, I worked) for a company that manufactured gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods. Several employees have celiac disease or gluten itolerance, and I've tested recipes on them. Patricia, the Director of Sales, has celiac and doesn't like sweets, except for scones. Which she craves.
I recently bought a scone at a gluten-free bakery in the 'burbs and was pretty unimpressed with it. It was sandy and grainy - one of the hallmarks of baking with too much rice flour. Patricia also tried them the last time she visited (she lives in Dallas) and didn't think much of them either. So when I asked her if she had a request for a recipe, she answered, plainly, "scones".
So I assembled my ingredients, found a basic scone recipe (thank you Joy of Cooking) and proceeded to mangle it, four times over. I had a number of flours at my disposal, including Sorghum, which I abandoned after remembering that two proteins in it cause everyone quite a bit of gastrointestinal distress.
I'm not the most organized recipe developer. I write down recipes on the back of anything I can find - usually envelopes. The first version is always the most simple - I don't diverge much from the original recipe (though in this case I reduced the eggs, and increased the cream and butter) and use the results to guide my next version.
In this case, the first version had a fairly large percentage of rice flour and a low percentage of everything else. I kept the baking powder at the same level, didn't use any gums and kept the butter low. The dough ended up being a little dry. The result? A too-tender, too-sandy scone with less-than-adequate rise. The next version included less brown rice, some xanthan gum, and the same amount of fat. Better, but not ideal. The third version included no rice flour, xanthan gum, and more fat. It was great. The fourth version had more liquid, less fat, and some amaranth. The flavor was good but it wasn't quite right.
I invited over my friend Drex, who is a gluten aficionado (he bakes bread for fun) to help me test out the finished product. As he went through each one, he gave me feedback around mouthfeel, texture, bite, and flavor. Flavor wasn't quite as important, as I was trying for a master recipe that I could change by adding more flavor - lemon, ginger, orange, maple etc.
He agreed with me that the third version was the best - it had a good texture, kept its integrity when chewed, and tasted good. He did like the nuttiness that the amaranth added in the third version, and I felt that those scones were actually quite tasty, too.
I ended up making some lemon curd (you can find a basic recipe in the Joy of Cooking) to eat with the scones, and I found the whole thing to be quite delicious and - happily - very sconey!
I still need to develop more 'contemporary' scones - these are very much in the mold of classic scones, very tender and delicate and a little dry but full of butter and cream.
Cake and Commerce's Gluten-Free Classic-Style Scones
- 1/2 C Certified Gluten-Free Oat Flour
- 1/4 C Tapioca Flour
- 1 C LIGHT Buckwheat Flour (dark or regular will give you very dark scones)
- 1 T Amaranth Flour (you can leave this out - it won't impact the recipe. Take out 1 T Oat if you use this)
- 1/4 t Xanthan Gum
- 1 T Baking powder
- 1/2 t Salt
- 1 T Sugar (you can add up to 4 T if you want a sweeter scone)
- 6 T (3 oz) Butter, unsalted and COLD
- 2/3 C Heavy Cream
- 1 ea Egg
- 1/2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Combine all dry ingredients in bowl. Mix thoroughly. Break up butter into small pieces and work into flours until butter is evenly dispersed throughout. It should look like cornmeal.
Combine wet ingredients.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the well. With your hands, combine the dry and wet ingredients. Your hands will get sticky, make sure you work all the batter on your hands into the dough. Dough will be sticky - you do not want a dry dough.
Collect dough in a ball. Flatten and then roll out to approximately 3/4 inch thick. At this point I chill the dough for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator, covered. You can refrigerate the dough up to one day or freeze it until you need it. You don't need to, but it does give the dough some time to absorb the liquid.
Remove the dough and using a biscuit cutter or a round cutter or a glass, cut into scones. You could also cut into wedges if you like that. You don't need to worry about gluten forming, so rework all the dough - there should be no leftovers!
Brush a little cream on top of the scone and sprinkle it with granulated sugar. You can also use water or egg wash.
Place in center rack of oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. It may be done in 13 minutes, so check for color. If the top is golden brown, it is done.
Allow to cool. Serve with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd. If you aren't going to eat them right away, freeze after cooling or place in an airtight container. Makes approximately 15 each 1.5 inch scones OR about 8 regular-sized scones.
Variation: To make lemon scones, include the zest of one lemon in the dough and increase sugar to 3T, and combine the juice of one lemon with 1 C confectioner's sugar to make an icing. Ice scones when cool.