18 July 2013
Mmm ... just pulled a batch of scones out of the oven to have with a nice cup of Earl Grey for my elevenses today. Of course, I usually have elevenses around nine or ten o'clock since I start my day so early!
These scones are gluten-free because I'm going gluten-free for the month of July. I have a freezer full of different gluten-free flours and starches, and this combination is one I especially like for scones. There is only the slightest difference in texture from my regular scones, a difference so slight most people don't even notice it at all.
I make what I call my Classic Scones when I happen to have buttermilk on hand. But more often, because I hate buying a quart of buttermilk and having most of it go to waste, I always keep a supply of buttermilk powder (Organic Valley Buttermilk Blend) in the pantry. It makes scones that are every bit as good as those made with fresh buttermilk.
For an afternoon tea party, I serve scones with three accompaniments: raspberry or strawberry jam, lemon curd and clotted cream. For elevenses, I have them plain; the orange zest and dried fruit are embellishment enough. Do you have a favorite scone or other treat to go along with a cup of tea or coffee?
Gluten-Free Buttermilk Scones
(Makes 16 scones)
3/4 packed cup sorghum flour
3/4 packed cup potato starch
1/2 packed cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Zest of one orange
1/2 cup currants or other chopped dried fruit
1/2 cup water
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C / Gas Mark 6). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. (I use a 14x16-inch nonstick insulated cookie sheet.)
2 In a wide 2-quart bowl whisk together the flours,* xanthan gum, sugar, buttermilk powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With your fingers or a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in orange zest and dried fruit to coat and separate.
* While you're measuring out the three flours/starches, measure out and whisk together 2 tablespoons each sorghum flour and potato starch and 4 teaspoons tapioca flour to use for shaping the scones. Use a bit of it to sprinkle lightly in two 6-inch rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
3 In small bowl, combine water, egg* and vanilla; pour into dry mixture and gently mix until just combined. Right in the bowl, divide the dough into two portions.
* If you prefer to glaze the tops of your scones, beat the egg lightly and reserve one tablespoon to mix with a teaspoon of water to brush on just the tops of the scones right before baking. I prefer to brush the tops with a little milk.
4 Scrape the two portions of dough onto the floured parchment and, with floured (gluten-free, of course) hands, gently pat the dough into two 6-inch rounds. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges away from the center and separate them to about an inch apart. A small offset spatula dipped in flour works well for this.
5 Brush just the tops of the scones with either the egg glaze or a little milk. Bake about 13 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Note: Scones may be frozen, double-wrapped, for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature, wrapped. To reheat room temperature scones, wrap loosely in foil and heat at 300°F (150°C / Gas Mark 2) for 10 minutes.