Sometimes, I just have to pick up where I recently left off so I'm more sure I know where I'm going. Like with these gluten free biscuits. I started with the recipe for yeast free gluten free cinnamon buns from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. I know those work really really (really) well, and that they're delicious. And I had long suspected that, if I changed the temperature of the ingredients (cold for pastry!) and massaged the prep a bit (chopped butter instead of soft butter!), they'd be fantastic gluten free biscuits. Sometimes, I'm not wrong. That is one. very. versatile. recipe.
Cinnamon buns have not only softened butter, but eggs in the dough. Pastry (like biscuits) generally does not have eggs (like these gluten free sour cream and scallion biscuits, which have zero eggs). But I was determined to change only method and not ingredients. And they're these super flaky (lots of layers!) but then very tender biscuits.
When I'm developing new recipes (which is all the time all the time), they fail. A lot. And I don't have time for that kind of nonsense right now! I've got a cookbook manuscript due at the end of the month! I'm running low on every ingredient that I thought I had in spades (75 pounds of flour in 4 weeks? Seriously?) and I'm tired of minding my manners with my family. No, I don't want to tell you what I'm baking in case it doesn't work out. No, that's for the new book and I don't want to talk about it.
Since my suddenly fragile ego needed a sure thing, I did this. And it worked so beautifully that I think you should do it, too.
You can cut out the biscuits right after you gather together the dough in a disk, like this.
But if you want flaky biscuits, you'll need to do some rolling and folding and rolling and folding. Like we do with gluten free puff pastry, but way way quicker and easier.
The cinnamon sugar that we rolled up inside the cinnamon buns gets sprinkled on top of these cold, cold biscuits.
They bake up so beautifully (so flaky and tender!). Plus, they're even really tasty the next day. Here's how it all happens:
Gluten Free Biscuits: Cinnamon Bun style
3 1/2 to 4 cups (490 to 560 g) high-quality all purpose gluten free flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled
2 eggs (120 g), lightly beaten
1 cup milk, chilled
1/2 cup (109 g) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place 3 1/2 cups (490 g) of the flour, the xanthan gum, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the granulated sugar, and whisk well. Add the chopped butter, and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients. Press each piece of butter between your thumb and forefinger and flatten it. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and milk. Mix until the dough just begins to come together. Sprinkle a flat surface with about 1/4 cup of the remaining flour, and turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, and gather the dough and press it into a disk.
For the flakiest biscuits, roll the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, and fold it in thirds as you would a business letter. Turn the dough 1/2 turn on the counter, sprinkle with flour as necessary to prevent sticking, and roll again into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out 3 inch rounds from the rectangle with a floured biscuit cutter, and place the rounds about 1 inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Gather and reroll scraps, and cut out more rounds.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill the biscuits until firm (about 10 minutes). In a small bowl, place the brown sugar and cinnamon, and mix to combine. Once the biscuits are firm, remove the baking sheet from the freezer, brush the tops of the biscuits with a bit of milk or some water, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Place the biscuits in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly before serving.
Adapted from the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes For the Food You Love—Fast! by Nicole Hunn (Da Capo 2012.)