This gluten free scones mix makes quick work of the lightest, most airy pastries. Add your favorite mix-ins!
Scones are not biscuits, I promise you that. But what are they? Well, first off they’re a delicious pastry that you should know how to make.
So let’s start at the beginning. They may be airy, but they’re not flaky.
Flaky layers in all manner of gluten free biscuitsare achieved through rolling and folding, rolling and folding, a process called lamination. It’s the basis of gluten free puff pastry, the most laminated of pastries.
The flakiness comes from cold chunks of butter, surrounded by and layered among dough, that expand when they meet the high heat of the oven. The dough holds the shape and the space created by that expansion.
Scones, on the other hand, are not rolled and folded. They’re simply rolled and cut, chilled and baked. The pastry that results is almost crumbly, but not because it’s dry at all.
When I used to practice law in Manhattan, there was a tiny little bakery near my office that sold the best blueberry scones I’d ever had. Just slightly crisp on the outside, they were only lightly sweet from the mix-ins and the dusting of sugar on top.
But that was back in my gluten-eating, lawyering days. This gluten free scones mix makes scones that are every bit as lovely as those, but of course, they’re safe for my gluten free son.
The mix calls for a dairy powder, preferably buttermilk powder, which is what allows the scones to be made with cold water, not cold buttermilk. My favorite cultured buttermilk powder is made by Saco, and I store the opened container in the refrigerator.
You can replace the powder with nonfat dry milk, ground into a finer powder, or whey powder. If you’d like to make these dairy-free, try replacing the buttermilk powder with more all purpose gluten free flour, replacing the water with cold, nondairy milk and replacing the butter with butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. And let us know how it goes!
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
Scant 1/2 cup (43 g) cultured buttermilk blend powder (I use Saco brand) or 1/3 cup (43 g) whey powder or nonfat dry milk, ground into a finer powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons (24 g) granulated sugar (optional)
To make scones 1 batch dry scones mix
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, chopped and chilled
1 cup frozen or dried berries, or chocolate chips
3/4 cup cold water, iced (ice cubes don’t count in volume measurement)
Milk, for brushing (optional)
To make the dry mix, place all of the dry mix ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed, and whisk to combine well. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To make scones, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the entire dry mix from the first step and whisk to loosen. Add the chopped and chilled butter, and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients. Between floured thumb and forefinger, press each chunk of butter to flatten. Add the mix-in berries or chips, and toss to coat. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the cold water in a slow, steady stream, mixing to combine. The mixture should come together and everything should be just moistened. Press the dough into a flat disk.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and pat into a rectangle. Roll out until the rectangle is about 1/2-inch thick, and about 4-inches x 10-inches, squaring the edges to smooth any cracks in the dough. Using a large knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 triangles by slicing it in half widthwise, each half in two, then each quarter in two triangles. Place the triangles of dough about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with a bit of milk, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar, if you like.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the scones are firm. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, and beginning to brown on the edges (about 18 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to set briefly before serving warm or at room temperature.