DIY Gluten-Free Mix™ — Butter Scones
Americans are often overwhelmed at baking scones, but I don’t quite understand why. In reality, they are another form of a quick bread, much like muffins, but without the special baking pans. Scones have a long and interesting history. The first mention of them is in the mid-1500’s in Scotland and England. They are always baked in a round, flattish disc and cut into 8 equal pieces. Earlier recipes used very little sugar and relied on the fruit mixed into the batter for flavor and color. Many historians think that scones are related to Scottish bannocks, Irish soda breads and Welch cakes. All are quick breads, easily adapted to gluten-free baking, and have endless variations. Scones are most known as a traditional part of an English tea tray. Plus, they are yummy!
I think to become proficient in baking gluten-free scones, like pie crust, one must practice a bit. Using the DIY mix is a great way to get started sharpening your skills as a gluten-free baker. And in the practice you can experiment with the many varieties of scones. You can try Cranberry-Orange scones or Lemon-Blueberry scones. Both are delicious and gluten-free!
I feel that having a few recipes you have mastered that are gluten-free makes it less stressful to eat healthy and feed your family in a healthful way. Also, having these special foods that you are proud to serve to anyone gives you the courage to try other gluten-free recipes and have a variety of healthy treats and meals. Usually when you have to be on a “special” diet for your health, it is expensive. We all worry about balancing our budget against healthy food options. I have found that making these DIY mixes at home helps keep the expense of gluten-free baking reasonable. Plus having vetted my ingredients means that I don’t have to be too stressed by living a gluten-free lifestyle–so I feel healthier. The cost of making the dry mix is $2.60 each. I calculated that as follows: Flour $2.14, Sugar $.27, Baking Powder $.12, Baking Soda $0.03 and Salt $0.04. Additional ingredients cost about $1.64–Butter $.85, Sour Cream $.60, Egg $.19. I did not include cost for optional fruits or flavorings. So the basic scone mix would cost approximately $4.24 for 8 pieces. I don’t know of any bakery or coffee shop where I could get a tasty, gluten-free treat for well under a dollar.
American recipes often include more sugar than British recipes. This one uses little sugar–you must bake these to your own taste. I love the control the DIY mixes give me as the baker. I can use dairy-free sour cream, or egg replacements as necessary. I haven’t tried a dairy-free butter replacement, like a butter flavor shortening, but I bet it would work just fine. Just be sure to freeze it because the trick to get a flaky product has to do with how the flour mixes with the very cold butter or shortening. Having identified substitutions that work for our diet allows me to feel confident reading new recipes and adapting them to our gluten-free lifestyle. I hope you are experimenting (in a healthy way) so you can provide a diet full of interesting meals and a variety of gluten-free treats.
- 2 cups Freedom Delivered gluten-free All Purpose Flour (248 g)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top before baking)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and frozen (the smaller the cubes the better to mix with the flour)
- ½ cup sour cream, dairy or non-dairy (I have used almond milk yogurt, vanilla--delicious)
- 1 Large egg
- ½ cup raisins or any dried fruit (dusted with 1 teaspoon of flour)
- Gater the dry mix ingredients and mark the zip bags. Set up the bags by rolling the tops of the zip bags about 2-inches down so they stay open. Set each one in a container to hold them upright.
- Carefully weigh the flour for each bag. Measure the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to each bag. Zip each bag closed and put into a gallon zip bag with a copy of the recipe for future baking.
- Adjust rack to lower than the middle position in oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl pour prepared dry mix. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, work the frozen cubes of butter into the flour mixture. It should resemble coarse meal. Stir in raisins or dried fruit, if using.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and egg. Stir the sour cream mix into the flour mix until large clumps appear. The dough will be sticky in places and very dry in other places at first. Use your hands to continue to mix the dough together. The warmth of your hands helps mix the dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a circle about 7-inches in diameter and about ¾-inch thick. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. With a sharp knife, cut round into 8 triangles--separate slightly.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 15 - 17 minutes, until golden. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm with butter and jam.