Dairy Free, Gluten Free Cranberry Scones


As always, my intentions on keeping this blog up have been so good. But then there’s this little man running around now that demands my attention. Well, sometimes demands my attention. Okay, often demands my attention. If it’s not a “play with me now, Mom,” sort of demand, it’s a “don’t touch that!” demand. But on occasion, I’ve had the chance to bake. Now that he likes to share these things with me, they must be diet-appropriate, and we’re currently avoiding dairy and wheat.

So although I could have gone all top 7-allergen free for this recipe, I didn’t bother because I was going for taste first. Also, I’m still experimenting and getting both dairy-free and gluten-free baking under my belt and trying to be more comfortable with straight substitutions from a regular recipe to either DF and GF recipes. Sometimes, especially with flour- and dairy-heavy recipes like scones, a straight substitution just doesn’t work.

I have missed scones, and I’ve cheated since I’ve got fully dairy-free, especially on our recent trip in England. And because I have no pictures of the scones my son and I quickly devoured, here’s a picture of scones from England.

Yes. I cheated. Cream tea for one, please!  Milk for my tea, personal-sized tea pot, jam and clotted cream for my scones. Perfection.  Now, I need to buy myself one of these personal-sized tea pots. Seriously.
Yes. I cheated. Cream tea for one, please!
Milk for my tea, personal-sized tea pot, jam and clotted cream for my scones. Perfection.
Now, I need to buy myself one of these personal-sized tea pots. Seriously.
Tips & Explanations:

This recipe is going to be a hodge-podge of explanations and substitution ideas, so a slight deviation from my normal fare. It’s harder to bake both dairy- and gluten-free simply because of the sheer number of ingredients needed. One type of gluten-free flour simply doesn’t cut it. I can’t use just plain rice flour, and you need some sort of binder, and each type of flour reacts slightly differently, and tastes slightly different as well.

Personally, I’ve found that rice flours are the best for a plain taste which is most easily adjusted for a recipe, and America’s Test Kitchen’s Gluten-Free Baking cookbook has offered up a flour blend* of rice flours, tapioca, and potato starches that has worked perfectly for my purposes. I make it ahead of time according to their recipe, omitting the dairy milk, and have had fantastic results every time I have used it. This time was really no exception, but I did choose to add a few other flours for texture and taste variety. Rice flour is great, but a bit of almond flour or coconut flour can add great taste and texture. Almond flour gives density as well as slight nuttiness and protein, and coconut flour adds a cakey texture and spring to the scones that can be hard to get.

Possible Allergens & Substitutions:

**1 Egg can be replaced by 1 T chia seeds + 3 T warm water. Water should be warm, not boiling. Add the chia seeds to the water and stir, then set aside until they are hydrated. They will gel up and become thick like the consistency of egg whites. Then substitute in recipe as instructed for the egg.

**1 Egg can also be replaced by ground flax seed. 1 T ground flax seed + 3 T warm water. Combine and allow to hydrate for a few minutes. It will not gel like the chia seeds. Flax seed meal is best used in a more bread-like recipe, but if it’s all you have, it’ll work. Substitute in recipe as instructed for the egg.

†Soy milk powder. This could be easily omitted from the recipe–it’s added for additional flavor and aesthetics. If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, simply replace 1:1 with non-fat dairy milk powder.

‡Coconut milk creamer can be replaced by any non-dairy or dairy milk creamer. Since the coconut milk creamer is the consistency of half & half, if substituting diary milk, I would suggest a lightly sweetened creamer or half & half. If using non-dairy milk, any soy or almond milk creamer would work.

‡Coconut oil spread can be replaced with butter or a vegan/non-dairy butter, if desired.

Ingredients:

4 oz (about 3/4 C + 2 T) ATK Flour blend*
2 oz (about 1/4 C + 3 T) Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
2 T coconut flour
2 T soy milk powder†
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 C sugar
3 T Earth Balance Coconut Oil Spread‡
1 egg, lightly beaten**
1 T vanilla bean paste
2 T So Delicious French Vanilla coconut milk creamer‡
1/3 C dried cranberries

*America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) Flour blend:

24 oz Bob’s Red Mill white rice flour
7-1/2 oz Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour
7 oz Bob’s Red Mill potato starch
3 oz Bob’s Red Mill tapioca starch

ATK also calls for the addition of non-fat dairy milk powder in their flour blend, but I have omitted that for dietary reasons, and it has worked in all of my recipes quite well.

Instructions:

1. Weigh and measure out ingredients.

2. Combine dry ingredients, whisking together and using a fork to break up any clumps if necessary.

3. Work in the cool coconut oil spread with a pastry blender or your method of choice (fork, knives, fingers). Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the egg (or egg substitute**) with the vanilla bean paste and coconut milk creamer‡ (or other milk creamer). Whisk to combine.

5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough should be a little sticky, but not stick to your fingers. If it does, add a pinch of flour and mix in. Repeat until the dough is just sticky, preferably on the dry side.

6. Add the dried cranberries to the wet dough and work in with a wooden spoon.

7. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

8. After the 15 minutes are complete, preheat the oven to 450F, then remove the dough and shape it into scones.

9. Return the shaped scones to the refrigerator until the oven is preheated. Then sprinkle the scones with granulated sugar and transfer directly to the oven.

10. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bottoms and tops are lightly browned. Immediately remove to a cooling rack.

11. Consume, warm or cool.

Results:

These are a cakey scone with plenty of sweetness to satisfy a sweet tooth. Would be great with coffee or tea, plain or with jam or butter. I overcooked mine at 15 minutes, so they were best warm while still quite soft on the outside. After they cooled, the edges hardened a little, but no so much that they weren’t still soft on the inside.

I’d recommend trying to achieve a light browning and get that balance between baked and parbaked.

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