In her memoire “My Life In France”, Julia Child shares a little tidbit where she served something barely edible to a luncheon guest, then smiled as they ate it, never once apologizing for her botched experiment.
I think about that a lot, on days like today.
Not that this experiment was botched – in fact, I’m rather pleased with the results and will have no problem serving them with breakfast to my roommate and boyfriend tomorrow morning. Today was just example of how maybe sometimes I need to be a little more organized in my playpen and a little less… um… dusty.
I started out with a basic scone recipe that I wanted to adapt for gluten-freers, using maple syrup in instead of sugar. I keep a good variety of flours on hand, and for this wanted to blend something basic (rice) with something slightly sweet (amaranth) and something with a little weight to it (sorghum). I estimated a logical amount of starch (tapioca) and enough xantham gum to pull them together. Then I went to reach for my baking powder and baking soda and realized I left them downtown at my boyfriend’s apartment after making gluten-full scones for them last weekend. Along with my dry measuring cups. Sigh.
Off into the slush of NYC streets, to the supermarket and back. I mixed those in with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, then went to blend in the butter. NO BUTTER! I literally had a moment in the grocers where I went to reach for some and then assured myself that I had plenty at home.
What I did have was a container of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. I’ve only baked with Earth Balance once and got more to have on hand for future experiments. As they say, “no day like today”. My gluten-free scones became dairy free as well!
(Oh, I also went to put in a full teaspoon of vanilla, only to find I only had half a teaspoon left.)
But sometimes it does pay to be dusty. ‘Cause these scones came out ever-so-slightly sweet, light and crumbly, and surprisingly moist. I decided upon first nibbling to actually spread some maple syrup on a plate and serve it elegantly to myself that way – because of this I could control the amount of sweetness and give myself a tiny bit more. And as I don’t like my pastries too sweet, this is a safe option for those who like more sweetness. The next go around I will try to give them a greater maple flavor, but for now, my belly’s happy.
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup amaranth flour
- 1/2 cup tapoica starch
- 2 tsps xantham gum
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 5 Tbsp butter flavored Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- About 1/2 cup milk-alternative (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- sugar of choice for dusting
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare a pastry board with gluten-free flour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, starch, xantham gum, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
- Cut Earth Balance into small cubes and toss in, then use fingers to press the flour mixture into the “butter”, until thoroughly blended.
- In a small bowl, whisk one egg slightly.
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour egg into center.
- In a liquid measuring cup, measure 1/3 cup of maple syrup, then fill with milk-alternative until you’ve hit 3/4 cups of liquid total. Add this to the bowl.
- Using a fork, pull the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until almost completely pulled together.
- Turn the dough onto the pastry board and kneed 10 times.
- Cut dough in half and kneed each half five more times.
- Separate dough into 8 balls, press into desired shape and lay on cookie sheet.
- Whisk the remaining egg and brush on scones.
- Sprinkle with sugar (I used a tiny bit of bourbon vanilla sugar) and cinnamon
- Bake for 9 minutes or until scones are slightly browned. Serve on a lake of maple syrup.