Blueberry Rhubarb Sourdough Scones

Scones, tender, flakey, full of yumminess… something I used to make years ago. I had made some several years ago but they were sort of heavy. So, I assumed all gf scones were generally pretty sad until a few months ago when I attempted them with leftover sourdough starter, generally called discard. I had created the starter the week before using brown rice flour and was looking for a way to use up the excess sourdough starter. I couldn’t find a recipe for blueberry sourdough gf scones, so I took a gluten-based recipe and reconfigured it to make with a one for one blend: specifically, Bob’s Redmill 1-1 Blend. I used a half cup of thick starter.

Last week I made the recipe again but added finely chopped rhubarb stalks (never the leaves; poisonous) and made them somewhat smaller and a different shape. Made with real dairy like actual butter and whole milk.  I ate the first one when it was still warm. It was heaven in a scone. Crisp outside, tender inside. Bursts of sweet blueberries and tangy rhubarb gave the perfect taste experience. It was just as good as the blueberry ones from this spring, maybe even better. I have never eaten such tender gluten free baked items as these sourdough scones. The crumb was moist and the texture perfect and they are red, white and blue, perfect for the holiday on Monday! A great breakfast or company treat that no one will believe are gluten free.

I cut them in more of a square shape, so I got 12 squarish scones, a bit smaller than the 8 wedges that are commonly done but I wanted smaller as those big wedges are just a bit too much for my afternoon snack! It is hard to make skinny long wedges plus I didn’t think they would freeze well; break up. These rectangular ones are quite sturdy considering how delicate the crumb is.

I don’t know what you can sub in for the sourdough starter. Perhaps some plain Greek yogurt? Maybe you should just make starter so you can bake these scones.  You could use vegan butter, but it will be better with the real deal!

I didn’t take any pictures except of the done cooling scones; wasn’t thinking about this blog, I guess. Next time I make them I will take a few.

I don’t know what flavor I will make next, but I do know there will be many next times. Frozen blueberries worked so well; keeping the dough chilly as I mixed it with a wooden spoon and then kneading it with my bare hands. So, other frozen fruits are in my freezer…. Trust me, it is easy to make and utterly decadent despite no icing beyond a couple teaspoons of sugar sprinkled on top. I may make it with some with cut up frozen strawberries next week!

Angie’s Rhubarb and Blueberry Sourdough Scones (GF of course)

Ingredients:

200 grams 1-1 Gluten free flour blend; I used Bob’s Redmill but King Arthur 1-1 blend works well too

50 grams almond flour

100 grams granulated sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

7.5 Tbsp of cold butter

1 cup of finely chopped rhubarb; 1/3 inch size is good

1 half cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

½ cup sourdough starter (Use the discard if you are creating discard)

1 large egg

1/3 c cold whole milk

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut in cold butter with a butter cutter or 2 knives. Until it is tiny pebbles of dough and butter.

Add the egg, starter and ¼ c of the milk. Mix to break up egg and start the blending process. Add in the chopped rhubarb and the frozen blueberries (or fresh) and continue stirring. As it gets to be a thick dough dump it out on your breadboard with all the dry bits and hand knead it to coalesce it into a thick dough. Form it into a large square about 9 inches across. Cut into 12 squares; cut in three strips; then across to make 12 squares or rectangles depending on how square your original rolled out dough was. Spread them out on a cookie sheet that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. of granulated sugar or chunky sugar if you have some. Put the sheet in a cold place to chill while you heat the oven. Heat to 355 degrees.

Put the sheet in to bake. If you have a convection cycle they will be done in about 20 minutes; the outside needs to be light brown, bottom browned and they look done. I tried 18 min but that wasn’t enough. If you don’t have convection they will likely take a few more minutes.  Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and move to a rack. They cooled rapidly and I couldn’t resist eating one while it was warm. So tasty and I loved how patriotic my scones look!

Enjoy! I think they will freeze nicely; vacuum sealing would be a good way to go about it if you are freezing for more than a week.

Russian Teacakes – A Christmas Classic

These miniature snowball cookies were the foundation of the Christmas cookie baking season when I was a kid.  They were always made every year, sometimes a second batch had to be baked as we had eaten them all before the big day!  You can use pecans but I rarely do; walnuts are cheaper and I sort of prefer their flavor for this cookie.  Some people call them Mexican Wedding Cookies but we generally called them Russian Teacakes… For me it is not Christmas without these cookies so I was extremely pleased to find a great gf recipe. My sisters think they are better tasting than the old regular recipe!

They are easy to make with not too many ingredients.  Be careful lifting them off the pan as they are delicate until fully cooled. The texture and subtle flavor of this GF version is actually superior to the wheat flour recipe of my childhood. When you bite into one it shatters into a delicious mouthful of sweet cookie. They are delightful with a cup of tea or coffee.  My family clamors for a few to take home!

If you like them really sweet sprinkle on extra powdered sugar, less of it makes them perfect for those who are not used to too much sweetness. No one will ever know they are GF and you will get complements on their flavor and texture.  This recipe is from Annalise Roberts’ fabulous Gluten-Free Baking Classics with some minor changes by me. Enjoy: they are rather addictive cookies!

xmas cookies 006

Russian Teacakes

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

6 tbsp. powdered (confectioners) sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups brown rice mix (recipe below)

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped fine

Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Directions: beat butter and powdered sugar in large bowl of stand mixer until light and creamy.  Add vanilla, beat in.  Add flour and gum, mix in until well blended, stir in walnuts until distributed.  Chill dough for an hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Form dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar if you like.  Place on cookie sheet lightly sprayed with Pam (not the baker’s version that has flour).  Place about 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake 13 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on top and bottom.  Cool on pan for 5 min and then sprinkle with lots of powdered sugar before placing on wire rack to cool. I like to sift it onto the cookies so the coating is even.  You could put a sheet of wax paper under the wire rack to catch the excess sugar.  Store well wrapped: in airtight container, in fridge for a week or freezer for up to 30 days.  You could store unbaked dough in fridge for a few days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix  (same as King Arthur gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch *not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Note: First posted December 2014 on my blog.  Minor revisions have been made since then.

Holiday Baking: GF Safety for You Non-Celiacs

This post is a brush up for folks who have gf relatives coming by over the holidays. Or if you have someone new in your social circle and you want to know how to cook a gf meal for them.  Let’s start with the basics. Did you know that once a person with celiac disease stops eating wheat it becomes even worse when they do accidentally consume a food containing gluten?  After I quit wheat I thought that I could cheat once in a while and not really suffer any consequences.  Not so. It is like your body becomes incredibly sensitive to all gluten substances and even a tiny bit is too much. So your caution is so important for the health of your guest.

A few examples of how to get glutened if you are a celiac: if I splash beer on my hands while serving it at a friend’s house it is so easy to forget and touch your face/lips. Glutened! And I hate to be in anyone’s kitchen as they bake with regular flour; super easy to get sick from that exposure.  There are multiple ways to be contaminated by homemade food that should be safe: salad dressing may not be gluten free due to trace amounts of flour in it. If the cook sprinkles seasoned salt or spice mixes on my rice or potatoes, it is likely uneatable for a celiac.  The reason is that manufacturers often put all purpose flour in seasoning mixes to facilitate flow and to create a smooth mixture of spices.  This is why many things that appear safe are not; “seasoning mixes” are the culprit that makes rice pilafs and many other boxed mixes often uneatable by celiacs. 

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Christmas is in a few days.  Beware, many turkeys have brine that contains some gluten; I got sick that way  my second gf holiday season. Butterball turkeys fresh or frozen are gluten free.  Plus, a turkey stuffed with regular bread stuffing is unsafe for someone with celiac to eat even if they don’t touch the stuffing.  Really. You need to buy or make a gluten free stuffing; either based in rice, gf cornbread or just buy a bag of gluten free bread to make your stuffing. Aldi’s has gluten free stuffing for both chickens and turkeys. And ham; often it has been brined in a solution that has some wheat in it; read the label carefully!

Even GF pasta can be contaminated if it is drained in a colander that is used for wheat pasta.  The gluten in pasta is extra sticky and it is nearly impossible to get all of it off a colander.  So, many times pasta that should be safe gets contaminated when the cook drains it in a colander that has tiny particles of wheat gluten sticking around the strainer holes. Restaurants that advertise GF menus need to have dedicated equipment like strainers, colanders, pots and utensils. I often ask about the pasta pot and colander when I attempt to safely eat pasta at a restaurant. So cooking pasta for your gf guest can be quite problematic.

A few people seem to feel celiacs are exaggerating or being over cautious.  When in reality all that caution is necessary to eat safely and avoid gluten.  It only takes a tiny amount of gluten to contaminate food or drink.

So if you are cooking for someone with gluten intolerance, be sure to take extra caution and your meal will be a success for everyone enjoying it! When shopping for the meal  ingredients you have to read the label even if it says gf, regardless just to be sure as occasionally food is labeled GF and the ingredients say wheat in the list. Do read the labels, it is best to cook from scratch, and remember that all wheat varieties including spelt are unsafe as are all purpose flour, barley and rye flour/berries. Don’t use your old wooden cutting board or wooden spoons with ruts and gashes that may harbor gluten and any pans you use must be super clean. In fact, if you bake a cake I urge you to use either new pans or buy throwaway ones as tiny bits of the last cake are likely clinging to that lovely pan of yours. Gravy can made using white rice flour, cornstarch, brown rice flour or even sweet rice flour. If you add broth to the turkey or ham pan be sure it says gf on the package. You can get gf stuffing in a box at Aldi’s. there are redi-made gf crusts and gf graham cracker crumb crusts available to make lovely desserts. Or box/packaged crust mixes you can use for your gf pie. Even a teaspoon of regular flour is way too much; get the gf flour out. The tiniest amount is enough to make your celiac friend feel so ill their meal enjoyment will be spoiled. 

If you want an easy stuffing; try this one!
Bob’s Red Mill makes many gf flours of high quality that you can use for gravies.
A yummy gf crust to make your special dessert with.

And if you eat out in a restaurant over the holidays don’t roll your eyes when the person at  your or the next table starts to ask pointed questions on ingredients and method of preparation with respect to gluten.  They are just trying to eat a safe meal out.  Sometimes this experience is kinda a roll of the dice for us celiacs so be patient and polite if you come into contact with this situation when you are dining out.

In summary; now you can see how important it is to have products that are labeled gluten free and why your friend with celiac has a zillion questions when you invite them for a holiday get together! Be understanding and extra careful. They just want to enjoy a meal with you without feeling terribly sick afterwards.

Rhubarb Cobbler – Spring treat

My spring mission: to convince you rhubarb haters to try one of these recipes.  This one is delicate in flavor with a fluffy yet satisfying cobbler topping and no sour ickiness as some say rhubarb can be.  It takes a bit less fruit than a pie and goes together in just a few minutes.  And it is gluten free for all of you who must avoid gluten which means wheat, rye or barley flours are a no-no in baking.

This recipe is the same basic one I posted about for peach cobbler in the past; it is modified from a muffin dry mix in Bette Hagman’s book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet and uses a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients.  One cup will make an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I keep the rest of my dry mix in the freezer and a pan of cobbler can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes plus baking time.  What a time saver this mix is! I make all sorts of cobblers with it.  i made an apple blackberry one last Saturday using some frozen blackberries; very tasty it was!

I always get the fruit part cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven.

 

rhubarb cobbler

Angie’s Rhubarb Cobbler

Dry Cobbler Mix – use one cup for this recipe and freeze the rest

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch (not potato flour!)

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

 

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced rhubarb

½ tsp. almond extract

½-2/3 cup sugar –add more or less depending on how sweet you want it

2 tbsp. GF flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Mix the fruit and almond extract in a sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top for 5-10 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan, top with big blobs of the cobbler topping.

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil (both work fine)

1/3 cup milk/buttermilk (I skimp a tbsp off to keep it from being runny)

½ tsp. vanilla or 1/4 tsp almond extract

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl.   Mix briefly: do not over-mix for best texture.  Use a big spoon to plop it right away on the hot fruit.  Bake immediately as baking soda and powder can’t stand around waiting or they lose their umph!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  The top should be light brown and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes.

Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth right out of the oven!  Some people love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This tender rhubarb cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Reposted with minor changes from June 2015.