Welcome to the May installment of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally! This month’s ratio rally challenge is scones.
Thanks to Lauren at Celiac Teen for hosting! Don’t forget to hop on over to Lauren’s blog for the list of wonderful scone recipes that were created for to-day.
As always, if you’re interested in joining the GFRR, then drop me a line.
My recipe below is for simple scones. I should note that I like simple pleasures. Don’t get me wrong—I love me a spicy Indian or Thai curry, and I add cumin to just about everything, but sometimes simple is best.
That’s why this recipe is just for simple scones, with simple clotted cream. I also included a quick strawberry jam recipe below, as that’s what’s traditionally served at cream tea back in Merry Olde England.
I thought about using fresh or dried blueberries, as I really really like those, but it’s not quite blueberry season here. (It’s not quite strawberry season, either, but I have much higher standards for blueberries, having grown up with blueberry bushes in my front yard.)
Everything here is vegan, gluten-free, and soy free. Cynics might ask, ‘Then what the hell’s in it?’ but those cynics don’t get to try any of my scones. So there!
So we have (in order of longest to shortest time to finish)
Everything here is also measured by weight, as opposed to by volume. This lets you substitute easier! Baking by weight will transform your baked goods and bring them to the next level, especially if coupled with playing around with gluten-free flours.
As an added bonus, they let you ditch the measuring cups and prep bowls, so your friends have fewer dishes to wash after you feed them!
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, then may I recommend buying one from amazon.com? (I use this scale.)
A quick note on scones:
UK scones and US biscuits are pretty much one in the same—like Americans, US biscuits are the bastard cousins of UK scones, from which they diverged after heading across the pond.
UK biscuits, on the other hand, are similar to US cookies. US scones are more like shaped cake than anything else—much, much sweeter and fattier than simple UK scones.
As such, I’m in love with UK scones. I adapted the ratios from my dill-cumin Buttermilk Biscuits and played around a bit to find the right ratio for scones.
The strawberry jam was easy enough, and the clotted cream took only a little bit of imagination. I didn’t want to do the Earth Balance-Tofutti-powdered sugar/agave nectar route, so this is slightly more complicated, but worth it, I think!
Veganising most foods is actually pretty easy, provided that you have the imagination and the creative ability to substitute ingredients. Certain things, however (I’m looking at you, fried/over easy/Benedictine/etc. eggs) area little trickier, and clotted cream is one of them.
Clotted cream is made by heating cream at a low temperature for a while until it thickens. Sorted.
Unfortunately, I felt that this wouldn’t work so well with soy creamer…
The best description that I found for clotted cream was ‘somewhere between whipped cream and butter,’ so I decided to add slightly more butter to a vegan whipped cream recipe.
I made Rad Whip (‘It’s better than cool, it’s rad!’) from the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK). I split the Rad Whip recipe in half and tested the recipe version versus my clotted cream version, just to make sure that it worked, and sure enough! Vegan clotted cream!
Serves: makes 4 c (read: invite your friends)
Just after I watched ‘in amazement as it transform[ed],’ in a separate bowl, I creamed 58 g (1/2 stick; use 115 g/a whole stick if you’re making the full recipe) of softened Earth Balance in order to add some buttery texture. I poured half the rad whip into this bowl and combined.
Continue as usual.
That’s it! Rad! …rather, Brill!
…actually, that’s not it. Did I mention that I suck at following recipes? I think that it’s because 1. I don’t like being told what to do and 2. if I am being told what to do, but am not convinced of the logic behind the command, then I refuse to follow it, and do what I think is best. See also: speed limits.
Here are the changes that I made to the recipe, in order:
- My coconut milk was less milk and more cream. Whatever.
- I don’t have agar agar powder, but I do have agar flakes. I ground 3/4 t to a powder in my spice grinder.
- I didn’t add any sugar, because I wanted a creamier taste, and I’d be serving it with strawberry jam anyways. And I don’t like sweet things.
- I didn’t have any coconut oil, but I figured that since my coconut milk was basically coconut cream, everything would even out.
- I added ~2 t of light agave nectar (so ~4 t total, or ~1 T + 1 t) to each half, since it needed a little sweetness.
- O, I also didn’t have a metal mixing bowl.
- Or a hand mixer. Balloon whisk to the rescue! If I had any kitchen tool tattooed on me, then it’d definitely be a whisk…
- Finally, I didn’t even follow my own recipe, and my butter wasn’t totally softened. This resulted in a grainier end result—definitely make sure that your butter is softened and creamed completely!
Anyways, it appears that I would have taken up less space if I had just rewritten the recipe with all of the changes that I’ve made. Alas.
Bottom line: it worked! Whisking in butter to a vegan whipped cream recipe was totally perfect—Ryan even liked it, and he’s not shy to tell me when I’ve failed (because he doesn’t get to often…).
And I’ll drive 95 if there aren’t many other cars around, and those that are are keeping right except to pass and signalling when they do.
I like making jams and pickles and things in smaller quantities and eating them faster, which is why this recipe doesn’t call for pounds and pounds of strawberries. You could easily scale this recipe and give gifts to friends and family!
Serves: makes about a cup
In a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat, combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. You might want to break up the strawberries a bit, or slice them before putting them in.
Stir until sugar is dissolved, then turn the heat up to high and boil for 5 minutes (until mixture reaches 105ºC/220ºF).
Stir in the butter.
Transfer to sterile jars and cover. Keep in the fridge for several weeks, keep in the freezer for longer, or process in a water bath and keep for many months.
…but don’t forget to save some for your scones!
The ratio that I used for these scones was adopted from my dill-cumin Buttermilk Biscuits. After some math and SWAGing, I came up with a 9:5:2 ratio: 9 parts flour, 5 parts buttermilk, and 2 parts fat.
For vegan buttermilk, I use the teaspoon equivalent in apple cider vinegar of the cups of milk that I’m using in the recipe. For example, in my biscuits, there are 1 1/3 c milk, so I use 1 1/3 t ACV. A teaspoon is 1/48 a cup, so I rounded to 1/50 for conversion to grams, or 2 g ACV for each 100 g milk.
And then I doubled it, because that seemed sensible.
Does your head hurt yet?
For the milk wash to brush on the scones:
I got this idea from this scone recipe at Veganyumyum, and it sounded awesome. Again, I was a little dismayed that she had already done my awesome idea of vegan scones and clotted cream, but I should learn to expect that any recipe idea breakthroughs that I have are probably already published over at VYY.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/420ºF.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt. If you want to include any add-ins, then mix them in here and make sure that each piece is well floured.
Cut in the EB and ensure that the fat is equally distributed throughout the flours. You can use your fingertips or a food processor to rub/chop it in. ‘The mixture should resemble coarse sand,’ according to Everyone.
Stir in the sugar.
Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until everything is just wet a a dough is forming. Don’t over stir or your scones will be chewy instead of light and fluffy. It’s okay if there are some floury bits still in there.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flatten until evenly 1″ high, or to just below the first knuckle on your thumb if held nail-down against the counter. You may need to sprinkle a little flour over the dough to keep it workable, as it will be wet.
Using a biscuit cutter (or an overturned glass 2″ or so wide…), cut out individual scones. Fold the scraps back together and continue to cut out scones until there’s no more dough left.
…I did this for about three scones before switching to picking up and plopping down small handfuls of dough, as it was quite wet. Really, anything that results in scone-shaped items will do.
Place the scones on a baking sheet (my ceramic pizza pan that lives in the oven did well for me!) and brush with the soy milk mixture.
Bake for 18 minutes, until the tops are just becoming golden brown.
To serve warm, slice in half, spoon a dollop of clotted cream on each half and spread slightly, and spoon a bit of strawberry jam over the clotted cream.
(The above is my scone after something like two seconds. I destroyed it. I actually surprised myself with how much I liked it, and as I’m writing this, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to take a little kit to work so that I can have cream tea.)
Serve with your favourite tea (I like Earl Grey with a splash of almond milk and a dash of orange bitters) and enjoy with friends and lovers!
Garnishes: fresh fruit, the prettiest pinch of nutmeg, or orange or lemon zest
Goes well with: your favourite tea, other quaint afternoon vegan finger foods, or lace doilies and ladies’ white silk gloves