By Nancy Haggerty
I used to think that scones were these fancy treats one would only eat at elegant tea parties. Come to find out they are basically sweet biscuits with some kind of fruit mixed in! And they really are quite easy to make. I also discovered that you don’t need to chill the vegetable shortening like you would with butter so it’s one less step than traditional scone making. No electric mixer is needed either. It’s just good old fashioned baking by hand.
1/3 cup (62g) vegetable shortening, room temp. (I use Spectrum brand palm shortening)
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
½ cup (80g) white rice flour
½ cup (60g) tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons (24g) potato starch (you can also use an alternative flour like quinoa)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup (65g) cane sugar (use organic for vegan)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup (110g) fresh blueberries
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon (100g) coconut milk (I use Native Forest brand)
1/8 cup turbinado sugar for topping (use organic for vegan)
1/8 cup white rice flour for handling dough and dusting
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line one standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper and dust lightly with a small amount of the 1/8 cup white rice flour.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the lemon zest, white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking powder, cane sugar, salt and xanthan gum.
Using a fork or knife “cut” the shortening into the flour mix to create a crumb mixture. If using a fork and your shortening is soft, hold the fork sideways and cut through the mix like a knife as opposed to mashing. Gently mix in the blueberries, then add the coconut milk and mix together until you have thick lumpy dough. There should be just enough moisture so the dough sticks together but not too much moisture, otherwise your scones will turn into muffin tops!
Lightly coat hands with white rice flour and divide dough into 8 parts. I do this by measuring the entire amount of dough on a scale and then divide by 8. Then use the scale to measure out each one and gently shape into small balls. You could also form the dough into a round disk and cut into 8 wedges, but I’ve found when doing this the dough gets too compact and results in dense scones. Or you can always eyeball it too.
Pour turbinado sugar on a small plate. Push the tops of each scone into the sugar then place onto the cookie sheet, sugar side up.
Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 15-17 minutes, until bottoms are slightly brown.
Remove from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Let cool for about 20-30 minutes.
A word on substitutions: Many gluten free flours can be substituted for others, such as quinoa, sorghum and millet. However, each flour has its own weight, texture, and viscosity. Therefore, it may alter the end result. Always use a combination of flours for best results. If substituting coconut milk with another dairy alternative start with half the recommended amount, as other dairy alternatives are thinner than coconut milk.
Nancy Haggerty is a food blogger at www.aglutenfreedairyfreelife.com and has been perfecting the art of gluten and dairy free since 2007. She lives in Westchester, NY with her son, Kenyon and husband, Ben.