Who doesn’t love a good cheese scone? I adore them, but they need to be light, with a soft and airy crumb and very cheesy to tick all my boxes.
Since going gluten free, I have experimented with a whole bunch of scone recipes, both home-developed and using commercial mixes….. some have been better than others for sure.
Way back in 2013, I created my first decent cheese scone and was ecstatic. Believe me….. when you have not been able to eat them for a while, you miss them terribly, so it was a bit of a priority to achieve an alternative gluten free version to enjoy. My recipe development and understanding of gluten free baking has come a long way since then however, and it seemed high time that I re-worked things a little to see if I could improve on my previous achievement.
More recently, I developed a buttermilk version for my Lemon & Blueberry Buttermilk scones and having realised the benefits of using buttermilk, decided that it was worth having a go with a savoury cheese recipe. Buttermilk seems to lighten the mix slightly, enriches and moistens the dough and makes for a soft, airy scone which has a far longer shelf-life. When you are gluten free, bakes which have a long shelf-life are rare in commercial products (I seem to be forever throwing away wraps and bread-products that have gone green way ahead of their sell-by date, particularly in the summer heat, or that have gone dry and hard), so it is really important to me that I develop recipes that ‘last’.
In this scone, I have also re-worked and balanced my flour mix towards a healthier, more nutritional blend….. A minimal ratio of rice to other flours and good use of ground almonds, oats, sorghum and buckwheat for their higher nutritional qualities and texture. Ground almonds also help to improve the moisture content and structure of the scones so that they remain fresher for longer and don’t become dry and crumbly.
I also used extra mature cheddar cheese in the mix….. I figure if you are going to make a cheese scone, then it should be properly cheesy! You can of course use a less-strong version (or less cheese) if you prefer a milder flavour.
I made these scones for a 21st birthday party we recently attended….. When I got there I felt quite apologetic, because the bulk of the food was barbecue-related, and my large box of mini cheese scones seemed a little out of place on the table of burgers, sausages and salads. I needn’t have worried…… they went down a storm! Lots of people told me how good they were and they seemed really surprised when I told them they were gluten free……
I always think that if gluten-eaters comment on how good the bakes are or don’t recognise the absence of gluten, then I have done a really good job….. On the other hand, I set my bar very high when I develop a recipe and won’t settle for less than the best I had when eating gluten, so maybe the surprise should remain with the unsuspecting eater!
I think with these scones I have definitely out-done my earlier version and will be enjoying this ‘new and improved’ bake from now on…. very frequently! They are perfect ‘neat’ for parties and snacks (in bite-size form) and can be buttered or loaded with fillings for a healthy, sustaining lunch.
I am sharing my cheese scones with the following linkies :
Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma
Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg
Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes
Best Buttermilk Cheese Scones (makes approx 40 mini scones or 18 to 20 larger scones)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
80g unsalted butter – cold and cubed
1 large egg – beaten
1 pot (284 ml) buttermilk
120g extra mature cheddar cheese (grated) + extra for sprinkling on top
beaten egg or milk to glaze
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
- Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda until all lumps are broken down and well-blended (I weigh all into an airtight container, seal the lid and then shake vigorously).
- Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir through to ‘clump’ stage before adding the cheese.
- Using a palette or table knife, blend the ingredients, pulling them together with the blade of the knife until the mixture comes together as a sticky, even dough.
- Using floured hands, bring the dough into a ball and press lightly together (do not overwork).
- Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface (I use straight GF flour blend or a mix of corn, sorghum and white rice flours).
- Press the dough down to form a flattened surface and sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.
- Roll the dough out using a rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm (for mini scones) or 3 to 4 cm for larger scones.
- Using a round pastry cutter (approx 4 to 5 cm in diameter for mini scones or larger for bigger ones), cut the dough into rounds and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Bring any remaining dough together and repeat the rolling and cutting process until all the dough has been used.
- Using a pastry brush, glaze the scone tops with milk or beaten egg and add a sprinkle of cheese.
- Allow the uncooked scones to rest for 15 minutes, before baking for 10 to 15 minutes until well-risen and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated