Although I have made some amazing scones since going gluten free, I have been seeking the perfect plain gluten free scone recipe for a long time. In my search, I have frequently asked myself the question ‘what makes a great scone?’ When I ask the question, I recall my pre-gluten free days and some of the best Cream Teas in my history.
One of my favourite nostalgic Cream Tea memories dates back (way too many) years to when I was a mere slip of an adolescent and I took a holiday to Devon with my sister in the family ‘hand me down’ orange Mini. In those days, Minis were tiny and noisy, but so so much fun. I still have the number plate indelibly etched on my brain, so memorable was that Mini…… RUR 598M! Yep….. we’ve been through the number plate suffix and prefix year ‘letters’ and have completely revamped to numbers since then…… Old I may be, but I am proud to say that we owned a Mini in the 70’s…… It was bright, it was bold and it was fun.
But back to Cream Teas….. We took this Mini down the then empty motorways to Devon and there we stayed (with my brother’s ex-girlfriend) in the palm-lined town of Torquay. We did what any self-respecting young women do and sought out beaches to lie on….. and the best ice creams, fish and chips and cream teas we could find. We were of an age when eating vast quantities of sugar, carbs and fats made little dent on our weight, so we indulged to our limits…..
Down there in Badgers Holt, we found the best, softest, tallest, jamiest, clotted creamiest Cream Tea ever. The weather was scorching and we took our two huge scones (each!) and accompanying tea pots outside, where we sat on a grassy bank and scoffed until we were bursting……. compelled to lie on the grass for a good couple of hours, before we could subject our stuffed bodies to further movement…….. A memory was made!
What made these scones so good? They were perfect of texture…… Soft, but close of crumb and slightly dense…… Tall in rise, with little crinkles and cracks around the edges, but still slightly warm….. Mild in flavour, but with a hint of sweetness to complement the cream and jam which was generously delivered….. Rich, decadent, smooth, creamy, slightly clumpy-topped dollops of West-Country Clotted Cream spread in a thick layer across the top of each half-scone, begging to be crowned with a spoonful of joyous, dark red, gooey strawberry jam.
There you have it….. the perfect Cream Tea….. just needing to be recreated with a culinary update that is gluten free.
And here it is. The best gluten free scones….. No. The best scones I have ever eaten! Made with a rice free flour blend which is light and oh so soft to the touch, moistening buttermilk and a little ground almond, these gluten free scones are incredible….. And whereas gluten free scones will often be stale and hard within hours, these are still soft two to three days after they come out of the oven.
The jam is also home-made, with our wonderful local Kent strawberries….. At this time of year, I feel so lucky to live in the Garden of England. I often think jam is going to be a hassle to make, but it isn’t and is well worth a little effort for the fruity satisfaction it gives. Better still…. this recipe has a lower sugar content for less guilt and all the pleasure. I have shared my recipe below, although there really is no magic to making it!
As I don’t have any cows or a dairy, the Clotted Cream is my very favourite…. Rodda’s…. all the way from Cornwall!
So before the summer is out, why don’t you create your own Cream Tea memory with these delicious gluten free scones…… I promise you won’t regret it……
I am sharing the Gluten Free Alchemist Best Ever Gluten Free Scones with Simple (lower sugar) Home-Made Strawberry Jam with :
Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Cook Blog Share – this week with Easy Peasy Foodie
Simple & in Season with Feeding Boys
Also celebrating International Scone Week from 7th to 13th August with Lavender & Lime
Other gluten free scones on Gluten Free Alchemist :
Blueberry & Lemon Buttermilk Scones
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Scones with Nutella Mascarpone Cream and Roasted Caramelised Hazelnut Crumbs
Asparagus & Stilton Scones
Cheese Scones (no buttermilk)
Sun-dried Tomato, Cheese & Basil Scones
Best Buttermilk Cheese Scones
Buttermilk Scones (makes 10 to 12 large scones)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
90g unsalted butter – cold and cubed
30g caster sugar
1 large egg – beaten
1 pot (284 ml) buttermilk
a beaten egg mixed with a little milk for glazing
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
- Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda until well-blended (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Transfer to a large bowl.
- Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and stir through.
- Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg and buttermilk.
- Use a flat-bladed knife to mix the wet ingredients into the dry, until it clumps together and continue to mix, until it comes together as a very sticky dough. If it looks like the dough is too dry, then add a little milk.
- Lay a large piece of baking paper on the work surface and sprinkle liberally with gluten free flour/tapioca flour.
- Flour your hands well and gently bring the dough together. It should be quite wet.
- Tip the dough out onto the floured baking paper, sprinkle a little more flour on the top and lay a further piece of baking paper over.
- Gently roll out the dough between the paper to a depth of about 3 to 4 cm.
- Use a round/fluted cookie cutter (I used one 3 inches/7 cm) to cut rounds from the dough and carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheets.
- Bring any remaining dough gently together (trying not to over-work) and repeat the rolling and cutting process, until all the dough has been used and transferred to the baking sheets.
- Brush the top of each scone with egg-wash and bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until well-risen, firm and golden.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Eat warm or cold, with butter and/or jam and/or cream.
- Store the scones in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days if necessary.
Simple (lower-sugar) Strawberry Jam (makes 2 jars of jam)
- Sterilise a couple of jam jars whilst you make your jam : Wash the jars in warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Place the clean jars and lids (rubber seals removed if using Kilner jars – these should be washed in boiling water) on a baking tray and place in the oven. Turn the oven on and heat to 140 C/275 F/Gas 1. Leave at heated oven temperature for at least 20 minutes whilst you make your jam.
- Place all the ingredients into a large, heavy-based saucepan and gently heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Bring the mixture to the boil stirring frequently, breaking down the strawberries with the back of a spoon.
- Use a cooking thermometer (I use a Thermapen) and continue to boil, stirring frequently until the liquid reduces significantly and the temperature reaches jam set point (220 F/105 C).
- Remove from the heat and carefully pour into the sterilised jars straight away and top with the lids (be careful not to burn your fingers). As the jam cools, the tightly screwed lids will ‘suck in’ to create a sterile vacuum.
- Cool completely.
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