Monday, December 17, 2007

Gluten Free (Nasty) Scones

My new boss has celiacs disease which in very basic terms means he is allergic to gluten -- which is in basically all flour products. Complicating his life is the fact that he is also allergic to corn, eggs and nuts. There has been a lot more publicity about celiacs disease in the last few years (the gluten-free girl website is a prime example), and more exposure for food allergies in general, which means it has become a bit easier for people suffering from these types of issues to find things to eat. Many companies -- especially on the organic side of the house -- are starting to market to the gluten free eaters of the world which is great since those with the horribly severe allergies can get sick just from simple exposure to certain food.

Which brings me back to my new boss and my need to feed all the people in my life various baked goods. Chris and I were at the organic market the other day and I found Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. A quick read through of the label didn't reveal any egg or corn products, so I went ahead and bought some to experiment with. The ingredients on the package are interesting: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and fava bean flour. I didn't even know you could make flour out of beans... live and learn.

I actually intended to make my first experiment with boss-safe food a variation on the cranberry-orange oat bars that I posted about last night -- they didn't have any eggs or corn in them in the first place, and I figured I could use half oat flour and half rice flour for the white flour in the recipe. However, I didn't have any more oranges on hand -- so that was out. Instead I had this nifty new baking flour mix from Bob's so now I just needed a recipe.

I settled on a cranberry orange scone recipe for a couple of reasons, I had cranberries and orange juice on hand (the zest was optional) and it made a very small batch -- four scones total. I figured I could use that as a base to experiment with and if it tasted bad I wouldn't be throwing that much out. Thank goodness it's a small batch... because they are going straight to the garbage. They looked okay coming out of the oven -- a little flat, but I had to use a different baking powder that didn't have any corn products in it (turns out most of them use a corn starch... who knew?) so I figured that was probably part of it.

They looked buttery and flaky, I will give them that. But Chris and I took a very small piece each and I actually spit mine into the sink almost immediately. Chris managed to get his down, but I'm not quite sure how he did it. I'm pretty sure I would give up all baked goods before subjecting myself to that nastiness...

I am posting the recipe I used -- but leaving it the way I found it on the bakingbites web site -- if you want to make them with regular flour, I'm sure they would be quite yummy... with the substitute gluten-free flour... not so much. I will try again with baked goods for my boss, it's a challenge now, but he will not get scones tomorrow... :(

Fresh Cranberry Orange Scones
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
5-6 tbsp orange juice (fresh, if possible)
1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but try not to have any pieces larger than an average pea.

Stir in cranberries. Add 5 tablespoons of orange juice (and zest, if using) and stir. If the mixture does not form a ball, add remaining tablespoon of juice. Divide dough in four pieces and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, if desired.

Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.
Makes 4.

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