During my recent detox diet (no dairy, gluten, refined sugar), not only did I miss my yeast breads, I also missed my scones. So I scoured my local bookstore’s gluten-free baking section and found a cookbook called GEMS of Gluten-Free Baking by Wendy Turnbull. GEMS takes a whole-grain approach to gluten-free baking with excellent results in texture and taste for gluten-free baked goods.
The GEMS flour formula is a combination of four whole grain gluten-free flours. Two flours, brown rice flour and sweet white sorghum flour, form the base of the GEMS formula. The next two flours you add to complete the formula are up to you, depending on what flavors you like. Among the choices are buckwheat, amaranth, teff or gluten-free oat, as well as millet, quinoa, soy, chickpea, or white/red/black bean flour. The cookbook gives a formula for the mix, a quick reference chart for the flours, and a list of substitutions for typical ingredients like milk, eggs and butter. The GEMS flour mix exchanges 1 to 1 with regular wheat flour in recipes. Whether you choose to bake gluten-free for variety or out of necessity because you can’t digest gluten, the book is a good source of basic information for converting your existing recipes to gluten-free versions. It also has over 100 gluten-free recipes you can try as well.
So, about those scones…once again I chose a recipe from Annie Somerville’s Fields of Greens cookbook to try with my custom GEMS flour mix (brown rice, sweet white sorghum, buckwheat and millet flours, pictured above). I substituted medjool dates for the golden raisins, almond milk for the buttermilk, a neutral-flavored oil for the butter, and used honey instead of refined sugar. The result was a well-textured, sweet-tasting whole-grain scone. The scones rose slightly less than the wheat flour version, but this is a slight trade-off you’ll find with gluten-free baking. The GEMS formula is a treasure. I satisfied my breakfast scone craving, and ended my search for a whole-grain, great tasting gluten-free alternative.
Orange, Pecan & Date Gluten-Free Scones
(adapted from the cookbook Fields of Greens)
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
3 cups GEMS flour mix (brown rice, sweet white sorghum, buckwheat, millet-see book for mix ratios)
1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum powder (available in most health food stores and some regular grocery stores)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
2/3 cup almond milk
1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra almond milk for brushing the scones
2 large baking sheets (17-1/2″ x 13″) stacked together
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix chopped dates with orange juice in a small bowl, separating the dates in the juice; let soak. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix oil and honey in a separate bowl, add orange zest to almond milk, then add to oil/honey mix. Whisk to blend well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir just until ingredients come together in a ball.
Lightly flour surface with a little GEMS flour, turn dough out of the bowl, and gently form into an 8-inch round. Brush round with almond milk, and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Cut round into 8 wedges, and brush cut sides with almond milk. Place wedges about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined doubled baking sheet to prevent bottoms of scones from burning. Bake until scones are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
makes 8 scones