Adventure into Gluten-Free Baking {Gluten/Dairy/Egg Free Cinnamon Spiced Scones}

Although I've been baking since I was a child, I'm new to gluten-free baking.

Over the past several years, I've been substituting white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour for white flour, used flax seeds in place of oil in recipes, and made a few recipes from Elana's Almond Flour Cookbook. However, until recently, I had never baked gluten-free out of necessity. Now that I have a son with a gluten allergy, I have had to get up to speed quickly on gluten-free cooking and baking. Gluten-free cooking has been relatively easy compared to gluten-free baking for me, probably because I cook a lot more than I bake. Baking is also more precise, and since gluten-free baking requires using different types of flours and starches to get the right textures, this has been even more confusing to me.

To make things a bit more complicated, my son is also allergic to dairy and eggs, and is supposed to be on a yeast-free, minimal sugar diet. Although there are many gluten-free mixes and gluten-free baked products available now at Whole Foods and many supermarkets, most have yeast, eggs, dairy and more sugar than I'd like, or just don't taste that good. Also, I've noticed a lot of the baked goods are made with white rice flour and starches, not whole grain flours. Since my son's allergies are new, he knows what a good muffin or piece of bread tastes like, so it's been that much more challenging to come up with gluten-free baked goods that satisfy him and are more nutritious than store-bought baked goods. 

I've stocked my pantry with lots of different gluten-free flours and starches, including almond flour, coconut flour, Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Mix, sorghum flour, garbanzo and fava bean flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. I'm not sure how I feel about the starches, but I think they're needed to lighten up the heavier sorghum and garbanzo/fava bean flours. 

So far, I've had fairly good success with most of these gluten-free flours; the only one I'm still finding a bit challenging is coconut flour. Coconut flour is very dense and absorbs a lot of liquid, and I've only found a few recipes that have worked well. Some of the muffins I made with coconut flour turned out with a "wet" texture. If you have any favorite gluten-free, yeast-free recipes for muffins, scones or quick-breads, I would love hear from you.

My son's favorite gluten-free baked goods so far have included:

  • Gluten-Free Goddess' Pumpkin Scones
  • Elana's Pantry's Gluten-Free Almond Scones (usually, I leave out the chocolate chips to keep the sugar level low, but for Valentine's Day, I added some dairy-free chocolate chips)
  • The Healthy Cooking Coach's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins
  • Spunky Coconut's Gluten-Free Mini Blueberry Muffins (these were delicious, unfortunately, I deleted the picture of these by accident!)
  • Corn Muffins from Wheat Free, Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults
  • Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free/Egg-Free Cinnamon Spiced Scones I came up with based on a Cream Scone recipe I found in my Fannie Farmer Cookbook. These have become one of my son's favorites.

In all of these recipes, I have substituted either a mixture of water and ground chia seeds or ground flax seeds for the eggs, and reduced the amount of sugar either by eliminating ingredients (e.g., chocolate chips, dried fruit) or reducing the amount of sweetener used. My sweeteners of choice have included gluten-free brown rice syrup, raw honey, agave nectar, or coconut sugar (a new find thanks to Spunky Coconut). 

Whenever oil is called for, I've been using virgin coconut oil for its health benefits. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat, the lauric acid it contains helps prevent high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats in coconut oil also have anti microbial properties that help deal with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. that cause indigestion. However, I am still wary about using too much saturated fat; since the muffins and scones I've been making are just an occasional treat, I try not to worry about it too much.

I usually make a few batches of muffins and scones and freeze them. I just take one out the night before I plan on giving my son a special treat. That way, they stay "fresh" tasting and don't dry out.

Gluten/Dairy/Egg-Free Cinnamon Spiced Scones

I ran out of Bob's All Purpose GF Baking Flour so I made Lexie's version which worked great. My son enjoys scones slightlywarmed with sunflower butter spread on top like frosting. For a savory scone, leave out the cinnamon and vanilla. Savory scones, shaped into rounds, are nice for sandwiches.

2 teaspoons chia seeds 

6 tablespoons water

1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1 cup gluten-free baking flour mix (I usually use Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 cup tapioca flour plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

1/3 cup almond milk plus 1 tablespoon for brushing tops of scones

ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder until fine in texture. Mix chia seeds with water in a small bowl and mix well. Let sit 20 minutes. Mixture will become gelatinous.

In a food processor, combine almond flour, gluten free baking flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, and salt. Process until thoroughly combined. Add coconut oil and process until ingredients are evenly blended. Add chia seed mixture, agave nectar, vanilla extract and almond milk. Process until combined and dough forms. Dough may be a little sticky.

Sprinkle some tapioca flour on a large cutting board or pastry sheet. Scoop dough onto floured board and sprinkle more flour on top. If dough is soft, gently knead in a little more flour untildough is more manageable, but still soft. Form into a circle, about 3/4" thick. Cut into 6 pie shaped wedges.

Transfer scone wedges onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with almond milk. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon.

Bake for 15 minutes or until scones are lightly browned. 

Makes 6 scones.

Jeanette from Jeanette's Healthy Living (please visit my blog for pictures)



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