I have been spending the last several weeks working on a few new recipes: gluten-free vegan scones and gluten-free pancakes. I have now produced a scone recipe that I can't wait to share.
This recipe is incredibly simple. I was resistant to the idea of vegan scones until I found a few recipes for cream scones, which don't take butter or egg. Therefore there is only one dairy product to substitute: the cream.
In a cream scone recipe, the fat in the cream is the substitute for the fat in the butter that has been omitted. Therefore I couldn't use a low-fat substitute like rice milk.
I have found that coconut cream is the best vegan substitute for regular cream, especially in cooking. I love coconut soup, coconut curry, coconut everything. It's the only non-dairy cream I've found that has somewhere close to the right fat content to substitute for cream. To make sure the coconut cream was really rich, I first scooped the dense part out from the top of the can into my liquid measure to make sure I got most of the good stuff in. Then I filled the measure to the appropriate line with the thinner liquid in the bottom of the can. There may be a bit of thin liquid at the bottom of the can that you can set aside in case you need it. Once separated, stir the cream until smooth. A 14-oz can of unsweetened coconut cream will yield enough thick, rich cream for one recipe.
For a dairy version, simply use real cream or see my famous scone recipe. If you are a wheat eater, you may certainly enjoy my scone recipes too. Just substitute your wheat flour 1:1 for the gluten-free flour listed here.
The trick with this recipe is to handle the dough as little as possible. In regular scones, the cold butter that has been cut into the flour melts as it cooks and leaves pockets of air. These air pockets are expanded by the baking powder and leave the dough light and flaky. Since this recipe doesn't call for butter, the lightness of the dough depends on you not compressing it by over-handling.
My best gluten-free tip is to use a flour mix that doesn't have xanthan gum, guar gum, or any gluten substitute. Besides being somewhat unnecessary in a quickbread recipe in general, they could render this delicate dough tough. Coconut seems to be a pretty good binder, so the use of xanthan gum can easily be overdone. If you try this recipe and find the scones too delicate, try using 1/8 tsp xanthan gun in your next batch.
Use a flour mix that you like the flavor of, and which substitutes well for wheat flour in other recipes. Coconut cream does not brown well, so make sure you use a flour mix that contains tapioca starch for color.
NEW! Don't want to mix everything yourself? I now have a Scone Mix available.
Lemon Coconut Cream Scones Recipe
Heat oven to 425 degrees farenheit.
2 C All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 C (unsweetened) coconut cream or coconut milk
zest of one lemon or orange
Combine all the dry ingredients. Add the citrus zest to the liquid. Mix the coconut cream into the dry ingredients until it barely holds together. (If the dough seems at all dry, or it isn't coming together quickly, add more coconut cream and quickly mix it in.) Flour your hands with white rice flour. Pour out the dough onto a floured surface, then press it together as gently as possible until it just comes together in a thick disk. Cut into eight equal pieces, carefully transfer them to a baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 8 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into them comes out clean.
Enjoy your gluten-free dairy-free scones! Feel free to top the scones with a citrus glaze, but I think these stand well on their own.
Need a new zester? I recommend this microplane. It gives you a really fine zest, and it's easy to hold.