As you know from Kelley’s recent post she and EPC have had a very busy month or so thanks to Coco, the new adorable addition to their family. In the midst of her hectic month Kelley did make time to attend a Gluten-Free Baking Class, with me, at the City Arts Centre. It was her idea, because she loves baking, and I am the lucky Celiac friend who often benefits from her passion for new foods.
There were 11 of us in the class, all ladies, about a 50/50 split between “there for their own health or interest” and “there for their husband’s gluten intolerance.”
“Where are all the husbands?” Kelley wondered aloud.
After brief introductions and a short overview by our instructor, Jody Shenkarek (former co-owner of the fabulous Cafe Mosaics), we split up into groups of 2 or 3 and headed into the large kitchen to test our baking skills. Each group had chosen two of the recipes in the handout provided so that by the end of the evening we would be able to sample a bit of everything.
Kelley and I were joined by a lovely older lady named Jean and the three of us set to work mixing up a batch of Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix. We made a double batch to provide the basic ingredients for most of the groups. Rather than sifting we mixed the Basic Flour ingredients with a whisk which certainly did the trick.
Our group’s first recipe was for Basic Scones, which was very exciting! Both Kelley and I love scones!
Baking by committee in a crowded kitchen had its challenges but we managed to gather all the ingredients measure them properly and keep track. In the recipe it says to flour a surface and your hands when splitting the dough into two batches. Well, the GF flour mix doesn’t behave like regular wheat flour so Jody, our instructor, took over – simply plopping the halved dough right onto the parchment and using slightly floured hands to shape it. It provided a good “teachable moment” for her.
Our scones turned out perfect and all three of us were quite pleased.
I have since made these scones at home adding an eighth of a cup (1/8 C) defrosted frozen blueberries to one half, and sprinkling chopped pistachios and mission figs on top of the second half. They turned out delicious! However the berries added a lot of moisture so the scones needed an extra
3 to 5 minutes to fully cook and brown nicely. Personally I think you should experiment with the options – I used to love Berry and White Chocolate, or Cheese and Spinach scones – from Good Earth Café in Calgary. The Basic Scone recipe is straightforward and easy to experiment with, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Once our scones were in line for the oven, we set to work on the Nut Crackers. I will continue with this recipe in Part 2 of Gluten-Free Baking Class!
Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix (makes 6 cups of basic mix)
4 Cups Superfine Brown Rice Flour
1 & 1/3 Cups Potato Starch (NOT potato flour)
2/3 Cup Tapioca flour (which is a.k.a. tapioca starch)
- Sift in bowl or put into an extra-large Ziplock bag and shake to mix – keep remainder refrigerated!
Caution: when measuring, pour into measuring cup rather than scooping it – Then level off the top with a knife.
This will avoid packing it too densely and mixing up the proportions.
Basic Scones (makes 1 dozen)
3/4 cup of plain yogurt (I used plain dessert tofu with no problems!)
3/4 cup milk (substitute rice or soy milk to make them dairy-free)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups Basic Gluten Free Flour mix (see above)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (NOT wax paper)
- In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon & milk – set aside
- In a large bowl whisk together all other (dry) ingredients.
- Once it is well mixed add the wet ingredients and the oil, using a wooden spoon until it is well combined but still clumpy.
- Divide the dough in half and plop onto cookie sheet – flour your hands and the top of the dough shape into two (6 inch diameter) discs (add optional ingredients to the top at this point if not added already)
- Cut each disc into 6 “pie” slices and then bake in the centre of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes – transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm.
Optional ingredients: berries – 1 cup, chocolate chips ¾ cup
Recipes adapted from The Allergen Free Bakers Handbook by Cybele Pascal.