Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Scones (GF)

No matter whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, I grew up with the tradition of having a special holiday breakfast.  My mom would make an egg casserole (which we called “egg bake” in the upper midwest) and cinnamon rolls, and there would also be fruit & juice. Mom would set the table with a festive tablecloth, the crystal juice glasses that otherwise lived in the china cabinet, sometimes the fine china, but always with holiday napkins. After my dad said the blessing, we would clink glasses, toast to whatever holiday it happened to be, and then, of course, eat!

With my insatiable sweet tooth, my personal favorite part was the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that Mom would bake in a round cake pan. As most siblings do, my sisters and I would all try to vie for the middle roll which usually had the most frosting. I still have a particular fondness, even to this day, for freshly baked Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.

As a somewhat newly married couple, my husband and I are still developing our own traditions. One of the the traditions I’m trying to pass into our “micro-family” is the holiday breakfast concept. Of course there are a few adaptations my husband and I like to make (coffee is a must and sometimes we mix a little bubbly with the juice), but I still dearly wish to include my beloved cinnamon rolls.  Once I started living mostly gluten free, though, suddenly the options changed.  There are very few gluten free options in our small-ish town, unless you want to make things yourself.

I’ve done a fair amount of gluten free baking & cooking these days, but yeasted products still are a bit of a mystery to me. I’m well versed in how bread flour works in artisan breads & I just haven’t mastered how to mimic those items in gluten free versions. Last weekend, I attempted to adapt a cinnamon roll recipe to be gluten free, but the results were not good. The texture was all off & so was the flavor.... I guess it may take a lot more testing before I am confident in adapted gluten filled yeast products to be gluten free.

Luckily, scones ARE easily adapted to be gluten free.  This particular cinnamon chip variation tastes surprisingly a lot like my favorite pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  I added a bit of leftover pumpkin puree to the dough.  Rather than tasting “pumpkin-y,” the puree just adds a bit of extra moisture & helps deepen the complexity of the flavors.  Once the glaze is added they became a perfect substitution--in fact, I couldn’t stop eating my test batch! I had to put the leftovers in the freezer to curb myself.  Since scones fit in the non-yeasted “quickbread” category of baking, they don’t require rising time! I love recipes that save time during busy holidays. These scones absolutely will be making an appearance on this year’s Thanksgiving brunch table.

I hope that wherever you are this Thanksgiving and holiday season, you are able to spend time laughing and giving thanks with friends & family, and that you take time to make & eat good food. Perhaps you can start your own holiday breakfast tradition.

Cinnamon Chip Scones (GF) 
yields 12 to 16 scones, depending on the size

4 oz / 1 stick Unsalted butter, cold
2/3 c Whole Milk + 1 tsp Lemon Juice (or substitute Buttermilk )
8.5 oz / 2 c Jeanne’s Gluten Free AP Flour Mix (or substitute regular AP flour, if not gluten free) {LINK} 
1.85 oz / 1/4 c Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
120 g / 1/2 c Cinnamon Chips
122 g / 1/2 c Pumpkin Puree 
Tapioca Starch, for dusting

Confectioners’ Sugar

  1. Grate the cold butter, using the large grate part of a box grater, onto a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the grated butter into the freezer while measuring & preparing the remaining ingredients. If not using buttermilk, mix the whole milk with the lemon juice & let stand at room temp. 
  2. Measure the remaining ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper & set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, powder, salt & cinnamon.  Add the frozen butter pieces & toss quickly with your hands to combine.  Break up any large clumps.  Add the cinnamon chips & briefly toss to combine. 
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk with the pumpkin puree. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients & quickly mix with your hands until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the dough or let the heat from your hands melt all the butter.  
  5. Dust the clean counter or board with additional tapioca starch (or AP flour, if not gluten free).  Pat the dough out, adding tapioca starch on top of the dough & onto your hands, until the dough is approximately an inch tall.  Use a small round cutter (or any shape you like) to cut out scones.  Place the cut scones onto the prepared baking sheets. Carefully gather the scraps & re-pat them out, repeating the process until the dough is all used.  (Note: re-rolling works well with the gluten free dough, but if regular flour is used, the re-rolled scones may be a bit tougher.) Alternately, you can use a large cookie scoop to make drop scones by scooping the scone dough out of the bowl & portioning it directly onto the sheet pan. 
  6. Use a try pastry brush to brush off any excess tapioca starch.  Bake both pans in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, rotating the pans & swapping the top and bottom pans halfway through.  The scones are done when they are lightly brown & the cinnamon chips begin to caramelize.  
  7. Remove the pans from the oven & allow to cool slightly while the glaze is made.    
  8. In a separate bowl, sift a little confectioners’ sugar to remove any lumps. Add a splash of milk & whisk until combined. Adjust the amount of milk & confectioners sugar until you achieve a thick glaze. Either stripe the glaze across the slightly warm scones, using either a cornet paper piping bag, a zip-top bag with a corner cut off, or a pastry bag.  Alternately, dip the slightly warm scones into the glaze.  Allow the glaze to set & serve. 
  9. Store any leftover scones at room temperature in a covered container for up to 2 days, or freeze for longer.  

Note: As far as cinnamon chips go, I usually use Hershey’s brand.  However, they can be a bit difficult to find sometimes...   In some areas, like I discovered in South Carolina, they are only available during the holiday season, so I recommend stocking up.  Or, King Arthur has they available to order from their website (as does Amazon. ).  

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  1. Oh gosh those are super lovely. Those scones are perfection.

  2. I cant thank you enough! I have my second batch in the oven and am looking forward to making my 3rd, 4th etc....Just like Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls!!!! Even better

    1. Oh, I am so glad you are enjoying them! Hope they make your life a little sweeter :)