Clara Gluten Free

Strawberry Scones

I had the brilliant idea to make strawberry-coconut muffins for my brother. Except, he doesn't like coconut and requested scones instead. So strawberry scones it was. 

After asking him what sort of scones he wanted, I faced a tall order: crumbly on the outside, squishy within, and tasting like strawberry but not too much like strawberry. The best way to achieve this turned out to be following a sort of pastry-like method instead of a muffin-like method: cutting in butter, folding dough, in order to achieve a lightness in the texture, and delicately handling temperamental dough in order to end up with a positive yield of scones....rather than dump-and-stir, which is nice...for muffins. As a result, my recipe is filled with turns and folds and rolling-out, since I wanted to layer the butter and strawberries. 

I ended up sticking with my original plan for coconut flour, because I needed something to absorb the fluid of the strawberries, and I wanted the fiber and protein of the coconut flour to hold the scones together, a plan which I also tackled by kneading the dough a bit. Then, tapioca flour made sense to keep the texture lighter and cohesive, rather than crumbly. All this was leavened with baking powder and baking soda, partly because these two beat out yeast in my books and scones are descended from soda bread- at least the scones I know. I added a touch extra xanthum gum to bind the dough, since I did not want the gluey-ness of an egg, but I did use an egg was to glue the outside of the scone in.  I guess that makes these scones the Amazing Inside-Out Strawberry Scones. Which is neat-o. 

Strawberry Scones- makes 18 scones

1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 tbs lemon juice

2 cups coconut flour
1 cup tapioca flour
3/8 cup white sugar
2 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, cold and chopped into small segments

1/2 cup diced dried strawberries

1 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted, and mashed
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup tapioca flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

1 egg
1 tbs water
~ 1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper.  Combine the milk, half-and-half, and lemon juice in small bowl or wet-ingredients measuring cup. The cream will curdle, but this is not an issue.

2- Whisk together the coconut flour, 1 cup tapioca flour, 3/8 cup sugar, xanthum gum, baking power, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3- Cut in the butter like pastry until it resembles oatmeal or small peas. Toss in the dried strawberries.

4- In a small bowl, combine the defrosted strawberries, 1/8 cup sugar, 1/8 cup tapioca flour. Whisk to combine. This mixture should be a fairly thick liquid with strawberry chunks mixed in.

5- Force the strawberry "syrup" through a strainer, pouring the "syrup" into the large mixing dough with the flour/butter/dried strawberry base. Set the remaining strawberry chunks aside.

6- Add the lemon/cream mixture to the flour/butter/dried strawberry base in two parts. Stir to combine and knead slightly to finish combining and form a movable, fairly cohesive ball.

7- In the center of a large work surface, measure out 1/4 cup tapioca flour. Turn the dough ball in the flour until all sides are covered. Roll out into about a 20"-22" square. Fold in thirds and roll out again. It will be quite crumbly and temperamental to work with. Dust with additional flour if necessary.

8- Spread the reserved strawberry chunks across the surface. Roll/fold four times until a 5" X 20" log is formed. Roll out again into a 20" - 22" square. It will be about 1/2" thick.

9- Using a large chef's knife or bench-scraper, slice the pastry into thirds. Then, divide each third into thirds. Divide each of these diagonally into triangles. Transfer onto baking sheet. Press any remaining dough onto the top of the other scones.

10- Whisk up the egg and water to make an eggwash. Liberally brush each scone with eggwash. Be sure to cover the entire top and dab the sides as well, if possible. Top each scone with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

11- Bake the scones for about 25 minutes, or until they are solid to the touch and golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the scone should come out clean. Remove from the baking pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm- with cream cheese for breakfast, or whipped cream for dessert.

Grilled Pizza

Somewhere along the way, a routine developed:  start of summer vacation = pizza. School's out,! And not just any pizza! but grilled pizza because I hadn't figured out a way to grill pizza dough since going gluten free and school's out so I've got time.... and a grill. 

The main challenge to overcome was the dough melting into the grill. Good gluten free pizza dough is more like gluten-free muffin batter which, on the grill, equates with gluten free flame-up and no pizza (that later of which is the real problem. Obviously.) To address this, I pressed the dough into shape and partly cooked it in the oven and finished it on the grill, which worked well. Only hold up- when going on the grill, the pizza crust is only partly cooked, so it's fragile and easy to rip. A big spatula, some tongs, and probably an extra set of hands (I roped in my brother for that job), will likely do the trick. 

But more importantly, a solid dough is really important. I have been figuring out how to get my bread dough stronger, aside from relying on eggs, and the main discovery: kneading. I was at the hair-cutter's and talking about baking (it may or may not be all I think about), when she mentioned her own gluten-free cooking experiences. She explained that a friend, who is a chef, suggested kneading dough longer in order to get the much-shorter-than-gluten proteins in GF flour to line up like gluten. So, armed with that rather extended story and a short bit of information, I tried it out on this dough. And it worked! The dough was much more solid than I expected and actually held up to being put on the grill, take off, flipped, put back on the grill, removed, and sliced. Kind of a tall order for a gluten free dough. Though it did not hold up to being eaten. Which is a good thing. 

Grilled Pizza- makes 2 large pizzas
*Note: for this pizza, I made a family favorite: an apple-cheddar-parmesan white pizza, but you should sauce + top as you see fit!

3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup hot water
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs yeast
1 tsp vinegar
2 cups coconut flour
2 cups tapioca flour
3 tsp xanthum gum
1 tbs salt
dash of pepper
1 cup olive oil
3 cups hot water
Additional oil
sauce + toppings

1- Combine 1 cup of hot water, vinegar, and heavy cream. Dissolve in the sugar and pour on yeast. Meanwhile, in a large stand mixer, beat the three eggs. 

2- Combine flours, xanthum gum, salt, and pepper in the stand mixer. Set on stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture and set on medium to stir. Slowly add the olive oil and hot water. The dough should be like a fairly stiff muffin batter. Add additional water or oil if necessary. Knead on high for about 7 minutes. 

3- Meanwhile, generously oil two pizza pans. When the dough has completed kneading (it will be elastic), divide between the two pans. Drizzle oil onto the top of the dough balls and coat your hands (to keep them from sticking). Press the dough into large circles.

4- In a slightly warm oven, let the dough rise for 30 minutes. It will look puffy and rounded when it is done. Remove from oven, and heat the oven to 500 F. Cook the dough in the oven for 7 minutes. Remove promptly (when the edges just start to brown). Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to set up, and using a wide spatula, separate each pizza from the pan with a wide spatula. Bring the oven to 350 F. 

5- Fire up the grill. At a solid medium flame, cook the pizza for a 3-5 minutes on each side until it browns and good grill marks are formed. Return to pizza pan, flip, and grill the uncooked side for an additional three minutes. 

6- Remove from heat, top, and bake in the oven until the cheese is melty. Broil for a few minutes if desired, to brown and bubble the cheese. Remove from the oven, let set for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve.