Talking about the fair a few weeks ago got me thinking about scones. Not just any scones: fair scones. I never actually bought scones at the fair, mind you, because we had the recipe and made them at home (no small feat before the days of copycat recipes on Pinterest!). Like pancakes, though, my trusty scone recipe did not make the transition to gluten-free. I’ve always had trouble getting gluten-free scones and biscuits to rise, especially using whole grains, and the scone recipe called for shortening, which meant not only flat rocks, but flavorless, white ones at that. Bummer. No scones for me.
A few things changed that this week, though…
First, one of the delightful students at work returned from a trip to Oregon with a suitcase full of Tillamook cheddar, and was kind enough to share some with me! If you haven’t been to Oregon, I’ll fill you in: Tillamook is kind of a big deal. Their creamery even gives tours, where you can sample ice creams and watch endless gallons of milk turn into creamy yellow gold. I visited on a family vacation as an eye-rolling preteen, and even then it was kind of fun.*
My mom always keeps a Costco-sized brick of the extra sharp white cheddar in the fridge, and it makes fantastic grilled cheese. When we moved to the South, I was devastated to find that Tillamook cheddar doesn’t exist here. (There’s a Cracker Barrel-branded impostor, but I have nothing nice to say about it.) Naturally, you can imagine my excitement at being gifted a two-pound block of that magical cheese, and how it might result in immediate deliberation as to the best way to enjoy it.
A few options presented themselves:
1 – Just eat it. (Hm, tempting…)
2 – Macaroni & cheese (Rejected–would have to sacrifice most of the cheese for one dish.)
3 – grilled cheese party? (Also rejected. Sharing is overrated.)
And then, a solution materialized: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring posted a recipe for Cheese & Cornmeal Drop Biscuits. Nicole’s recipe uses asiago, but what about extra sharp cheddar? Once the possibility of a cheddar and oat scone entered my mind, there was no turning back.
I’m sure you’re wondering at this point…wait…what does all this have to do with scones?
Well, long story short, scones are basically just flattish, triangular biscuits. Sorry if I sucked all the mystery out of it and ruined Christmas, but that’s the truth. I took one look at Nicole’s recipe and thought “Heyyyy, that looks an awful lot like the Fisher scone recipe…” And the rest, as they say, is history.
But not really. Nicole made some important tweaks to the method I’d been using for the scones, namely doing something very different with the butter. Instead of cutting it into the flour and rubbing the butter lumps out, she leaves pea-sized lumps of butter in the dough. I was skeptical, but for once in my life I followed the instructions and was really pleased with the result: flaky, light (for scones), and buttery. I added a big pile of my coveted extra sharp cheddar and a teaspoon of ground mustard powder to bump up the cheesiness even more. Having eaten one too many boring cheddar biscuits in my life, I tossed in green onions and herbs, and based the flour mix on oats and cornmeal for a rustic texture.
My precautions paid off: these cheddar and oat scones are without exaggeration the most flavorful scones I’ve ever eaten–worth every precious shred of sacred cheddar.
And now if you’ll excuse me, there’s still half a block of cheese left to eat…
- 1 1/2 c. (165g) gluten-free flour blend*
- 3/4 c. (100g) cornmeal
- 3/4 tsp. guar gum
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 70g (2/3 c.) rolled oats
- 6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 c. plain yogurt
- 1/4+ c. milk
- 4 oz. grated sharp cheddar
- 3 Tbsp. minced herbs - I used a mixture of dill & parsley
- 3 green onions, diced
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Set aside.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flours through oats) together in a bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until butter lumps are roughly quartered but definitely not incorporated yet. Pour in remaining ingredients (yogurt through onions) and mix gently with a spatula until a shaggy dough begins to form, adding 1-2 Tbsp. extra milk if needed.
- Turn dough out onto a rolling surface floured with tapioca starch. Pat dough into a cohesive lump and divide in two. Spread more starch underneath a dough ball and pat gently into a 1"-thick circle. Cut into 6 wedges and remove to prepared baking sheet. Shape and form the remaining dough.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until just beginning to turn golden at the edges and on the bottoms. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes on the pan before removing to a wire rack.
- 60g (1/2 c.) sweet rice flour
- 45g (1/2 c.) oat flour - made by grinding oats in my coffee grinder
- 60g (1/2 c.) millet flour