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Cinnamon Cream Scones

This post could be titled, “Six Degrees of Food Blogging Separation”. Why? Because what led up to making this adaption of an original Cooks Illustrated Cream Scones recipe is just that kind of story.

The story starts in the fascinating world of social networking. It’s a place with many venues for sharing your life story, your views, your passions—or just some of your favorite recipes. I’ve chosen blogging and, for a briefer, more immediate exchange, Twitter. Sure, there’s a bunch of other options into which I dip my toe—TasteSpotting, StumbleUpon, and so on. But, for now, Twitter & blogging are mainstays.

Each day I tap into the collective consciousness of a few hundred Tweeps I’m following because they’re similar or interesting to me. I read about their families, their jobs, and their food issues and experiences. I laugh with them, and I dread to think there will be days I’ll cry with them. I’m lucky enough to read about the cooking adventures of these @cooks. I swear some days I can smell the aromas coming from their kitchens as they describe the scents, textures, and flavors of the food they create. Oh, and the pictures…as we say in New Jersey, to die for!

These Cream Scones are one such treat that was baked at one end of the Twitterverse—in the kitchens of @savorysweetlife (her recipe), then @FourChickens and @glutenfreegirl—and made its way to me and who knows who else. We all tweaked (& Tweeted) them just a little to accommodate our food proclivities and each time thumbs up.

So, if Six Degrees of Separation means every person is at most six relationship steps away from any other person on Earth then Six Degrees of Food Blogging Separation means every Food Blogger is only six steps away from each recipe that has ever been posted on the internet. We’ve got a lot of cooking to do!

Today while I pondered that thought over my first steaming cup of Joe I had a sweet, warm little Cinnamon Cream Scone—gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and vegan—to keep me company. It might only have been finer if I’d had some homemade strawberry jam—which I did not. But, I did have sour cherry preserves and those were just fine!

Cinnamon Cream Scones

¾ cup sorghum flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sweet rice flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. The rack should be in the center position.

Mix the lemon juice into the coconut milk.

Place the dry ingredients (sorghum flour through salt) into a food processor fitted with a blade. Cover and pulse a few times until all ingredients are mixed evenly. Add the Earth Balance in small chunks and spread evenly across the top of the dry mixture. Cover and pulse about 12 times (in one second pulses). The mixture should resemble a coarse meal. (If you are doing this by hand put the dry ingredients in a big bowl and whisk until combined. Then, using two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the Earth Balance into the dry mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.)

Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Using a spatula, stir in about half of the coconut milk and the vanilla. Add more coconut milk a little at time until the dough begins to form. (Don’t worry if you don’t use all the milk.) The dough should be a little soft and sticky but still be able to hold together when formed and cut.

Lightly dust the countertop or pastry mat with sorghum or rice flour and turn the dough out onto it. Form it into a circle about 1 inch high and 8 or 9 inches across. Use a round biscuit cutter to form a circle in the center of the dough. Then cut the remaining dough into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and place wedges & center circle on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. The scones should be lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack when cool enough to handle for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Reader Comments (12)

These look lovely--how do you keep it from being gummy in texture? I tried the Bob's Red Mill scone recipe, and blah!

Jennifer -- That's a good question and one for which I don't have an answer! I have had gummy results with some of the baked goods I've tried to make (not this one or any of those I finally post). From what I understand either a leavening issue (could the mix have been older?) or over mixing can create a gummy texture in gluten-free baking.

As with all gluten-free vegan baked goods it's difficult to get the mouth feel to match that of conventional baked goods. I haven't been able to master a light cake. I'm more successful with scones and other dense items. I'm going to have to make these again soon so I can determine what kind of texture they have--it's been awhile. If I get a more definitive answer I'll be in touch. -Nancy

Sep 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Thanks, Nancy! I will have to try this recipe, instead, with all fresh ingredients.

Sep 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

What can I use instead of coconut milk which I am allergic to?

Thx, Sue

Sue - I've been experimenting with Tempte Hemp Milk. I haven't made scones with it yet but I'm guessing it will work. You can also try a nut milk (almond) or rice milk. Nancy

Nov 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue

I'm interested in the lack of baking powder/soda in this recipe. What's the reasoning and do they rise as well without it?

Cindy - If you added baking powder they would probably rise more than the current recipe. I would add 1 to 2 tablespoons and see what effect it has on the scones. The original recipes I mentioned in the post have baking powder in them so I must have inadvertently omitted it. Nevertheless these didn't seem negatively affected by the omission of a leavening agent and are very satisfying! -Nancy

Follow-up: I added 1 tablespoon baking powder to the recipe and used vanilla hemp milk. The result was a light scone which rose nicely. It was good but not really the way I enjoy them. So, I think it's just a matter of personal preference. - Nancy

Dec 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

I had tried your pumpkin scones first, using coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance. They came out what you're calling gummy I suppose. Kind of solid and pudding like. Tasted good, but the texture wasn't.

When I tried the cinnamon ones I'd gotten the Earth Balance, but I also threw in 1 tsp. baking soda, since I figured scones in general have leavening and I've done better recently with baking soda than powder. Also, with the lemon juice i thought it would work. They came out great, although pretty light for how I remember scones and not so flaky as crumby. The flour I used was a little different too. I ran out of sorghum and used some millet, and I used premixed other flours instead of this recipe's mix.

I'm really wondering on a baking chemistry level though, how they come out well for you without baking powder or soda. Where is the air coming from so they're not dense?

Cindy - Good to know about the coconut oil vs Earth Balance and the baking soda. I'm going to have to experiment a little with the baking soda and baking powder. I like scones dense because that's how I remember them from my non-GF days and these are definitely dense. I wonder if aerating the flour (because I usually whisk the dry ingredients together) is the reason they aren't too dense. Also, they have a crumb, not a flake, but they aren't crumbly.

Dec 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

I'm not sure it was that coconut oil was bad, or that I over worked them. I'm planning on experimenting more.

Dec 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

These scones look gorgeous. Just added them to my list of recipes to try! Thank you so so much!


May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDesi Domo

What type of coconut milk did you use? So Delicious or canned? If canned, lite or full fat?


Oct 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Dana - I usually use full fat coconut milk. I haven't used So Delicious yet. However, I think you could try these with lite coconut milk or even hemp milk. For that matter, you could try them with the So Delicious. I just picked the full fat coconut milk to mimic heavy cream. That's kind of my rule of thumb: heavy cream = full fat coconut milk, half/half or whole milk = lite coconut milk or hemp milk, skim milk = rice milk. I do play around with these and sometimes just use what I have in my cupboard.

Oct 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

I've been visiting this blog and I think you must add buy viagra at the blogroll to improve this blog! All is about good characteristics and we can't ignore the influence about it.

Mar 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I made these tonight as a dessert. I sub'd coconut flour for the rice flours straight across (not gritty that way). I sub'd the sugars with 3 T + 1 tsp Agave, and I sub'd the buttery spread with 3 T of olive oil. And since I had already skimmed the cream off the top of the coconut milk for another recipe, I used the coconut "water" in place of the coconut "milk". :) My boys devoured them! Smooth, great texture, flaky - just exactly what I was looking for in a scone, without all the stuff that we can't have. Thank you!!

Apr 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

I tried to make these twice but they were did not rise and stayed mucky on the inside and hard on the outside. Am I adding too much coconut milk? Help!

Nov 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
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