June 6th, 2014
I do a fair amount of posting gluten-free recipes, but you all know that we’re not a gluten-free family, right? I mention this because when a gluten-free recipes makes its way here, it has passed the test with my gluten-loving family. When I recommend gluten free baked goods, especially, I do it knowing the magic that gluten works on baked goods. These gluten-free sweet biscuits, perfect for strawberry shortcakes, are deceptively delicious which, if you ask me, is about the highest compliment that you can pay to a gluten-free bakery treat.
If you’ve been reading a while, you know that I experiment with gluten-free cooking because, well, I’m gluten-free curious. I also feel like my son, who’s had some health issues in the past (long story), benefits from a diet low in gluten. Now, before you get all technical on me, I know that there is no wealth of science behind low gluten eating and that it’s an all or nothing thing for people with true gluten intolerances. I’m just saying what I think and perceive in my family. Plus, cooking delicious gluten free food is a fun kitchen challenge for me.
(If you’re interested in gluten-free biscuits, read on. If you wish this was a good old fashioned gluten-ful biscuit recipe, well, hop on over to this one for Buttermilk Biscuits!)
It’s the kitchen challenge part that has drawn me to the new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook. This is the first gluten-free cookbook I’ve used that actually explains the science behind gluten-free cooking and baking (see, I’m all about the science of things!). Every recipe comes with a note “Why This Recipe Works” which explains the problems that the test kitchen ran into while developing the recipe, what they tried, what worked, and why. It’s genius. I’ve learned things like gluten-free flour blends are less able to absorb fat. Now that explains why the butter cookies I made using a gluten-ful recipe and just swapping in gluten-free flour turned out hella greasy. Here I thought it was the quality of the flour blend!
I’m not a full-time gluten-free cook but, if you ask me, this book is a must have for anyone on or experimenting with a gluten-free diet. If you’re just gluten-free curious like me, the book is only worth the investment if you’re motivated enough to buy the ingredients for America’s Test Kitchen custom flour blend (it’s only 4 or 5 ingredients). When I have the blend on hand (which is almost always at this point), these amazing gluten-free pancakes are my go-to Saturday morning recipe now.
If you want to dabble before investing in the book, start with these gluten-free pancakes. If you like them and are willing to invest in one other ingredient (that will be very useful if you buy the book), give these sweet biscuits a whirl. (You can reduce the sugar to 2 teaspoons if you want regular biscuits for breakfast sandwiches or some such).
When you try the shortcakes, be sure to time things so that you’re serving the dessert fairly soon after you pull them out of the oven. Though not a problem unique to gluten-free biscuits, these definitely get a little dry after they’ve been sitting all day. To keep it easy, allow the strawberries to macerate all day, make the whipped cream ahead, and also the dough through step two. Instead of resting the dough for 30 minutes, rest it longer. That way you’ll only need to take 25 minutes (5 minutes of prep time, 15 minutes of cooking time, and 5 minutes of cooling time) between finishing the biscuits and having perfectly warm biscuits ready to go for your strawberry shortcake.
Sweet, Gluten-Free Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcakes
Very slightly adapted from The How Can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook
(Can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
Makes 6 biscuits
9 ounces (2 cups) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered psyllium husk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Whisk flour blend, sugar, baking powder, psyllium, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl until combined. Add butter to flour blend mixture, breaking up chunks with fingertip until only small, pea-sized pieces remain.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, egg, oil, and lemon juice until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no flour pockets remain, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place inside of a second baking sheet. (Trust me: do this though it may seem strange—the book explains why!) Using a greased 1/3 cup measure, scoop heaping amount of batter and drop onto prepared sheet. (Biscuit should measure about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches high.) Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1/2 inch apart in center of prepared sheet.
4. Bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let cook for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
*Note: While there is nothing in this that is unsafe for younger eaters, I recommend it for finger-food eating kids 10+ months, especially if you’re going to serve with sugared berries and sweet whipped cream. No matter how old your little eaters, keep in mind that a little of this sweet treat goes a long way!