Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!
It's a favorite for bakers this time of year and, to be honest, I can't quite get enough of it.
The sweet smell is so comforting as I scoop it into the bowl. I hold the spoon up to my nose and take a deep breath. Its bright burnt-orange color strikes a happy chord somewhere deep inside. It is almost like the color of a beautiful fall sunset, with the orange glow of the sun lighting up the red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees.
My parents' house is on a corner lot, with a small pond to the west. The pond prevented building and provided us with an almost 'far as the eye could see' view of the sunset. Behind their house used to be a farm (until I was about 12 years old), so there is a long line of tall trees still separating their yard from what used to be the farmer's property. (In case you didn't grow up anywhere near a farm, these tree lines are used as a wind break). These big, beautiful trees turn lovely colors every fall and I have vivid memories of looking out of my bedroom window at the sunset and the glowing trees.
I am such a sucker for a good scone, so I made up a batch or two (okay, I admit - three!) of pumpkin scones this week, adapting a “Joy of Cooking” recipe to make it gluten and dairy free. I even took out the butter and the refined sugar. They came out good and hard on the outside and slightly soft, yet textured on the inside – exactly how I like my scones.
I nearly fell off my chair, biting into the first one. I couldn't believe I got it right on the first try! Not to mention, I gobbled it up in about 2 seconds. And, as far as I can tell, they are not that finicky, since this last batch came out just the same as the first. I am, of course, freezing a bunch of them for easy Sunday morning breakfasts.
Gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin scones:
Note: I have gotten a number of questions about whether these can be made with regular butter and the answer is yes! Use 3/4 cup of butter, cut into pieces.
You can probably substitute any combination of gluten free flours in these, but I am finding that coconut flour contributes to the soft, almost pillowy, texture of baked goods and the millet flour makes them nice and tender. The tapioca flour is what gives you the “crust” and should only be substituted with another starch such as potato starch or arrowroot. Sorghum flour in place of the brown rice flour would definitely up the nutritional content.
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup agave nectar or honey or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons of coconut oil (in solid, but not “frozen” from; it should be about the consistency of refrigerated butter)
1/3 cup of hazelnut milk (or your favorite milk)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top and place that cookie sheet on top of another cookie sheet (unless you have an “airbake” cookie sheet). The double layer will prevent the bottoms from burning. Preheat the oven to 400F.
Pour the apple cider vinegar into the hazelnut milk and set aside for about 10 minutes (this makes “buttermilk”).
Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl or in the bowl of your mixer. Scoop the coconut oil into the flour mixture – for this I used a tablespoon measure and used a butter knife to drop each scoop individually into the flour mixture.
Either cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture with a butter knife or mix on low in your mixer until the mixture has the appearance of small pebbles.
In another bowl, mix your agave, “buttermilk,” pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract and blend well.
Mix the dry with the wet ingredients and, as the dough starts to form, use your hands to knead the dough a few times, until it is all combined.
Form a ball with the dough and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten the dough into a circle, about an inch and a half tall.
Grab a large, flat spoon and pour a bit of hazelnut milk into a small glass. Dip the back of the spoon in the bit of hazelnut milk as needed and use it to both spread milk over the top of the dough and smooth the dough. If desired, sprinkle a bit of raw sugar on top.
Using a knife, slice the circle in half and cut each half into three triangles (the cuts will look like spokes on a wheel). Slightly separate the pieces from one another.
Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Tip: Do a double batch and freeze some for later!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!!!