We LOVE the holidays.
And I LOVE to bake. So Christmas is pretty much the convergence of heaven + paradise for me. And I love sitting around with friends enjoying stories, inspiration, troubles, and dreams for the future.
AND I like bringing the good energy of positive people into my space – they bless my kitchen, which is right next to my office, they share their wealth of wisdom with my son, and they create my “chosen family” that grows every year I live in NYC.
Last weekend we invited over 9 friends to share a holiday brunch by the tree.
But our diverse group of friends has a variety of dietary restrictions:
- vegetarian & pregnant
- soy averse
- hard core omnivores
- 3 kids under 6…
…which made for a cooking challenge!
What’s your friendly neighborhood healthy chef to do bake? I like to something that EVERYONE can enjoy – but sometimes that ain’t easy.
So I chose 2 recipes – both gluten-free, both from trusted cookbooks. Luckily, one recipe turned out fine.
Better than fine, actually.
The other recipe was a total failure. Actually, this is the 3rd recipe that hasn’t worked from this particular cookbook, so I won’t be going back to it. (Part of me wants to warn you which cookbook this is, but I also don’t want to spread bad news…should I/ Is this part of my duty? What do you think?)
I had to through out the whole batch. Bummer.
Well, I’ll give you the entire brunch menu later, but for now, I’ll share the biggest success of the day -
Spiced Raisin Scones
The secret to these moist, gluten-free crowd pleasers is the combination of gluten-free flour with almond meal and coconut flour.
The natural fat and moisture from the almond and coconut make these scones light yet moist and flakey.
Kinda’ like magic.
1 1/4 cup unsweetened Almond Coconut milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup Earth Balance, or non-hydrogenated margarine, or frozen coconut oil, shredded on a cheese grater
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sucanat, or natural cane sugar
1 cup raisins
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Measure the milk and add the vinegar, then set it aside to curdle, just like buttermilk. Without the moo.
- Combine the flour, almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
- Chop up the Earth Balance and drop it in. Use your finger tips to lightly crumble and mix the Earth Balance int the flours until it looks like coarse sand.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until about half the flour is incorporated. Add the sugar and raisins and mix again until just mixed. Don’t over mix! It takes the lift and flakiness out.
- I use a medium sized ice cream scooper to scoop out perfectly rounded scone shapes onto the baking sheet. You can also use a 1/4 cup measuring cup.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Yields: 14-16 scones