Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yerba Mate Chai Scones

(For the revised version of this recipe, click here.)

This morning reflected how I felt in a nutshell. It was rainy, cold, with a wind that chilled me down to my rain boots. George Mason is halfway through its last "official" week for the semester before finals. (I say "official" because some classes are making up for their snow days next week as well as finals.) People were literally dragging themselves to class, faculty members and students alike. There are final projects and papers to turn in, exams to study for, student organizations to finalize, internships to prepare for.

I’m not even graduating this semester and I feel slightly overwhelmed with it all.

The weather cleared up by the early afternoon, but the lethargy still remained. I wanted something to chase away the cold and uncertainty. I wanted warmth. I wanted comfort.

There are two things that do this: time and baking. That’s where this month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally comes in.

For some reason, I seem to miss the submission deadline for each challenge; that, and I am often confused as to who I’m supposed to talk to. Melanie from Mindful Food has been such a great help, sending me to the right people, simply being awesome... you know, the usual. I finally touched base with Erin from The Sensitive Epicure, to sign up for future rallies, and Lauren from Celiac Teen, the cutie patootie who is hosting the rally this month.

I like Lauren for quite a few reasons: one, she is simply adorable; two, she is an amazing blog writer and cook; and three, she thinks outside the box. I’ve been a huge fan of her blog for some time, marveling in the honesty and compassion for every word (and recipe) she writes.

There should be more Lauren’s in the world, but this particular Lauren challenged the rally to make scones.

Since this morning I kept thinking what type of scone I should make for the rally. I wanted this to be the recipe that proved my worth in the gluten-free community, where other bloggers for the cause would come out of the woodwork and say hello. It had to be perfect. It had to be unique. And with all the wonderful ideas I could come up with and proposed by friends, there was still one problem.

I had no idea how to make a scone

Like biscuits, scones are a relatively foreign concept to me. I’ve seen them in bakeries, cafés, and in stores, but they were so different from each other that making a batch of my own was terrifying. Were they like biscuits in texture or taste? Did they have to be cut in a certain way, and if so, was it in triangles or rounds? What size should they be? What should the dough feel like?

As I started to calm down and really think about it, I decided that regardless of the outcome, I would learn something. Even if I was too late to be part of this month’s rally, at least I got in contact with the right people for future fun. I then came up with my scone recipe and, like the bisckies before them, played by ear until it felt right.

That’s how you know a recipe is a keeper: it feels right.

The original recipe ratio called for 6 parts flour, 2.5 parts shortening, 1 part egg, and 3 parts milk. As time went on, however, I felt that the recipe called for 7 parts flour to make a better forming dough.

I looked down at the dough in my mixer, thinking that it should be 8 parts flour, and I paused. The dough was still rather sticky at this point and I was slightly concerned, yet I didn’t want to continue adding flour to the point the dough was pliable but the scones were dry and crumbling. I then remembered what Shauna from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef wrote, about how gluten free batters and doughs are different. If I wanted the scones to turn out as I wanted, I had to be patient. So I let the dough sit for ten minutes and, sure enough, the dough was still tacky but easy to shape.

Lesson learned: time makes all the difference in the world.

Now, this recipe really brought out the mad scientist in me. Why? Well, I was particularly creative in what I used, especially since I was low on one or more flours and was out of butter. I didn’t want to add anything into the scones (such as berries or cheese) as separate entities from the crumb. I wanted the scone itself to be the main event, one that was delectable for both sweet and savory dishes, perfectly paired with a cup of Joe or a chai latte.

The result was a scone that was dairy free, had ten flours used, a combination of fresh avocado and coconut oil for the fat, and highly concentrated yerba mate tea with coconut milk for the liquid. The crust was sturdy and the inside crumb was so moist and creamy from the avocado. I truly believe I found the balance for future baking where fat is needed. All this delicious concoction* needs is a little honey smeared on top for your taste buds to do the happy dance. 

Yerba Mate Chai Scones

2 oz Glutinous Rice* Flour (I ran out and ended up using 0.1 oz Rice flour to compensate)
2 oz Millet flour
2 oz Amaranth flour
3 oz Arrowroot* starch (I also had to use 0.1 oz Rice flour because I ran out)
1 oz Quinoa flour
1 oz Coconut flour
1 oz Buckwheat flour
1 oz Rolled oats (Certified Gluten-free, of course)
1 oz Almond meal
2.5 oz Avocado (about 3/4 of a medium-sized avocado)
2.5 oz Coconut oil, room temperature
2 oz So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
4 oz Yerba mate tea, concentrated
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Put the avocado, coconut oil, egg, coconut milk, and yerba mate into a blender on low until there is an even consistency.
Using an electrical mixer (or by hand), combine the wet and dry ingredients until the dough forms.
Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes until it becomes tacky yet still can be touched (this is crucial if you don’t want a sticky dough to work with).
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased), form the dough into a flat circle or rectangle shape (I wanted smaller servings, so I used the rectangle shape).
With a knife, cut triangles into the dough so that individual pieces will be easier to slice (I was able to make 12).
Shimmy a thin layer of cinnamon on top of the dough and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Makes 8 – 12 scones.

Here's a list of the other participants so far:

Amie Valpone | The Healthy Apple  Chocolate Chip n' Rice Crispy 'Muffin' Scones  
Britt | GF in the City   Blueberry Buttermilk Scones   
Brooke | B & the boy!   Coconut Scones with Pineapple Curd
Caleigh | Gluten-Free[k]    Jam on top, or cream on top? Scones
Caneel | Mama Me Gluten Free    Savory Jalapeno Cheese Scones   
Caroline Shannon-Karasik  | The G-Spot    Carrot Raisin Scones with a Cinnamon Glaze   
Charissa | Zest Bakery    Amaretto Soaked Cherry and Almond Scones   
Claire | Gluten Freedom    Strawberry Banana Scones
Erin Swing | The Sensitive Epicure    Millet Scones   
Gretchen | kumquat    Maple Oat Nut scones   
Irvin | Eat the Love  Green Garlic, Bacon, and Thyme Scones
Jeannette  |  Jeannette's Healthy Living   Coconut Pineapple Scones (Vegan)
Jenn | Jenn Cuisine    Apple Banana and Currant Scones   
Karen | Cooking Gluten-Free   Oat Scones with Currants
Kate | Katealice Cookbook   Cinnamon Fruit Scones 
Lauren | Celiac Teen Gluten-free Multigrain Cream Scones
Lisa | Gluten Free Canteen   Bisconies, actually
Lisa Thiele | With Style and Grace    Lavender and Earl Grey Lemon Scones   
Marla Meridith - Family Fresh Cooking    Avocado Scones
Meaghan | The Wicked Good Vegan  Simple Scones with Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam (Vegan)  
Melanie | Mindful Food  Hazelnut Cream Scones with Blackberry Jam (Vegan) 
Pete and Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem    Mesquite Scones   
Mrs. R | Honey From Flinty Rocks    Classic Cream Scones - Gluten & Dairy Free 
Mrs. R | Honey From Flinty Rocks    Almond Fig Scones - Gluten & Dairy Free 
Sea | Book of Yum    Classic British Currant Scones (Dairy free)   
Shauna | Gluten Free Girl and the Chef   Gluten Free Scones
Silvana Nardone | Silvana's Kitchen    Gluten-Free Pecan Streusel Scones   
T.R. | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies    Cinnamon Pecan Scones
Tara Barker | A Baking Life    Crystalized Ginger Cream Scones   
Wendy | La Phem Phoodie  Red Velvet Scones
Winnie | Healthy Green Kitchen  Coconut Raisin Scones (Vegan)

*Note: As much as I think these scones turned out rather deliciously, I will work on perfecting how it tastes, looks, and forms. I think I will add something sweet to it next time as well as using butter for the fat.


  1. These look lovely - I love the tea combinations with the other flavors you have in these. And avocado and coconut oil for the fat - using avocado for fat in scones in a new idea for me, first seen in Marla's scones. I have to try it!

  2. Hey Morri! Awesome that you hopped into the rally group. Your scones look great, I will add your link now :)

  3. Avocado - genius! I also love that coconut shows up in three ways. It's becoming so popular lately, and for good reason! I bet these scones were delicious. It feels so good when you make substitutions out of necessity (like when you're out of ingredients), and find out that you really like the outcome. Empowering. Welcome to the Ratio Rally - I can't wait to see what you come up with in future months!

  4. Hey Morrie! What a beautiful recipe - I am so impressed that you had a fabulous success on the first try! I have got to try avocado (its probably cheaper than coconut oil...). What does Yerba mate tea taste like in the scone?

    BTW - I am in the process of moving my blog from blogger to wordpress but I had to come up with a new name since was not available. I figured better to do it now then later when it will be a bigger headache.

    The name of the new blog will be - which I absolutely love! A friend is helping me with the design and switch over. I'm so excited, I had to tell someone...

    Anyway, I find your recipe so intriguing - I'll have to try it just to find out what it tastes like.