[Grain-free biscuits as a base for Nectarine Shortcakes. . . ACD-friendly!]
Today’s post will be a short one*, as I’m still frantically marking essays in preparation for our final exams tomorrow (and then more marking!). But I’ve been wanting to post this for days and have been too busy baking up a storm for yesterday’s Breakfast Television appearance. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes via email, comments, twitter, Facebook, etc. (and thanks again, PR Queen, for your devotion to the cause, waking up at 4:30 to help)–I really appreciated it! I had a great time and even got to talk about some key ingredients and recipes from Sweet Freedom–so much fun! (well, maybe not having to wake up in the middle of the night–literally–in order to be at the studio by 6:30 AM. But talking about cake and frosting was fun). I’m trying to acquire a copy of the segment so I can post it online–will let you know when I get one! But you’re not here to chat about TV (well, not exclusively, anyway), are you? And you know that I’m always tickled to chat about baking. Now that I’ve decided to venture into the realm of baked goods once again, I’ve been playing in the kitchen and seem to have permanent flour dust on my cheeks. After five months with neither flours nor sweeteners (not to mention a host of other ingredients), and even though I’m thrilled with the weight loss, I did sorely miss my muffins, quick breads, bars, cookies, cakes–you get the idea. Enter grain-free coconut flour, bean flours and buckwheat flour–and a very steep learning curve. And now, make room for biscuits! My first attempt at grain-free baking, the Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes, were a huge hit, both at home and on this blog. Today’s Coconut Flour Biscuits are my latest effort, and I have to say I’m equally happy with the results (if eating 2 biscuits a day for a week is any indicator of “happy”). Actually, it’s probably a good thing I’m not yet back to baking my usual treats for now. Clearly, I still have no self control when it comes to baked goods.
[Coconut Flour biscuits without embellishments. . . .]
These scones were the result of my yearning need desperation desire to create something that approximated a baked good without actually being a conventional baked good. Rather than use chickpea flour once again (as I did in both of these), I wanted something different to provide a lighter texture and appearance.
Then I remembered my bag of coconut flour in the freezer. I’d purchased it on a previous foray to Whole Foods, where I’d been dazzled by the tempting array of photoshop-perfect produce, local and artisanal crackers and breads, refrigerated glass cases resplendent with Basil-Lime-Chili Tofu (a favorite), spelt berry salads, roasted veggies, veggie patties, tofu “steaks,” even kale and seaweed salad (and all available to sample, just for the asking!).
I spied a bag of coconut flour and, having read a lot about it and its astonishing ability to absorb moisture and contribute additional fiber to dishes (it’s apparently got 61% fiber–the highest of any flour), how could I resist? I figured I’d sprinkle 1/4 cup here, 1/4 cup there to various baked goods. I made something (can’t remember what), then plopped the bag into the freezer for later use, and haven’t touched it since.
[. . . or slathered with almond butter for a delicious breakfast.]
Until now, that is. Well, when I swung open the freezer the other day and noticed the bag sitting there, my spirits lagged as soon as I read the “best before” date. Like a cheerleader on prom night, that flour was about to go bad. I knew I had to save it! I concocted some biscuits and ate two right away. (I wasn’t being a glutton. I was saving that flour from itself, so to speak.) I’m thrilled this recipe worked out, as I’ve finally got something substantial on which I can slather nut butter for breakfast, and there’s no guilt about diverging from the ACD. They are also the base for that colorful shortcake at the top of the post (variation included below). These are dense yet tender, without a pronounced coconut flavor. While they’re not a perfect reproduction of conventional biscuits, they were still tasty enough to pass the “HH Test.” In fact, I was forced to bake up a second batch after the HH tried them, because he ate two in a row. Now that I’ve discovered such a great use for the flour, I should have no problem finishing up that bag. It felt good to be able to use it before it expired. Oh, and to be baking again. *Well, short for me, anyway, as loquacious as I am. Brings to mind a joke my friend Sterlin and I started in highschool, during the era of four-hour phone marathons: during a particularly busy time one evening, I called Sterline to chat. After the hellos, she warned me: “I really can’t stay on the phone tonight. Half an hour, max.”
Grain Free Coconut Flour Biscuits
Surprisingly light, these biscuits are perfect for breakfast or as an accompaniment to a saucy dish. While they’re not as cakelike as conventional biscuits, they make a great substitute that can satisfy a craving for carbs in a low-carb treat.
1 Tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus enough soy, almond or rice milk to equal 1 cup (240 ml)
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp (45 ml) finely ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp (15 ml) agave nectar, light or dark, or 10 drops stevia
2 Tbsp (30 ml) melted organic coconut oil, plus 1 Tbsp (15 ml) for brushing tops
3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) baking powder
3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp (135 ml) coconut flour
3 Tbsp (45 ml) buckwheat flour (or use chickpea or whole bean flour)
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
Place the 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice in the bottom of a glass measuring cup, and add milk until the liquid measures 1 cup (240 ml). Add the vanilla, flax and agave or stevia to the cup and stir; whisk in the 2 Tbsp (30 ml) melted coconut oil until evenly combined. Set aside while you measure the dry ingredients, or at least 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, sift the coconut flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir quickly just to blend. Do not overmix. The mixture will seem a bit soft initially but will absorb the liquid fairly quickly; this is as it should be. (If using buckwheat flour, you may need to add 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) more milk to attain the desired texture). The mixture should be softer than a regular dough, yet still hold together, almost like a thick cookie dough.
Using a large scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop the batter and place mounds on the cookie sheet. Flatten each mound slightly with your palm or a silicon spatula.
Bake for 12 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from the oven and brush very gently with the final 1 Tbsp (15 ml) melted coconut oil (the biscuits will be very delicate and can squish easily). Rotate the pan and return to the oven for another 12-15 minutes, until tops are very deep golden brown–do not underbake! Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet, then carefully remove for storage. Makes 6 biscuits. May be frozen.
NOTE: if you try to eat these while they are still warm, the centers may seem too moist. Once they cool, however, the texture changes.
Nectarine Shortcake Variation:
1 batch biscuits (or you can use your own favorite biscuits for this)
1 batch Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Soy-Free Whipped Cream [for an ACD-friendly version, use 5 drops stevia in place of the agave nectar]
2-3 firm, ripe nectarines, cut into slices
Cut cooled biscuits in half horizontally. Cover the bottom half with some nectarine slices and a dollop of cream. Top with the other half of the biscuit and more cream. Savor. Makes 6 servings.
There is a new and updated version of this recipe in my cookbook, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free. I think the new one is better, but of course still like this one, too!
For More Grain-Free Recipes on the Blog, see:
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