Now that you’ve made your own sweet, sweet jam, wouldn’t you love to slather it on a warm and fluffy biscuit with some butter? These biscuits have been a long time in the making and, when I say a long time, I mean over a year and a half of experimenting with the recipe, using every type of gluten free ingredient imaginable, and having several results that weren’t exactly edible. I’ve learned a lot about making gluten free biscuits along the way.
Here are just a few of my lessons learned: too much guar gum makes for nasty, chalk-tasting biscuits; glutinous rice flour tends to make the biscuit bottoms chewy; using glutinous rice flour and no xanthan gum leaves the biscuits dry and crumbly, but you’ll still have chewy bottoms; whipping an egg white and folding it into the biscuit dough doesn’t seem to add much in the way of fluffy (i.e., don’t waste your time); using shortening tends to make the biscuits very dense and heavy; and attempting to replace the buttermilk with coconut milk and a little lemon juice changes the texture in an ugly way and makes the biscuits taste not quite horrible but not very biscuit-y, either.
I also discovered that making the perfect biscuit, or at least my opinion thereof, doesn’t require a blend of half a dozen different types of gluten free flours and who knows what else. Thank goodness for that, right? When I simplified the ingredients, I got the results that I wanted. I realize that this isn’t always the case with gluten free recipes, but I knew it was a good omen when I picked up a cooled biscuit and it felt much lighter than it looked. Believe me, this was a rarity during my year and a half in search of my favorite gluten free biscuit.
inspired by Alton Brown’s Southern Biscuits (my pre-gluten free favorite)
makes 10-12 biscuits
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbsp. butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or by lining them with foil and a light coating of cooking spray.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, add cornstarch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine with a fork until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mix. Add the chilled butter cubes and work the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture has a sandy, crumbly texture.
3. In a small measuring cup, measure the buttermilk and add the egg whites. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixture of dry ingredients and butter and work with a fork until just combined. This is a wet, slightly sticky dough, and you can easily make these into drop biscuits if you’d like at this point, but I personally prefer to use cutters to make the biscuits. If you’re using the “cutter” method, then spray your hands with cooking spray and turn the dough onto a floured or non-stick surface (I just use another sheet of parchment paper), forming it into a 3/4 inch thick disc. Spray your dough cutter (I use a 2 1/4 inch round) with cooking spray and cut as many biscuits as you can from the dough, reforming and cutting until the dough is gone.
4. Move the biscuits to the baking sheets and place in the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Serve warm. The biscuits also store well in the freezer.