Gluten Free Christmas: Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti Recipe

It’s December which means one thing and one thing only… IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

We are only a week into December and my friends have already accused me of Buddy The Elf levels of excitement at least a hundred times… but I can’t help it because Christmas is my favourite time of the year!
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The decorations are up, I’ve made my first batch of gingerbread, I’ve drunk my first mulled wine of the season and I’ve listened to my Christmas playlist on loop for about a week so I can confirm that I am officially in full Christmas mode.
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For me, the best thing about Christmas is the food. I love all the flavours that the season has to offer more than any other time of year and quite frankly it’s not christmas without spicy gingerbread, chewy chestnuts, juicy clementines or even Brussels sprouts!

Following a gluten free diet has never stopped me enjoying Christmas either. If anything, I’ve found more enjoyment in food because having to bake my own festive treats is all part of the fun.

I have tonnes of Christmas recipes which I cannot wait to share with you but I’m going to start with my Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti recipe.
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Since I shared my Cranberry, Almond and White Chocolate Biscotti recipe a few months back I’ve had it in my mind to create a version using more festive flavours for Christmas.

When my family and I arrive home from church on Christmas morning we usually enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a sweet treat just before opening all the presents. I think this year these Biscotti would be absolutely perfect and I will definitely be making a batch for the big day.
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Gluten Free Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti 

Ingredients:
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
300g gluten free self raising flour, plus extra for shaping the dough
3 large eggs
150g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g dried cranberries
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp hazelnut syrup or extract (I used Monin Hazelnut Syrup)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4.

2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the caster sugar, baking powder and flour.

4. Add the eggs, cranberries and hazelnuts then mix until all the ingredients are combined.

The mixture will be slightly wetter than expected so please don’t panic and add more flour. Remember that gluten free flour needs more moisture than regular flour and these biscuits are going to be baked twice – if you add more flour you’ll end up with a very dry dough which will result in an overly dry biscotti that cannot be baked twice.

5. Separate the mixture into two halves and generously dust a work surface with a flour.

6. Spoon one half of the mixture onto the work surface into a rough log shape then dust the mixture with a generous layer of flour – do not knead or roll the mixture but gently use your hands to shape the mixture into a log shape. The flour will stick to the mixture like a coating which will help the log keep it shape whilst allowing the inside to stay soft.
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7. Transfer to the log to a baking tray (you could use a cake lifter to help) then flatten the log slightly so it’s approximately the width of a ciabatta. Repeat the with the other half of the mixture then place the second log on the tray – make sure you leave a little room between to allow them to expand slightly.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the biscotti is golden brown. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

9. Once the biscotti is cool, slice it diagonally across into inch thick slices. Do not attempt to slice the biscotti whilst still warm or it will crumble.

10. Transfer the biscotti back onto the baking tray and bake for a further 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Leave the biscotti to cool completely before serving.
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I can’t wait to show you what else I have planned for Christmas, but if you are looking for more Christmas inspiration in the meantime, why not take a look at my Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies recipe which I posted last Christmas, or, follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else I’m getting up to.

Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I’m really excited to share with you my recipe for Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies!
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I’ve been having really bad cookie cravings since I caught a whiff of freshly baked cookies wafting out from Millie’s Cookies while I was walking around Westfield a few weeks ago…

I know you can buy gluten free cookies from the supermarket, but they’re not the same! You might think I am being picky, but supermarket versions are rather chunky and crunchy, not soft and chewy like the ones you can buy freshly made from bakeries.

I decided the only thing for it was to make my own and although I haven’t had a proper cookie in over three years, these cookies are exactly like what I remember! They have a slightly crunchy outside and a lovely soft and chewy centre bursting with chocolate chips.
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The trick to making the best chocolate chip cookies to make sure you don’t over bake them. I accidentally over baked the first few which made them a bit too hard, but if you take them out of the oven while they are still quite soft and leave them to set on the baking tray your cookies will retain their chewy centre.

Gluten Free American Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

175g gluten free self raising flour
100g rice flour
2 tsp cornflour
A pinch of salt
150g butter, melted
125g caster sugar
75g light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp milk
150g milk or dark chocolate chips

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flours and the sugar.

2. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract, egg yolks and milk. Mix until all the ingredients are combined then fold through the chocolate chips.

3. Wrap the cookie dough in cling film, then chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours until it has firmed up.

4. Heat oven to 180 degrees C/160 Fan/Gas Mark 3.

5. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment.

6. Separate the dough into pieces that weigh approximately 35g each and roll each one into a ball shape.

7. Place the balls of dough on the prepared baking trays making sure you leave room for the cookies to spread out as they bake.

8. Bake the cookies for 12 – 15 minutes. The cookies should be golden brown and will remain quite soft – don’t be tempted to bake them for longer.  If the cookies have puffed up a bit, gently press them down with your fingers a few times towards the end of the bake so you don’t end up with cookies which are too dense and cake like.

9. Leave the cookies to firm up on the baking tray then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Tis almost the season to be jolly, so I will have plenty of Christmas recipes coming real soon. In the meantime, come and follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else I’m getting up to!

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween is almost here which means it’s time to get perfecting those Halloween costumes and planning those Halloween bakes.

It’s no secret amongst my friends that I am the biggest scaredy cat. I am easily spooked and don’t do well with the grisly and gruesome side of Halloween; but give me pumpkin carving, cat costumes and treats galore and I’m a happy chappy!

Speaking of treats, today I’m going to share with you my recipe for Halloween Cupcakes.
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At Halloween everyone should be able to have a treat. I decided I wanted to create a delicious cupcake that would be suitable for those with multiple food intolerances and after a bit of experimenting I came up with a recipe which is both gluten free, egg free and can be made dairy free.

In case you’re wondering, cupcakes don’t really need eggs to work! After a little research and a few experiments, I found that using soya milk helps to bind the ingredients together and a little extra raising agent helps the cakes to rise.

For decorations, I used ‘Creepy Coins‘ from Tesco which are both gluten free and egg free, but are not suitable for those with dairy intolerance. For dairy free decorations, you could try making these cute marshmallow ghosts instead!
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Gluten Free/Egg Free Halloween Cupcakes (Dairy Free Options)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
150g gluten free self raising flour
150g caster sugar
20g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
55g butter (or dairy free spread/sunflower oil)
150ml soya milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Icing:
50g butter (or dairy free spread)
200g Trex (Crisco in America)
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For Decorations:
10 Halloween chocolates (I used ‘Creepy Coins’ from Tesco) OR
10 Marshmallow Ghosts (dairy free)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/Gas mark 3 and line a cupcake tin with 10 cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar and baking powder.

3. Add the butter, vanilla extract and soya milk and give the ingredients a quick stir but don’t worry too much about any lumps.

4. Pour the mixture into the cupcake cases until they are about two thirds full.

5. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, when they are ready the cupcakes should be firm to touch.

6. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.

7. In a large bowl, beat the vanilla essence, Trex and butter with an electric hand mixer until soft then add the icing sugar and beat until you are left with a light and fluffy icing.

8. Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a large 1 inch star nozzle, or one that is suitable for creating cupcake swirls.

9. Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe the icing onto each cupcake and decorate!

Come and follow me over on Instagram or Facebook to see what else i’m getting up to this Halloween!

Gluten Free Ginger Cake

Autumn is here and as the weather turns colder I look forward to all the flavours the new season has to offer. Gone are the summer fruits, in are the wintery comfort foods and what could be more comforting than slice of warm and spicy ginger cake?

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In my opinion, comfort food should be as fuss free and simple to achieve as possible. My ginger cake recipe is exactly that and requires no advanced techniques – simply mix the ingredients together and bake!

This cake certainly packs a punch and has a very strong spicy ginger flavour, so feel free to use less ginger if you’d prefer a milder flavour.

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Gluten Free Ginger Cake

Ingredients:
200g gluten free self raising flour
200g light brown sugar
2 – 3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
100ml strong black tea, cooled

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 then grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. In a large bowl: Mix together the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda.

3. In a separate bowl: whisk together the eggs, golden syrup and treacle.

4. Make a well in the centre of the ingredients, add the egg mixture, melted butter and tea then mix until you are left with a smooth and lump-free batter.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, when the cake is done it should be firm to touch.

6. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool before serving.

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This cake matures really well and tastes even better after a day or two. If you can wait, wrap your cake in some greaseproof paper and store it in an air tight container for at least 12 hours before you tuck in – the longer you leave his cake, the sticker it gets! This cake will be at it’s best for at least 5 days and keeps for up to 7 days, if stored properly in an airtight container.

Gluten Free Profiteroles (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

There’s only one week to go until the final of GBBO 2015 and we find out who the winner is. A few weeks ago I predicted that Ian, Tamal and Nadiya would be the remaining three bakers in the final, but it’s really hard to predict a winner because we all know that in the tent anything could happen! Tamal and Nadiya have been my favourites from the very beginning so I will be happy if either of them win.

Since my last post we have seen the remaining bakers tackle Patisserie in the Quarter-final and Chocolate in the Semi-final. Today I am going to share with you my recipe for gluten free Profiteroles which incorporates an element from both shows – Choux pastry and Chocolate!

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I always thought that Choux Pastry would be impossible to make gluten free but it’s actually very straight forward and not unlike making normal Choux!

I strayed slightly from the traditional method of making Choux by adding a small amount of baking powder – normally you would just use plain flour, but I’ve found that adding baking powder helps to give that extra little bit of oomph. This recipe is also Xanthan Gum free which is ideal for those who struggle to tolerate Xanthan Gum and other binding agents.

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Gluten Free Profiteroles 

For the Profiteroles:
60g gluten free plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
110ml cold water
1 to 2 eggs

For the filling:
350 ml double cream

For the topping:
100g good quality milk or dark chocolate
100ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 5.

2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Sift together the baking powder and flour in a small bowl then set aside.

4. Place a heavy bottomed pan over a low to medium heat, add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

5. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball.

6. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

7. In small bowl whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.

8. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the eggs a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the eggs whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

9. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until the pastry becomes smooth. You won’t need to add all the egg and you want to avoid making the mixture too runny as it will be difficult to pipe – the mixture at the right stage should stretchy and have some elasticity when you remove the electric mixer.

10. Transfer the mixture to piping bag and pipe little blobs onto the baking sheets a few cm apart – you don’t need to be too neat.

11. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the profiteroles have puffed up and are golden brown in colour – they should be crispy and quite dark in colour or they will go soggy when you fill them.

12. Whilst the Profiteroles are in the oven, make the chocolate topping so that it has time to cool. Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate the ingredients. Leave the mixture to cool in the fridge until required.

13. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and prick the base of each one with a cocktail stick to help release some steam. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

14. Whisk the cream with an electric hand mixer until it creates stiff peaks, then transfer to an icing syringe or a piping bag with a fine nozzle. Create a small hole in the base of profiterole and gently fill each one with cream – be careful not to do this too quickly as the the force could cause the pastry to tear.

15. Spread the cooled chocolate topping on the top of each profiterole, then arrange them onto a plate ready to be served!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the GBBO Final as much as I am, let me know what you’re going to bake in celebration in the comments below or come and see what I’m getting up to on Instagram or Facebook.

Gluten Free LadyFingers (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

I am really enjoying the current series of Bake off. Does anyone else think the challenges are even more difficult this year? It’s been great to see gluten free baking featured on the show and I wasn’t surprised that the bakers found gluten free bread so tricky!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a GBBO related bake, so today I am going to share with you my recipe for gluten free LadyFingers as featured on Victorian Week, as part of the Charlotte Russe Showstopper.

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LadyFingers, or Sponge fingers as they are also known, are a vital component of number of bakes, including trifle and tiramisu. They are made from a fatless sponge batter, so a good electric whisk or stand mixer is required to whip up enough air into the batter. I am also pleased to say this recipe is Xanthan gum free, perfect for those of you who struggle with Xanthan gum and other binding agents.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start planning your very own Charlotte Russe Showstoppers, complete with gluten free LadyFingers!

Gluten Free LadyFingers 

Ingredients: 

4 eggs, separated into egg whites and egg yolks
100g caster sugar
125g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops of lemon juice

Method:

1. Preheat 200 degrees c/gas mark 5.

2. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

3. In a large bowl: whisk the egg yolks with a electric hand mixer for a few seconds then add the half of the caster sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs for a few minutes until the mixture is very thick.

4. In a separate large bowl: whisk the egg whites with a few drops of lemon juice until the egg whites start make soft peaks. Add the rest of the caster sugar and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

5. Sift the flour into the egg yolk mixture, then fold the egg whites a bit of a time through the egg yolk mixture until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and you are left with a stiff batter.

6. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag which is fitted with a 1/2 inch nozzle.

7. Pipe the batter into 7cm long fingers leaving a good gap between each one to allow them to expand slightly.

8. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly golden brown.

9. Leave the fingers to cool on the tray for few minutes then use a palate knife to transfer them to a cooling rack.

Other recipes I’ve posted from this series of ‘Bake Off’ include my gluten free Madeira recipe and my gluten free Biscotti Recipe.

You can keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on Instagram or Facebook. I’m also pleased to announce I am going to be contributing the occasional recipe to the Daily Spectacle website and you can find both my gluten free Blueberry Muffin Recipe and my gluten free Maple and Pecan Granola Recipe there already!

Gluten Free Marmalade and Yorkshire Tea Loaf

Happy 1st of August, or, as we Yorkshire folk like to call it – Yorkshire Day!

As a Yorkshire lass I had to come up with something special to celebrate today and what could be more appropriate than this Gluten Free Marmalade and Yorkshire Tea Loaf?
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This loaf isn’t just the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, it actually contains tea, which helps to keep the cake nice and moist – what could be better and than a cake made out of tea?

The cake is also lightly flavoured with spicy ginger and orange and is smothered in a thick layer of marmalade glaze which, again, provides moisture and ensures the cake keeps well.

So, pop t’kettle, sit yer sen down and read on to find out how to make your very own Yorkshire Tea Loaf…

Gluten Free Marmalade and Yorkshire Tea Loaf

Ingredients

100g Sultanas
100ml Hot Strong Yorkshire Tea
225g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I used Doves)
1 tsp baking powder
100g Brown Sugar
Zest of 1 Orange
2 tsp ginger
50g butter, melted
3 tbsp, marmalade melted (1 tbsp for glazing the cake)
2 eggs

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/Gas Mark 3 then grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Place the sultanas in a bowl, pour over the tea then leave to soak.

3. Into a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder, then stir in the sugar, orange zest and ginger.

4. Add the eggs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of the melted marmalade to the dry ingredients, then pour over the tea soaked sultanas and beat until all the ingredients are combined.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin – don’t worry if the mixture is a little wetter than a normal tea loaf mixture should be as gluten free flour requires a little more moisture.

6. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until the cake is firm to touch.

7. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

8. While the cake is warm spoon over the remaining marmalade – which you can reheat a little if it’s cooled down.

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Happy Yorkshire Day!

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices Recipe

It’s summer and what better time of year for an afternoon tea party?

If you are looking for something gluten free and a suitably impressive bake to serve at afternoon tea, look no further than my delicate and delicious Vanilla and Coconut Slices recipe. 
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What could be more tempting than these cakes? They not only do they look attractive enough to serve at afternoon tea, but they are light enough and not too filling – leaving you more room for all those cucumber sandwiches!

The sponge itself is filled with desiccated Coconut and laced with Vanilla and the icing isn’t your traditional buttercream but a lighter version made with Trex – if you want to know how to make snow white buttercream then keep reading!

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices

For the sponge:
200g Caster Sugar
200g Butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)
250g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I used Doves) plus 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 – 5 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1/2 Vanilla pod deseeded (or 1 tsp of  vanilla extract)

2 large eggs

For the Icing:
25 g Butter (or dairy free spread)
100g Trex  (Crisco in America)
175g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1 tsp clear Vanilla essence (or put your deseeded vanilla pod into your icing sugar to flavour it)

plus
2 tbsp of toasted coconut to decorate.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease and line a square baking tin.

3. This is an all in one method – sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric hand whisk for 2 minutes then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat the mixture for a further 2 minutes or until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the mixture with a palate knife

5. Gently tap the tin on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles then bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the cake is risen, golden brown and is firm to touch.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning it out onto a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool completely while you make the icing and toast the coconut.

7. Place the coconut in a large oil-less frying pan over a medium heat. Gently toast the coconut until it is golden in colour.

8. In a large bowl, beat the vanilla essence (if using), trex and butter until soft.
Then add the icing sugar and milk and beat until you are left with a light and fluffy icing. 

9. Once the cake has completely cooled you can start to assemble the slices.
Firstly, trim the edges of the cake.
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10. Cut the cake down the middle into two halves then cut each half into 5 slices – You should be left with 10 slices in total
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11. Cut each slice in half horizontally ready to be filled with the icing.

12. Spread a generous layer of icing over the base of each slice then sit the other half of the sponge on top.

13. Spread icing over the top of each slice then gently sprinkle each one with the toasted coconut.
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These slices keep just fine in an airtight container and don’t need to be refrigerated – in fact, they were baked on the hottest day of the year so far which didn’t even cause them to collapse into a soggy mess!

I hope that if you have an afternoon tea party coming up that you will try my recipe. If you are looking for more gluten free baking inspiration check out my recipe page or keep up to date with what I’m making on Instagram or Facebook.

Coeliac Awareness Week: Gluten Free Cheese Scones

Here in the UK it is Coeliac Awareness Week and to help raise awareness of this important campaign I am posting very simple Gluten Free recipes to help any newly diagnosed Coeliacs get started.

My first post was my Victoria Sandwich Recipe and today I will be sharing my recipe for Gluten Free Cheese Scones.
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Scones are a true classic and a bake that should be in every baker’s repertoire. They are perfect for beginners (they were certainly the first thing I learnt to make) and possible to achieve Gluten Free – you just need to make sure the dough is moist enough!

Gluten Free Cheese Scones

This recipe makes approximately 8 scones.

Ingredients:
250g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
75g Butter, unsalted
Pinch of Salt
75g Mature Cheddar, plus extra for the top.
2 eggs (one for glazing)
75ml Milk

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C/Fan Oven 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6.

2) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3) Rub together the butter and flour mixture until you have a breadcrumb like texture, then stir through the cheese.

4) Add an egg and start to bring the mixture together using a wooden spoon.

5) Add the milk bit by bit and use your hands to bring the mixture together in a smooth dough.

6) Lightly dust a work surface with flour then roll out the dough to 3/4cm thick – don’t roll out the dough too flat or you will have very flat scones!

7) Place the scones on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Lightly brush the top of each scone with beaten egg then sprinkle over a little bit more cheese.

8) Bake the scones in a preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes until they are golden brown.

9) Leave the scones to cool on a wire rack or enjoy warm with lashings of butter! To refresh the scones, sprinkle them with a little cold water and gently warm them in the oven.

Please don’t forget to check out my Victoria Sandwich Recipe for Coeliac Awareness Week or if you are looking for more inspiration take a look at my Recipes Page.

You can also keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/titchyton/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/titchyton