She still put them together with her capable hands, cut through the pillowy dough with an antique cutter given to her by her mother, and pulled the golden warmth from the oven to our oohs and ahhs. I remember standing beside her in the kitchen one day, when I was about seven or eight, and watching her hands make biscuits. They seemed so sure, so reassuring. I wondered if I would ever be that strong.
Now, I look down at my hands, almost exact replicas of my mother's at my age. And I wonder if, a few years from now, when I am making gluten-free biscuits inspired by the Raffi song, Little Bean will look at my hands and wonder what hers will look like when she is an adult.
I found this week that I had to create a gluten-free recipe that worked for me. The first two years of living gluten-free, I didn't really care that much about baked goods. But now that our darling, hilarious daughter is here, I realize I want to make her biscuits some evenings and have her ooh and ahh at the warmth I am pulling out of the oven with my hands.
Of course, the only problem with baking biscuits in this house after hearing that song is that gluten-free biscuits simply don't rise the way that regular biscuits do. Why? No gluten. That doesn't mean they can't be darned fine, however.
The egg white takes the place of the protein gluten provides to a baked good. Lately, I've been finding that just a bit of egg white gives strength and structure to gluten-free goods.
I'm pleased with the softness of these biscuits, the fluffy center with air holes, and the crispness of the bottoms. They're a little bit pillowy, and a little bit crusty. Frankly, I'm glad I found the recipe I like, because I have to stop eating so many biscuits now.
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg white
3/4 cup buttermilk (give or take a bit)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Combine all the flours, the baking powder, and the salt. Stir them up well so they are one. Sift them into a large bowl.
2. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop them into the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender (also known as a pastry cutter), or two forks if you don't own the fancier tool, cut the butter into the flours. You should have a good blend, with the butter the size of small peas, by the end.
3. Froth up the egg white with a fork or small whisk. You are not looking to make meringue here. Simply whip some air and volume into the egg white. Pour the egg white and the buttermilk into the dry mixture. Stir them in slowly with a rubber spatula, taking care to not overwork the dough. When the liquids are incorporated into the flours, stop stirring. Bring it all together with your hands.
4. Drop small balls of the biscuit dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I prefer these biscuits small, about the size of a plum, to help the middles bake through.) Slide the tray into the oven.
5. Bake the biscuits for about 20 to 25 minutes. Test for your own version of doneness.
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