Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread Scones

I am one of many whose ancestry is a fiery mix of Italian and Irish.  While I am heavy on the Italian side and light on the Irish, I do yield to my Irish side once per year.  It’s right around this time that I succumb to the traditional Irish fare of corned beef (minus the cabbage), carrots, potatoes, and soda bread.

While I really enjoy the subtle flavors of Irish Soda Bread, I don’t particularly care for its dryness.  The recipe that follows solves that problem nicely.  The result is a slightly cake-like scone that incorporates all of the traditional flavors of soda bread (caraway seeds & currants).  The addition of a cream glaze blurs the line between bread and dessert.  Honestly, this would be the perfect breakfast treat for St. Patrick’s Day morning.

Just a little side note about caraway seeds.  While some people include caraway seeds in their recipes for Irish Soda Bread, others do not.  I include them in mine.  They provide such a subtle, yet distinct flavor.  Soda bread just wouldn’t be the same without them.  I know there are some who do not care for “seeds” in their bread.  There is a very easy solution to that problem.  Simply place the seeds into a grinder (I have a coffee grinder that is dedicated to grinding herbs) and grind them into a fine powder.  Whether you decide to leave the seeds whole or opt to grind them, I think that you will enjoy the addition.

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread Scones
serves 8

2 cups gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum (I used Bob’s 1 to 1)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon double acting baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold salted butter, cubed
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided

Glaze:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup dried currants

Line a stainless steel baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Using a shallow 9″ x 13″ baking dish as your mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut sugar, caraway seeds, cinnamon, and baking powder.

Next, cut one stick of butter into small cubes.  I like to begin by cutting the stick lengthwise into thirds.  Then I roll the stick over and cut into thirds again.  Lastly I cut across the short side of the butter to cut cubes.  Place the cubes into the flour mixture.

This next step is really the key to producing buttery scones.  You want to work the butter into the flour without completely incorporating it.  Using either a sturdy fork, a pastry blender, or your hands, breakdown the butter into small pieces.  In the end there should be some pieces of butter that are pea-sized, others that are fine crumbs.  But at all costs you want to avoid creaming the butter completely into the flour.  This is why it is crucial to begin by using cold butter straight from the fridge.

Add in the currants and 1 cup of cream.  Using your hands fold the ingredients together.  Again, do not overwork the dough.  Simply turn the bottom ingredients over onto the top.  This repeated motion will bring the dough together.  Your finished product should look like this:

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.  Press the dough together into an 8″ wide circle.  Should look like this:

See those bits of butter?  That’s what you want.

Cut the dough into 8 sections.

Cover the sheet completely and tightly with plastic wrap or foil.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  I like to prepare the dough at night before going to bed.  Then I allow the dough to chill overnight.  This extra chilling process allows the butter to harden again.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Separate the scones leaving a bit of space between each.  Brush the tops with a generous amount of cream.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes prior to moving the scones to a cooling rack.

Allow to cool completely.

In a small bowl stir together the powdered sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons of cream.   Spread over the tops of the scones.  Immediately sprinkle the top of each glazed scone with some currants.  Allow to set for 15 minutes before serving.

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