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Gluten Free Scones and why I love Downton Abbey

Gluten Free Scones
I love everything that has a history and a tradition. Stories like Downton Abbey and recipes as old as time that have been passed down through the generations fascinate me.
When I watch the show,  I can imagine sitting with the Countess in the library having tea and Mrs. Patmore's beautiful little cakes and scones.
I decided to do some research to find a very old recipe for an English Scone that I could convert to gluten-free. Then I can curl up to watch the show with a scone and a cup of tea! How fun is that? 
I've found that the old recipes are the easiest to convert to gluten-free, but how do we know if we got it right? I asked my dear friend Mauveen from England for tips and this is what she said.....

Gluten Free Scones
Well, the first thing she said was that they were an odd shape. haha!  It seems our American triangles are not authentic and I should have used my biscuit cutter for a true English scone shape.

Gluten Free Scones
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Mauveen and I chatted about the food that they might have eaten at Downton and we swapped recipes! She told me that one difference is that her recipe doesn't call for an egg. I know many of you can't eat eggs and will appreciate that you can make a traditional scone without one.

If you want to try Mauveen's family recipe keep reading to the bottom. She also gave us some insight into English life and the foods that they enjoyed at tea time too.

I also learned that American scones are drier and heavier than the historical recipes. I tried to stay as true to the light tender texture of the vintage scone recipes as I could by using weights and Jules' lovely gfJules All-Purpose Flour.

I'm delighted with these scones. They are simply beautiful and not overly sweet or heavy with butter. They don't crumble when cut and I love them with a bit of butter and jam. Perfect for a tea party!

Compared to most scones these are very low in calories!

Next, I think I'm going to try converting English brown bread with gfJules flour. Stay tuned!

  • 1 1/2 cups (192 grams) gluten-free all-purpose flour, I used gfJules All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated organic cane sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons (40 grams) high-quality organic butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup (122 grams)  milk of choice
  • 1 large egg, (Note: I used an egg, but Mauveen later told me she never uses eggs. See her recipe below)
  • a bit of milk to brush tops
  • Additional- 8 tablespoons (80 grams) gluten-free flour for kneading, divided

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F/260 C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse several times to combine.
  2. Add soft butter and pulse 20-25 times until the mixture looks like sand.
  3. Turn out into a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, if using, and milk. Pour into the flour bowl and using a large spatula, slowly mix and turn to combine.
  5. The dough will be wet. As you turn it with the spatula it thickens. If too dry (or if deleting the egg) add a bit more milk, as needed, until you have a sticky dough that comes together.
  6. Note: This scone dough texture is different from traditional scones recipes, so don't be worried. Gluten-Free doughs are stickier so they can rise. Be sure to flour your hands, board, and knife to make it easier to handle.
  7. While the dough is still in the bowl sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of the Additional flour. Turn the dough gently with the spatula so it is covered with flour.  
  8. Turn the dough ball onto a board dusted with the remaining 4 tablespoons and knead gently 2-3 times. If you knead it too much it will get sticky again. You just want it to smooth out and form a ball.
  9. With floured hands or rolling pin, gently roll or press to flatten the ball to a thickness of 1/2 inch.
  10. Cut into triangles or the more traditional rounds with a floured biscuit cutter or knife. 
  11. Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with milk. Sprinkle with sugar.
  12. Savory option- delete sugar and add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and herbs of choice
  13. Reduce the heat to 425 degrees F/218 C.
  14. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
Mauveen on her visit to Florida for my birthday

Here's my dear friend Mauveen's scone recipe. She adds when I asked if scones were traditional tea-time pastries, the following insight:

"Yes, we eat scones, but they were for the downstairs staff and the middle and poorer people. Our scones are not very sweet nor have a lot of butter as sugar and butter was very dear to buy. We also sometimes add sultanas or cheese thus making them a bit sweeter or savory, then, of course, the aristocracy if they had scones would have our famous strawberry jam and clotted cream filling instead of butter.
Afternoon tea usually taken by the aristocracy was at 4pm, and of course, the finest tea would be served along with either thinly sliced brown bread and butter, or finely sliced cucumber sandwiches with crusts cut off all the bread, a light Victoria sponge cake with rose petal jam filling, and perhaps ginger or orange biscuits, in the winter it could be toasted crumpets or bread."

Basic Scones:
8 oz. plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1 oz. castor sugar
2 oz. butter
7 tablespoons fresh milk
Preheat oven to 220 C or 200 Fan. that is British temps.
Brush a baking sheet with a little melted butter.
Sieve flour, baking powder, and sugar into the mixing bowl, cut the butter into flour, and rub into the mixture very lightly until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add milk and using a knife, mix together to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead into a round ball, gently sift flour lightly over the ball and rolling pin, then gently roll out to a thickness of 1/2 in. Smoothing away any cracks with fingertips.
Cut the dough into rounds with a 2 and 1/2 in with floured pastry cutter.
Brush off any flour from pastry rounds and trimmings. then lightly knead trimmings together and repeat rolling and cutting as before.
Place on the baking sheet and brush tops with a little milk ( optional) place in preheated oven on the 2nd shelf from the top for 12 15 minutes.
If you want to add either sultanas or cheese then add the fruit or grated cheese after rubbing the butter into the mix and before you add the milk.
When cold cut open each scone with a sharp knife and spread butter or strawberry jam and clotted cream enjoy with a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.

I wish I had some of the clotted cream that you smuggled in your suitcase for me right now Mauveen and I wish you were here to eat them with me!  xo


  1. I LOVE me some Downton Abbey and these look AMAZING!!! Stumbled and pinned!

    1. Thanks Mandee, now we can share our thoughts on the insanity :) Loved the first episode except for Thomas...he drives me nuts!

  2. I totally want a scone now.

    I don't watch Downton Abbey, but I have tons of friends who do. I just said this to someone else ... ;) I'll share you on my FB page later, Ali. I'm sure people will love the recipe!! YUM!

    1. Thank you Andrea! We have you converted to a Downton groupie before you know it! xo

  3. These look amazing! I'm definitely going to have to try them! :)

  4. I am a huge scones fan! These look amazing! Can't wait to make them!

  5. These look so perfect, Ali! I could reach out and grab one right now :)

  6. I too am a Downton Abbey fan! I am thinking to make a recipe every week related to the show, Scones is definetly on the list. For what it's worth-jeannie

  7. Delicious!!!! Thanks for linking up to Two For Tuesdays!

  8. I just wanted to stop by and congratulate you for winning "Most Page Views" in last week's Two For Tuesdays link-up! :)

    1. Thanks Ash! That's wonderful. I will pop over and link up again today!

  9. It is very nice of you to share this love for old recipes with us. I would love to try it myself.


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