Adapted from "Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free" by Karen Morgan
Makes:8 (2-inch) biscuits
Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, these wheat-free biscuits come together quickly. Take care not to overwork the dough: Even though there’s no gluten present to toughen things up, working the butter and shortening as little as possible ensures that the biscuits stay light and fluffy.
What to buy:Tapioca flour, also known as cassava flour, is made from the root of the cassava plant (a.k.a. yuca) and is often used as a thickening agent.
Sorghum flour is made from the sorghum grain and has a texture similar to whole-wheat pastry flour.
Guar gum is made from the seeds of the guar plant and is used in small amounts as a thickener and stabilizer.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for coating the pan and brushing on the biscuits
1/2 cuptapioca flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1/4 cupsorghum flour
1 tablespoonbaking powder
1 teaspoonguar gum
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, large dice
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, large dice
Salted butter, agave syrup, or fruit preserves, for serving
Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Using a pastry brush, coat a 9-inch round cake pan with half of the melted butter. Set the pan and the remaining melted butter aside.
Place the cornstarch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, guar gum, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the cold butter and vegetable shortening into the dry ingredients until they are pea-size pieces. Add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula just until the dough forms a ball.
Turn the dough onto a work surface dusted with tapioca flour and knead just until smooth, about 3 to 4 turns (do not overwork the dough). Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk about 6 inches in diameter.
Using a 2-inch round cutter dipped in tapioca flour to prevent sticking, cut out as many biscuits as possible. Form the scraps into another 1-inch-thick disk and continue to cut biscuits until you have 8 total. Discard the remaining scraps. Arrange the biscuits in a circle in the prepared pan about 1/4 inch apart (the center of the pan will be empty). Brush the tops of the biscuits with all of the remaining melted butter.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter, agave syrup, or preserves.