Vegan, Gluten Free Almond and Goji Berry Scones with Raw Strawberry Goji Jam

by Gena on April 29, 2012

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I recently decided that, for the most part, baked goods I share on this blog will be gluten free. I say “for the most part” because I do genuinely love whole wheat and spelt flour, and find that some recipes fare much better than with them than with GF flours. That said, each time I bake I get so many overwhelming requests for a GF option that I’ve started to think it’s best to bake GF from the get-go! Yes, I could just say “whole wheat pastry flour or use a GF mix,” and that’s what I’ve done historically, but I know for a fact that the modification process isn’t always so easy. I often see recipes for baked goods that say “4 eggs, or use flax eggs,” and they make me chuckle to myself; flax eggs may be a great replacement, but they’re not exactly the same as regular eggs, and it’s unlikely that a recipe calling for as many as four eggs will work the same way with flax.

Anyway, my point is that I can’t always give GF options to those who need them without testing the alternative recipe myself first, and I don’t often have time to make double batches of baked goods. So at the least, I’ll do my best to showcase way more GF baked goods here at CR from now on. I myself don’t have celiac disease—I was tested back in the days of my IBS crisis just to be sure, and have never discerned a troublesome connection between eating wheat/gluten and my overall feelings of wellness—but I am always happy to experiment with alternative and wholesome flours, like almond flour, legume flours (fava and garbanzo are my faves) and buckwheat or quinoa flour. This is a pleasant baking challenge for me!

I have to say, I’m impressed with these scones. They were a wonderful lesson in how kitchen accidents can turn into triumphs, as I originally intended for them to be cookies. When I baked them, I realized that they were far too crumbly to be cookies. But they were delicious, slightly moist on the inside, and just dry enough on the outside to break apart nicely.

In other words, they were scones.

I love scones. And I’m pleased to tell you that this was my first successful vegan version. Scones are traditionally made by cutting cold butter into flour, as if you were making pastry. As you’ll see, my process for these scones is far more similar to the one you’d use to make cookies, which was my original intention. But the resulting baked good is decidedly scone-like, and I guarantee you that it will impress even devoted lovers of traditional high tea. And unlike traditional scones, these scones are vegan, gluten free, free of ultra-refined sugar, and full of healthy fat from almond milk and slivered almonds. Plus, they’ve got a tiny, nutrient dense surprise inside: goji berries.

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Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are famous in health circles for their high antioxidant content and relatively high amount of protein. They’re also quite popular in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). As with all “superfood/superfruit” claims, I consume with a grain of salt, but I do love choosing out dried fruits that are shown to have more nutrient density than, say, raisins, and so I enjoy using goji berries, goldenberries, and the uber-delicious mulberries in my recipes. This recipe was the perfect place for gojis, which plump up nicely in the cooking process.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Almond Goji Scones (vegan, gluten free, soy free unless you use soy milk, no ultra-refined sweetener, low glycemic…phew!)

Makes 8 scones, or 20 mini scones

1 1/2 tbsp flax meal + 4 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour blend
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut crystals
1/2 cup goji berries
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup almond, coconut, rice, or soy milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the flax meal and water and set aside.

2. Combine the flours, baking soda and baking powder, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl.

3. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, “cream” the coconut oil and coconut crystals together. It’s OK if the oil has melted – just mix with the mixer anyway – but it’s easiest if it’s in its solid form, with a texture similar to butter. Add the non-dairy milk of choice and keep mixing. Add 1/2 of the dry mixture and mix to incorporate. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the goji berries and almonds, and mix to incorporate it all. Your texture should be thick, and it should remind you of cookie dough.

4. Divide dough into 8 portions on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with coconut oil or lined with parchment. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until scones are golden brown (mine took exactly 12 minutes). Serve with fresh jam, or try my recipe for raw strawberry goji jam, below!

Raw Strawberry Goji Jam (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 1 cup

2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup goji berries, soaked in warm water for at least 3 hours and drained

Dehydrate strawberries for 6 hours or so at 115 degrees. Transfer to a food processor and pulse, along with the goji berries, till smooth but still retaining a tiny bit of texture. Use wherever you’d use “normal” jam!

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So delicious!

And isn’t the texture spot on? This recipe proves that vegan and GF baking is far easier than one might think.

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What a wonderful, tasty, and easy breakfast recipe! Perfect for Mother’s Day brunches, too. Those’ll be here before we know it.

Note that I used coconut crystals as my sweetener in this recipe. After hearing a lot of great things about its low glycemic index score, I’ve been curious to try the sweetener out. I liked it a lot, and will definitely use it again, though I want to note that coconut crystals are definitely costly. If you need a cheaper alternative, you can try agave or regular demerara sugar, or you can even use a mix of demerara sugar and a stevia baking blend or a xylitol baking blend; this is often what I do when I want to cut down on the sugar in a recipe while retaining the sweetness.

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No matter what, I hope you enjoy these wonderful, crumbly little treats.

I’ll see you guys back here tomorrow!

xo

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan Thomas April 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

These look terrific! Definitely a gf/vegan success. I know just what you mean about flax eggs and flour substitutions. It’d be lovely to think everything could be as simple as a 1:1 relationship but the world is never that simple. I’m just waiting for someone to ask if you can substitute flax into a scrambled egg recipe.

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Ela April 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Scrambled egg flax, lol, Evan! I’m sure it does get asked… That said, though, Ener-G egg replacer has scramble recipes on the side of the box. Not appealing to me at all, so I’ve never been tempted to try it!

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bitt April 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I’ve been asked. I just laughed.

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Amber Shea @Almost Vegan April 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm

These look great! Love the jam, too…I’m a jam fiend.
A slightly-cheaper alternative to coconut crystals is to use coconut palm sugar (like this. Delicious!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Scones can be tricky even when making them with butter and eggs. Great conquer on this vegan version. With that jam, they look even more inviting :)

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The Delicate Place April 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

yes. i have so much trouble with gluten free baking so i don’t do it very often. i either get something far too wet or dry and crumbly! i have seen those crystals in the store and always wondered about them. tj’s just came out with some maple crystals (obviously cheaper but def not low on the GI scale i’m sure). are you free from orgo hell yet? :)

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Gena April 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Re: Orgo, see my response to Ela, below (last part).

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Ela April 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Gena, I was looking forward to your post! These sound lovely.
Two points, and then two bakerly questions/suggestions–first, that’s awesomely gracious that you’re planning on doing so much gf baking–I note the chorus of gf-option questions whenever you post a non-gf recipe and feel for you.
But second, and more important, I’m _so glad_ you made it clear that you’re not getting on the “gf bandwagon” yourself. I think the perception of gf as a fad, with every healthy living personality jumping on, is so damaging for those of us who are truly allergic. Even up here in the boonies a friend of mine had heard something on the radio and brought it up to me that apparently avoiding gluten was just a fad. I told him I couldn’t argue with sick for two days after accidentally ingesting a crumb… Thank you.

OK–bakerly questions: 1) Have you tried Palm Shortening? It’s made from palm oil, so it’s high Vitamin E and very low polyunsaturated fat (i.e. won’t go trans) and its texture is just a little softer than butter. I’m wondering whether that might work in the “scone” context also.
2) It’s a lovely serendipity that you ended up with scones, but if you did want to try cookies again, maybe add a teaspoon of xanthan gum to the flour mix, and some dry Ener-G egg replacer even, and it should end up less crumbly.

Are you out of the orgo woods yet?
love
Ela

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Gena April 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Ela,

Bakerly questions:

1) I’ve been avoiding palm oil (and Earth Balance) because of the orangutan business. But I am dying to try Bryanna Clark Grogan’s “buttah” for that very reason!

2) Great to know. Thank you :)

GF:

Thanks for noticing my careful clarification :) I’m so glad that GF awareness is becoming so widespread, but to be honest, I think that there’s a lot of dangerous confusion right now about the realities of gluten avoidance, too. I recently heard someone saying that she’s “gluten free till dinner,” and I was stunned: that kind of remark only perpetuates the idea that giving up gluten is some sort of healthy living trend, rather than a necessary sacrifice made in the face of a serious allergy and/or autoimmune disease. I also think it’s helpful for people to get tested, rather than reading about GF diets and embarking upon them without a sense of whether or not it’s a health necessity. If you are not allergic to gluten, by getting tested you’ll spare yourself the process of eliminating some wholesome and healthy whole grains (like barley and spelt and farro) from your diet, and if you are allergic, you can proceed with the necessary amount of caution and diligence.

I got tested mostly as due diligence; as someone with serious IBS, I wanted to eliminate it as a possibility. But I also didn’t really suspect that I had a problem with gluten in the first place. So while I know the blood tests are imperfect, I also feel very confident that my results were in keeping with a legitimate absence of allergy. Of course, I’m totally mindful not to consume processed gluten in excess, just as I’m mindful of avoiding excess amounts of processed soy, even though I am not allergic.

Anyway, all to say: legitimate gluten allergy is serious business, and while everyone is entitled to eat what they want, I think that people should be clear about their language and motives for giving up gluten, lest Celiac be taken lightly.

Orgo:

Well I’m failing the class, gloriously and unambiguously. Which is tricky, because I don’t know what I would do if I were told to take the class again. I couldn’t take it here at Georgetown, because if there is anything I’m certain of in the universe, it is that I cannot improve my performance in this man’s class. It is designed to crucify anyone who doesn’t have a natural aptitude for the subject matter, and I have done every single thing he suggests for self-improvement. Beyond that, I don’t know that I can go through the whole experience twice. At this point, the class is making me physically and emotionally sick; my IBS is coming back, and I threw up after the last test.

If he curves the class compassionately and I get a C, then I’m applying to med schools with a C in Organic Chemistry II, and that is that. I’m told it’s a liability, but I don’t care. I’ve always known med school was a gamble, and as devastating as it would be not to go, I also am not willing to take Orgo II again unless I fail. If worse comes to worse, there are lots of things I could do with my life.

Sorry for the ramble, friend. You asked :)

xo

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Abby April 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Re: Orgo.
I have no idea what you’re going through, but I just wanted to tell you to hang in there (lame, but whatever.) From what I know of you, you put 195 percent into everything you do, so knowing you’ve done all you can do is sometimes all you can bank on. Anything–even something as important as this class–isn’t more important than your physical and mental well-being.

I know it’s trite and like I said, I’m lame, but I just wanted to offer support. You’ll rock anything you do. Carry on ;)

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bitt April 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’ll be rooting for a curve! Only way I passed chemistry, and it wasn’t at Georgetown and it wasn’t even orgo chem!

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daphna April 30, 2012 at 12:52 am

Gena, is there a chance of dropping the class now (even with a W on your transcript) and taking it somewhere easier next year? I had the same experience–I just could not be successful where I was at and retook it at a different, less-rigorous school the next year. I got a research job during that year and used it to study for my MCAT and take another bio class. Yes, it sucked to push my plans back a whole year but it was worth it. There is literally no orgo in medicine. And the good thing about med school is that it does respond quite nicely to effort, not just innate “getting it.” Take care!!

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Gena May 1, 2012 at 6:17 am

Thanks, Daphna dear. I appreciate it. I think my advisor seems quite against me dropping, which may be a sign that my predicament with this particular class is common, and that he’s likely to curve. I’m going to finish it out and see if indeed a curve can save me, though I have already decided that, if I do have to take it again, I will do so, at another school. Possibly even a community college, though we’ll see. Thanks for chiming in; it’s nice to know that someone else had the experience of simply not being able to beat one prof’s class.

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elise May 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

first off, im sending huge uplifting thoughts your way because i know how horrible orgo is, as well as feeling completely broken down by a certain subject despite every effort. i really do think a curve could be your saving grace, i got a 17 (out of 100) on a midterm at ucla which wound up being a c. its just some sick thing professors do to us. i dont know why. it sucks. because i needed some kind of positive reinforcement and encouragement (to remind me that im not an idiot) i ended up taking a few courses (anatomy for one) at a community college and i freakin aced the sh!t out of the course. i highly recommend you do this, if for no other reason than to boost your ego. seriously. its necessary.
HUGS!!!!

Dreena Burton April 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Gena, these scones look just amazing! I too love the combination of strawberries and gojis (did a couple of strawberry/goji combos in the new book). The strawberries heighten the berry-like flavor of the goji berries, doesn’t it? And also balances out that slightly earthy essence they have (that not everyone digs on first taste)! I also love coconut sugar, its flavor is so caramel-like, and it always ‘feels’ better when I use/eat it.

I have a feeling your own mom might be requesting this for Mother’s Day. :)

Beautiful job! hugs!!

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Ali Seiter April 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Num num, these look great! I’m glad you addressed using coconut crystals, though I’m still a bit hesitant to use them. In regards to how refined they are, could you compare them to another natural sweetener?

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Gena April 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Not that different from demerara cane sugar, honestly!

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Sarah April 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This is such a cool recipe! This’ll sound a bit naive, but I thought scones were just something we made over here in the UK. I never heard mention of them when I lived for a spell in Tennessee. Yum!

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Hannah April 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Uk and US scones are quite different – I think Americans ones are what we call shortbread?

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Sarah April 30, 2012 at 10:44 am

Ah – that would explain it!

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Charity Lighten April 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

These looks fabulous! Thanks for sharing :)

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bitt April 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

LOVE that you will be doing more GF! I do think that people are going overboard, but the amount of gluten in wheat is going up (due to poor farming) and some people are sensitive to it even if they aren’t celiac. Thanks also for saying that recipes can just be replaced with Gf flour, etc. Just like the vegan recipe with a flax egg, I hate that. It’s become a huge blogger cop-out lately. I really appreciate the people who take the time to stand behind the recipes and don’t hand out substitutions ideas without playing around with them first. GF flour isn’t cheap and to waste it on a failed recipe isn’t fun.

You wrote, “GF flour” for the recipe, do you mean an all purpose blend? I think that would be good to clarify since GF baking is such a science, each flour and starch does something really different.

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wendy@healthygirlskitchen April 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm

These look amazing! Wish I had almond flour in the house!

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wendy@healthygirlskitchen April 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

What do you think of succanat? I purchased the coconut crystals once and they were fine, but with the price tag, it just wasn’t worth it!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Goji berries are truly amazing! One of the primary benefits ( along with high antioxidant content) is that they help in boosting the immune system and help us stay healthy for longer.
The polysaccharides in goji berries works wonders with the pituitary gland and stimulates it to release the Human Growth Hormone (The main hormone which controls others and can even reverse the effects of aging, making us look and feel younger).

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Megan April 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Gena, I saw your post about Orgo. Don’t give up! I am a veterinarian. My first year of undergrad I was placed in “Organic Chemistry for Chemistry Majors”. It was hell, and I figured I wasn’t cut out for vet school. Turns out you really don’t need Orgo to be an amazing doc ;) and as it were I eventually figured out how to pull a B in Orgo 1 and an A in Orgo 2. If I lived remotely close to you is be more than happy to help you out, but I think maybe what would be more helpful is to say maybe you should consider taking the class elsewhere? I have a lot of friends that struggled with one prof in that class but did fine when they took the class with someone different. Anyways, your vision of what you’d like to do as a (human) doctor is too beautiful to give up on. The world needs more MDs like the one you would be! But I know what you’re going through with that hellish class!!!

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Gena April 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thanks, Megan :) You’re lucky you did so well! As I said to Ela, I am unambiguously failing the class. I can take it elsewhere, yes, but post-bacc schedules are very tricky, and alas, no place offers it in the fall. I’m thinking about community college, though I doubt that’ll pass muster with my advisor. We’ll see. I’m also running short on money. At this point, I’m just praying for a curve.

So appreciate the vote of support.

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Megan April 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

I got my grades on curves, so here’s to that!!!

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Rebecca April 30, 2012 at 12:31 am

Good luck with the Orgo – I know it’s SO cliché, but it’s so true that everything really is meant to be, and whatever happens, the universe will make sure it all works out for you, I am sure. Just don’t let the stress affect your health (I know, the IBS pot calling the kettle black ;) Easier said than done, but keep that smile on your face (easy if you keep making delicious scones like this – can’t wait to try them! But will have to wait until this summer when I am in a country with such luxury items as “GF flour blend,” “coconut crystals” and good quality goji berries, I can’t wait! :) And thanks for the GF recipes. Funny, I used to poke fun at all of these gluten-free people, then I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy! Some French doctors “don’t believe in” gluten allergies, so ridiculous, but so great to see that even here, many restaurants are providing options so slowly but surely! Good luck with your orgo adventures and, on the bright side, your orgo stress seems to produce great recipes to share with your loyal fans all over the world so look at the bright side! :)

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Christine (The Raw Project) April 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

These look wonderful, love the use of Goji berries! I haven’t had scones in a long time because it’s so tricky finding vegan ones, I want to try these! Good luck with Orgo, hang in there!

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sandra April 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi Gena,
Can I replace brown sugar or normal sure, were I live it is very difficult to get any sort of “health” products. Its hard to get agave, and coconut crystals impossible.
Thanks

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Ricki April 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

These are SO much my kind of scones!! And I’ve been on a bit of a goji kick lately, so these will fit right in. Must-try! :D

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Robyn May 1, 2012 at 12:06 am

I know you how you feel Gena, but to a much lesser degree. I hope you can somehow retake the class, or whatever is meant to be will be. You’re so smart, a great writer, and resourceful, that I know you’ll figure it out and make it work. It’s really admirable for you to decide on taking a completely different career path than what you were on and working so hard at achieving it. Let’s hope he grades on a curve!

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elise May 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

ummm yeah…i saw a recipe last week that said vegan and gf modifications listed…and when i scrolled down it was basically an entirely new recipe (swap eggs for flax eggs, swap flour for gf blend, swap butter for oil, swap everything for something else…). im like, thats not a recipe!!! so thank you.
ps if you can try and keep the bean flours (fava/chickpea) to a minimum it would be awesome bc my GI tract doesnt like them…im all about the brown rice/oat/potato combo since im a sorghum failure lately.
pps i must have missed your post on cafe green because otherwise i surely would have avoided it. is java green just as hopeless?? so sad.

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bitt May 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

oh i hope you don’t keep bean flours to a minumum! i can’t do other grains that much and so the bean flour ones are important. or just keep the balance that you have been doing. even everyone who is GF has different needs.

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RawGuru May 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Goji berry jam?! Holy moly i’m in heaven already. I don’t do any baking anymore but your photographs and the scone recipe have inspired me to maybe bust out the oven for this one. I bet they are delicious with the coconut crystals too. It’s so rainy today, perfect day to curl up with a book, some tea, and scone with goji berry jam!

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Melbourne Physiotherapist May 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

Gena, this looks really delicious. This is a healthy snack that anyone can truly enjoy. Hopefully I will have the time to do this cookie recipe “Free Almond and Goji Berry Scones with Raw Strawberry Goji Jam” over the weekend. Hope to see more of these recipes from you!!!

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Simone May 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

I haven’t baked in AGES but seeing the photos switched some sort of baking light on inside me and I HAD to make them!

Like someone from the UK said above, I think scones in the US are also different to what we consider scones in Australia. But these are just like yummy biscuits. I didn’t have flax so used a chia water mix using the same quantities and this worked. plus I added dates with the gojis – yum! Thanks for inspiring me to get my baking back on! :)

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Elyse May 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm

These were delicious! I made these with one sub and I have a couple questions as well. I didn’t have almond flour so I used oat flour, seemed to work ok (we don’t have any gluten sensitivities at this point). I didn’t see where to add the flax seed so I did it before I added the dry ingredients. Also, 1/4 cup milk wasn’t enough to bring it all together; I had to add about 1/3 cup more. I really enjoyed them, even without jam (note to self: buy jam!).

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Tamar May 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I made these today and just added the flaxseed mix at the end. I also used a mix of gluten free flour (Bob’s Red Mill) and a bit of the brown rice flour because I ran out of the gluten free mix. I thought about using coconut flour too, as I have that on hand, but opted for the rice flour instead. I also subbed dried white mulberries (delicious!) for the goji berries. I love gojis but they are $29.99/lb at Whole Foods!! (Mulberries were only 4.99/lb). Anyway, did everything else the same, and they are/were so delicious!!! These are going to be added to the rotation. Thanks Gena!

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Rachel September 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

These are great! I made them today. I added more (cashew) milk, because I thought the mixture was dry – turns out I had forgotten the flax egg! Once I added that, I had to add about a half cup additional almond flour to adjust the mix. I used brown rice flour instead of the GF. Delicious! Having with miso-maple coconut butter and berry goji chia jam. YUM.

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Gena September 26, 2013 at 6:18 am

Hooray! Glad you liked them.

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Terri March 26, 2014 at 2:18 am

I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future.
Cheers

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