This family-favorite scone was initially born out of a suitcase of freshly pickled lemons hauled back from California. Hold on, Minnesotans. Can you even imagine having a lemon tree in your backyard? Cue some tears, me neither, but it sure sounds dreamy. Seems fitting that nine years later, I’d revamp this recipe for gluten-free blueberry scones after my first handpicking of blueberries on the most charming farm in Minnesota.
Speaking of, this morning last week was magical.
I whispered to Tim across the Patriot blueberry bush that it felt like we were in the library or a museum. Instead, we were quietly picking blueberries on a hill as the morning sun broke through clouds and fog. What?! And almost everyone else was in their rows “working” and whispering too. You know when something is just something you can’t quite describe? And you feel you should keep your voice hushed as you take it all in?
It was everything I love about my life right now. I recently said this aloud to my therapist. And then she made me stop there and sit with the thought for longer than I was comfortable. Did you hear what you said? Yes, I did, and yes, I meant it.
There’s something full-circle about picking your food from an actual farm field and bringing it to your table. Not to mention the gratitude you feel for the hard work already done on the land to give you fruit this fresh. One can’t help but dream of how to eat it now and later. What will I make first and next? How many should I pick?
How do I pick blueberries?
Straightaway, we were led to our assigned area and handed the tiny picking pails. The U-pick coordinator showed us how to pick the entirely blue berries and to skip the partially red ones that weren’t ripe and still too tart. It was pretty simple to pop off the ripe ones with your thumb into your palm, or as we taught our little friends on our return visit, just use your pincher fingers! Do you know how intuitive this was for the 1-year-old?
So, we walked along, searching for the all-around blue and plump berries to pick. We succeeded, most of the time–kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!
Where do I pick blueberries?
Aaron Wills and Molly McGovern Wills own and operate Little Hill Berry Farm, where they grow organic berries and much more, in Northfield, MN. What started as a couple of blueberry plants in 2011 has turned into a thriving U-pick farm and gathering grounds for things like yoga, family nights, and plant sales. Specifically, you’ll find blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and currants, along with pumpkins and native grass stips too. These thriving fruits and vegetables are neatly planted up the hill with a soft grassy aisle between the varieties. As I’m learning from their newsletter, they’re often collaborating and experimenting with additional fruits and plants.
All in all, we picked for about an hour, gently dumping our pails to a total of seven pounds, give or take a few lost snacking on the way home.
The first bake became the gluten-free blueberry scones with lemon glaze I’ve wanted to rework. They’ve come a long way since I made them nine years ago. At the time, the only scones I loved were from Moose & Sadie’s (R.I.P. to their coffee shop and my gluten years there). While usually mixed with dried fruits and nuts, their magic was in the dough. It had a soft and short buttery crumb texture, unlike most scones I’d had, but they weren’t gluten-free.
What ingredients make these gluten-free blueberry scones our favorite recipe?
Lemons: When I came home with my suitcase of California lemons in 2013, Evie discovered a two-year-old love for squeezing lemons, and I let her make a mess doing it. We made everything we could with fresh lemon juice that week. There was Ina’s lemon cake, this lemon vinaigrette, and experiments in scones that led to finding Tyler Florence’s scone method with a glaze on top. We kept a version of his lemon glaze that soaks into the crispy top and adds just the right amount of tart and sweet.
More cream than butter. I also noticed that Tyler’s scones called for more cream and less butter than most recipes I’d researched. The greater cream than butter fat ratio makes them the perfect soft and melt-in-your-mouth crumb I’d loved so much from Moose & Sadie’s, the exact opposite of the dry and taste-like-baking-powder scones we all try to avoid.
Gluten-free flour blends: The texture of baked goods is the challenge when baking gluten-free. In all honesty, gluten-free flours can sometimes taste like sand. IYKYK! While my goal is rarely a perfect gluten substitute when making a gluten-free recipe, I want to love what I eat. If not, why bother? I experiment with an open mind and hope to create something new and delicious with a classic recipe’s essential tastes and textures.
Making this gluten-free blueberry scone wasn’t as simple as replacing the gluten flour with just any of the gluten-free cup-for-cup flours I often use. Therefore, we made them with our box of berries multiple times, playing with ingredients each time. This scone worked best with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, and I love how they turned out.
The freshly baked farm-picked berries burst with juice in this buttery and creamy dough. If you’re lucky, these gluten-free blueberry scones taste like you picked them on a blueberry hill.
Gluten-free Scones: Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! The scones without the glaze are not very sweet, with only two tablespoons of sugar added. You can keep them plain as more traditional scones are and serve with butter and jam if you like.
Yes! After cutting the dough into wedges, place scones in a parchment-lined freezer dish putting parchment between layers if you need to stack them. Freeze in a tightly covered container. When ready to bake, remove however many scones you would like, brush with cream, and bake for 24-25 minutes.
Yes, but don’t thaw or over-mix as the blueberries will crush and turn your scones blue! Just add them to your flour mixture frozen and proceed with your recipe.
If for breakfast, we love a side of soft-scrambled eggs, and if you are making it a more substantial brunch, we’ll add breakfast sausage or bacon and some seasonal fruit and roasted vegetable like asparagus.
Sure! Skip the egg and one less tablespoon of butter.
gluten-free blueberry scones
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour in this recipe.
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons diced unsalted butter kept chilled
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup rinsed and air-dried blueberries
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, about 1 lemon finely zested. (Save the lemon to juice for the glaze.)
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse to combine. If you don't have a food processor, whisk in a large bowl to blend. Add lemon zest and pulse again to combine or whisk into the flour mixture if using a bowl.
- Add chilled cubed butter and pulse until butter is mixed with flour into coarse crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or forks until mixed into coarse crumbs. (Sometimes, I use my clean fingers to press the butter into flour, crumbling between fingers, so no large butter chunks remain.)
- If using a food processor, dump the flour and butter mixture into a large bowl. Gently toss in dry blueberries.
- Whisk cold cream and egg together in a measuring cup.
- Make a well in the center of the blueberry and flour mixture. Pour cold cream and egg mixture into the well and gently scrape and pull spoonfuls of flour into the cream to mix and turn over. Stir and scrape carefully to mix but not crush the blueberries until all flour mixture is incorporated.
- When the dough has just come together and is sticky, scrape it onto a piece of parchment paper and carefully press dough together into a circle about 7 inches in diameter.
- Wrap the circle in parchment and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to chill and gently firm the dough.
- When 10 minutes is up, remove the dough and open it onto a cool pastry board, marble counter, or cutting board lightly dusted with flour.
- Cut the dough into triangles like a pizza and place each scone on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly brush the top of each scone with heavy cream.
- Bake for 20-23 minutes until the tops are lightly brown across the top. Test through the middle with a toothpick. If the toothpick is wet, or squish down in the center if tapped with a finger, let your scones bake for 1-2 more minutes as needed.
- Cool the scones on the sheet pan for a few minutes. Then transfer the scones to a cooling rack while you make the glaze.
- Whisk together lemon juice and sifted powdered sugar until no lumps remain.
- Melt butter and whisk warm melted butter into the glaze.
- Set scones on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet to collect the drips. Drizzle warm glaze over the scones as desired. Let glaze set for a couple of minutes before serving.
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I’ve always loved how Robert McCloskey captures the beauty of blueberry picking with his classic, “Blueberries for Sal.” I feel like I lived it firsthand these past couple of weeks, minus the bears! Have you read this gem of a book lately? You’re never too old (or human) for a picture book. Find a copy, borrow mine, or get your own copy and share it with someone you love.
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Last Updated on August 12, 2022 by Heather Bursch