As promised, here is a recipe for biscuits made from Vivian’s Ancient Grain Muffin Mix. This post shares not only the recipe for some amazing gluten-free muffins, but the process, principles, and failures involved in transforming a regular biscuit recipe to a gluten-free biscuit recipe. I have bolded the principles to make it easier for you to find and remember them so you can apply them to your own baking.

After I purchased the Tree Street Grains company and learned some of the secrets of 100% whole grain, gluten-free flours, I wanted to figure out a Bisquik type mix that would be whole grain and perform better than what is on the market. I wondered if our Ancient Grain Muffin Mix would work with some adapting. As a quick test I took my mom’s biscuit recipe and plugged in the muffin mix.

Vivian’s Biscuit Recipe:

2 Cups Flour                      1 TSP Baking Powder

1 TSP Salt                         1/2 Cup Shortening

2 TBSP Sugar                   2/3  to 1 Cup Buttermilk

1/2 TSP Baking Soda

Directions: Mix dry ingredients together. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in shortening. Add buttermilk, a little at a time, until the ingredients are moistened and start to stay together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Pat or roll to ¾ inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350˚ until lightly browned.


Principles of baking I considered before starting:

  1. Generally, the proportion of baking powder to flour for quick breads is 1 tsp per cup. This is true of wheat flour and gluten free flours that have appropriate proportions of xanthan.
  2. Proportions of baking soda are ¼ tsp per cup of flour but may need to be increased depending on the volume of the acid in the recipe.

 What I Did

I replaced all the dry ingredients with 2 Cups Vivian’s Ancient Grain Muffin Mix then used the shortening and buttermilk amounts as directed. It made lovely biscuits with a nice texture and whole grain flavor. They were sweeter than traditional biscuits since muffins have more sugar than biscuits. They were very yummy.




Thought Process Before Starting

The proportions of leavening and xanthan were close, but not exactly right.  They were slightly diluted by the other ingredients like sugar. Also, my muffin mix did not contain baking soda. I did not know if the acidic buttermilk and decreased leavening would affect the texture, but proportions were close enough for a first attempt. I have used my mom’s biscuit recipe with quality gluten-free white flour before but whole grain is a little heavier. I usually make my recipes dairy free, but did not this time. It is my rule to change only one thing at a time in a recipe so if it fails I know what caused the failure. I figured I could replace dairy later if it worked.

The Ugly Scone Experiment

Since the first biscuits were sweet and had a lovely grain flavor, I thought it could be adapted to make cinnamon scones. The ugly scones pictured are the biscuit recipe with butter flavor shortening and an additional 3 TBSP Brown Sugar, 2 TSP Cinnamon, and a pinch of Ginger. The muffin mix contains vanilla so I didn’t add any. They are flatter than I wanted because I rolled them ½ inch thick rather than the recommended ¾ inch. They were absolutely delicious. I ate one plain and one with an almond glaze and then half another one just because it tasted good.




Biscuit Experiment #2

The original experiment was a straight across adaptation of a white flour recipe, but most scone recipes and many gluten-free biscuits recipes contain an egg.  In round two I added the same volume of milk plus one egg. This effectively increased the liquid volume so my dough was wetter and harder to work with. It required generous surface dusting to be workable. The pictured biscuits are different shapes because it was easier to cut them into squares than use a cutter.

I let the biscuits sit unbaked for 15 minutes at which point they were no longer sticky. This could have been done before cutting to make it easier.  Gluten-free batters and doughs need extra water to prevent graininess and are better if allowed to sit before baking to allow the moisture to be absorbed by the flour. 

These were the lightest and best textured of all trials because of the extra moisture and structure building capacity added by the egg.


Better Looking Scones


For future biscuits and scones I will use an egg, roll them thick, and allow the dough to stand before baking. For egg allergies, just leave the egg out or use a replacement. The biscuits are very good without it.

Based on this experiment and others I have done with biscuits, a traditional recipe using a good gluten-free flour will work decently as will whole grain flour with xanthan, and muffin mixes.  If you want to make it even better add an egg.

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