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Carol Kicinski
Try this foolproof recipe to make delicious, mile high gluten-free biscuits!

Gluten-free basics: mile high biscuits

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   I was recently asked in an interview “what keeps you up at night?” My answer was, “how can I do it better?” Whatever “it” is, I am always wondering if there couldn't be a better way, and easier way, a prettier way, a more foolproof way.
   Such is the case of biscuits. For months now it has been bothering me that while a high percentage of people who tried my gluten free biscuit recipe got good results there were a few that said theirs didn’t rise, crumbled, or as in one person’s case, were like hockey pucks!
   So I’ve come up with some tips to help you make foolproof, mile-high biscuits:
• A final product will only be as good as the ingredients you start with. I used Asian flours and tapioca starch in developing this recipe – Asian flours are milled very finely and do not make baked goods grainy or crumbly and are a whole lot cheaper than superfine flours.
• Make sure your baking powder is fresh, it has a shelf life of anywhere from 6 to 12 months but things such as humidity and moisture can affect it. To test if your baking powder is still “active” place ½ a teaspoon in a bowl and pour ¼ cup of boiling water on it, if it bubbles up violently and immediately, your baking powder is good. If not, toss it and get some fresh.
• All biscuits need some sort of fat cut into the flour, a combination of shortening and butter works best. Your butter should be cold. I cut mine into small pieces and then stick the piece into the freezer for a few minutes, this really chills it.
Gluten-Free Mile High Biscuits
Makes 7 giant biscuits
1½ cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
½ cup sweet rice or glutinous rice flour plus more for kneading
½ cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
5 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter, optional
   Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
   Combine the white rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice (glutinous) flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces. Add the egg and buttermilk, pulse to combine. Flour a work surface generously with sweet rice flour, dump the dough onto the flour and knead several times until the dough is no longer sticky.
   Pat the dough into a circle a full 1 inch thick; the circle will not be very large in diameter. Cut out 3-inch biscuits using a well-floured cookie cutter or the top of a drinking glass. Place the biscuits into a cast iron skillet or non-stick 9-inch round cake pan. Reform the scraps and cut until the dough is used, you should have seven 3-inch by 1-inch biscuits.
   Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes then reduce the temperature to 450 and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until a light golden brown on top. Brush with melted butter if desired.

• I used a food processor to combine my ingredients and cut in the shortening and butter. If you don’t have one, you can do this by hand just work quickly and don’t overwork the dough.
• Use a ruler to measure how tall your round of dough is, you would be surprised what we think is one inch and what really is one inch. Cut your biscuits with a well-floured cookie cutter or drinking glass. You want to press straight down with the cutter, do not twist it. Twisting the cutter when cutting out the biscuits seals the dough and prevents the biscuits from rising.
• Bake your biscuits in either a cast iron skillet (the best!) or if you don’t have one, a cake pan, I find the extra support from the pan helps the biscuits reach the moon.
• Steam helps things rise which is why you start baking these biscuits at 500

degrees. You then reduce the temperature a bit to cook the biscuits through.
• A little melted butter makes almost anything better so I brush a bit on my biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven.
• I did not test this recipe dairy free but I think it can easily be done by making the following substitutions: Substitute the powdered milk with powdered soy milk. Use one stick of dairy free butter substitute for the butter. If the dairy free butter is salted, reduce the salt in the recipe. Replace the buttermilk with a dairy free version, put a tablespoon of white vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, add enough of your favorite dairy free milk to make 1 cup, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.