Gluten-free Scones

My son and I both need gluten-free foods, so I adapted Sienna’s Southern Scone recipe from Tea & Crumples for the gluten-free crowd. I used Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Flour Blend as the base flour, but you can try your favorite gluten-free flour blend. Make sure it already has added gums, or add your own.

2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
3 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ -1 teaspoon sea salt
½ Cup unbleached sugar (or coconut sugar)
3/4 Cup heavy cream, plus extra for coating
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 cup nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a cast iron skillet with ghee or butter, and set it aside. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars. Cut butter into little pieces and press with hands into flour mixture until it is incorporated. It will resemble coarse bread crumbs. Add nuts/fruit/choc. chips if desired. Add eggs, vanilla, and heavy cream. Stir with fork just until dough forms. It will probably take less than ten turns. Dough might be a little sticky.

Press into well-seasoned, greased cast iron skillet. Form into a large, flat disk at least an inch thick. It’s okay if the dough touches the sides of the pan. Coat top with a little cream.  (I add a tablespoon of creamto the measuring cup that held the egg and use that mixture for the tops of the scones, so it’s sort of like an egg wash). With a knife, score the unbaked dough into 8-12 triangles, but do not separate the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.  Check and return to oven for additional time as needed, checking at 2 minute intervals. Done when light golden brown on top, or about 20 minutes cooking time.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from bake sheet.

Serve warm or room temperature with clotted cream and fruit preserves.

Variations:  for cinnamon pecan scones, add a teaspoon or so of cinnamon to dry ingredients. For cashew scones, remove granulated sugar and use an entire cup of brown sugar instead. For strawberry scones, add a little cardamom.


I made a batch of these scones this morning, and these are the only ones left! I don’t think they’ll last the evening.

Enjoy! This weekend, Tea & Crumples ebooks are on sale for only $2.99 on Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Kindle. Make these scones, and enjoy with a good read!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Shopping through the links does not change your cost, but I might receive a small amount of money for referrring you. Thank you!*



Lent (1)

Tea for Lent


Mmm. Lenten high cuisine. Carrot slices with a rosemary sprig and plain tea.

Ah, Lent. Weeks when we avoid rich foods in order to feed our poor souls. If you usually take your tea with milk, Lent is also a time to switch to tea varieties that are at their best au naturel.

This Sunday is Cheesefare, the last day before Orthodox Lent. I’ve switched up the tea varieties at our house. Here are my two favorites (affiliate links):

Numi Cardamom Pu-ehr

Harney Chocolate Mint

These are perfect alone or with a drop of maple syrup or honey. If you favor Darjeeling, you already know it’s best without milk and steeped for only 3 minutes.

A holy Lent to those celebrating! For everyone else, enjoy these dairy-free tea and baking options:

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Gluten Free Vasilopita with Traditional Spices


the author of Tea & Crumples shares her  gluten free Vasilopita recipe

Happy New Year! Joyous Feast of St. Basil from Summer Kinard!


Every new year, Orthodox Christians, especially Greek Orthodox Christians, celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great on January 1. The traditional cake that is shared that day and throughout the month of January is called a Vasilopita, or Basil Cake.

The recipes for wheat flour vary from a sweet yeast bread to a cakier texture.

I knew that I didn’t want to attempt a gluten free yeast bread, since the flours and gums for that sort of recipe would detract from the earthy warmth of a good Vasilopita. Instead, I heavily adapted a favorite gluten free cake recipe to make a nutty, rich cake that highlights the traditional mahlab and mastika spices.

Notes on the ingredients:

Because I have hazelnut flour on hand for holiday baking, this recipe calls for some, but a mixture of almond meal and coconut flour would also work. I’m allergic to cinnamon, of all things, so I have not included any here. I would not have added it anyhow, as I wanted the mahlab and mastika to stand out.

Before you get started, you’ll need to refrigerate the mastika, which comes in little pellets. It’s a tree resin, and preparation requires pounding it to a powder. It’s much easier to get the right consistency when the resin is cold. If you usually set your eggs out an hour before baking, go ahead and refrigerate the mastika at that time if you’ve forgotten.

Mahlab is made by grinding small seeds that come from a certain type of cherry. I have a special grinder set aside for grinding spices that has a removable, washable grinding chamber. I don’t recommend using a grinder that is also used for coffee, but do what you have to do. Vasilopita goes great with coffee, so it probably won’t hurt if you get coffee oil in your cake. I used more mahlab than you would in a wheat Vasilopita because of the nut flours. Adjust according to taste. It adds a sort of vanilla cherry flavor.

summer kinard gluten free vasilopita ingredients displayed ready to cook.

The assembled ingredients, except the butter, which was melting just then.


Gluten Free Traditional Vasilopita by Summer Kinard


1 1/3 Cups almond flour (blanched almond meal)

2/3 Cup hazelnut meal

1/3 Cup coconut flour

2/3 Cup lightly packed brown sugar or coconut sugar

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder (Rumford brand)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 Tablespoons ground mahlab

1-1.5 teaspoons mastika powder

1/4 sea salt

pinch cardamom

1/2 Cup milk or cream (or almond milk)

1/2 Cup melted butter (or olive/coconut oil)

3 eggs (pastured eggs are the best)

slivered almonds for garnish

simple icing for garnish, optional

Coin washed and wrapped tightly in aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out cream or milk and eggs to come to room temperature. Butter an 8 inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Prepare the mahlab and mastika. Grind the mahlab seeds for around 45 seconds until they are semi fine. Place a couple of teaspoons of mastika pellets in a zipper plastic bag or waxed paper sandwich bag. On a sturdy surface (I used a porch rail), pound several times with the flat side of a meat mallet until the mastika is a fine powder.

In a mixing bowl, add dry ingredients and stir together well with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup, melt the butter. Add the cream to the melted butter and stir well. Break eggs into the measuring cup and stir to combine.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and turn several times until well combined and evenly moist. Add the coin to the batter and stir well to conceal.

Pour or scoop the batter into the prepared pan, using the spoon to evenly distribute and slightly smooth the batter.

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Top will be golden brown.

Cool in pan till cake pulls a little away from the sides, or at least ten minutes. Run a toothpick or thin knife around the edge, and turn the Vasilopita out onto a plate. Flip it again so that you may decorate the rounded top.

Using almond slivers, make a tiny Greek cross or two, along with the year. (A Greek cross has four equal sides.) If you would like to garnish with a simple icing, combine 2-3 tablespoons liquid (milk, maple syrup, honey water, fruit juice–I like freshly squeezed satsuma juice) with 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar. You may also sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

This Vasilopita is quite rich and will serve 12 generously or up to 20 smaller pieces.

There was still half left after cutting for 10 people and the sacred pieces!


Cutting the Vasilopita

When you cut the Vasilopita, first make the sign of the Cross on the top while praying aloud, “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the a Holy Spirit, Amen.”

The first slice goes to our Lord Jesus. (Many people save this slice in foil to dry in their iconostasis for the year. I recommend caution with this practice due to the high moisture level of this cake. If you wish to save it, set it aside on your stove or other well ventilated place for a few days so it can dry out before going in foil.)

The second slice goes to the Holy Theotokos.

The third, to St. Basil and the children.

Next comes the householder, followed by those present from oldest to youngest. If there is a special guest, you may honor them by bumping them in rank to anywhere after St. Basil.

The Coin

The coin reminds us of a miracle. Once, the people in St. Basil’s area were beseiged by invaders. They each brought their riches to the church to pay a ransom to end the seige, but their generous giving so impressed their opponent that he left without collecting. (An alternative story is that the Emperor collected an exorbitant tax, which St. Basil persuaded him to give back in repentance.) Whatever the precedent, the miracle was the same: St. Basil prayed and was given insight as to how to return the riches to their proper owners. All of the treasures were baked into one giant pita. When it was sliced and distributed after church the next day, each person found that his or her own treasures were in their slice!

Usually the coin is seen as a sign of extra blessing in the new year. If the coin is in one of the pieces dedicated to Jesus, the Theotokos, or Basil, it should be given to the poor or put in the offering at church.

If you like holy cake and fiction, you’ll love The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin! (Click title for affiliate link.)

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Tea & Crumples! (Click title for affiliate link.)
“This uplifting story will warm your heart and renew your faith.” – Texas TEA & TRAVEL magazine (click magazine title for full review).
“Any Christian who enjoys well-written stories about faith, friendship, hardship, and miracles will be drawn into the community created at the tea shop. Tea & Crumples would fit perfectly into any church library or bookstore and would make a beautiful book club book for a women’s group at church.” The Orthodox Mama (<–Click for full review)

Christmas with Tea & Crumples

TEA (1)

A couple of weeks ago, I led a dozen or so kids in making homemade hot cocoa packets {recipe here} for their families. One of the joys of a good tea kettle is that the water makes instant cocoa as easily as tea. I took advantage of some of the leftover mix and sat down with a steaming mug of chocolate to give thanks.

I am grateful for the cooler weather that draws us closer around the tea table. I’m grateful for beeswax candles. I’m grateful that a book from my heart was published and has been well received by readers and reviewers alike. (See Texas TEA & TRAVEL’s Praise Here!) I’m thankful for stories that come and set a spell when I’m quiet.

I’m grateful for family and friends to sing and laugh with. I’m grateful to have a Christmas card list that outstrips my Christmas card budget this year. For the quiet communion of ink on paper. For the ability to write a smile into a note and stamp it.

I’m thankful for you, too. Thank you for sharing this journey of laughter, simplicity, love, and tea at the heart of it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

tea (2)

Tea & Crumples* is available through your favorite local bookstore or online retailers. The Orthodox Mama calls it a “perfect book club book.”

*amazon affiliate link

Mild Masala Chai

Mild Masala Chai

The weather is turning cool here. Then it turns warm. Then it turns cool. Autumn in the South means fluctuating weather. This weekend, we’re due for a cold spell. The leaves are almost done showing off, and I was craving spices. After reading several chai recipes online, I decided to make my own.

My goal was three-fold: 1.) Make a spiced chai that’s not bitter, and 2.) Make a spiced chai that works in my teapot rather than needing time on the stove, and 3.) Make a spiced chai that I can serve to friends who can’t have dairy.

I had run out of several spices, so I went to the store this morning. This afternoon, I got everything together: our favorite Indian tea in tea bags, ground ginger, black peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom pods. We have a wonderful tea kettle that keeps the water at the perfect temperature all day, so I dove right in.

First, I added the spices to a loose tea filter bag. Then I placed the black tea bags and filter bag into the pot and filled it with boiling water. After three minutes, I removed the black tea bags. This kept them from oversteeping and turning the mixture bitter. I kept the spice bag in the pot for another 7 minutes (10 minutes total). After removing the spice bag, I poured the tea out into mugs that had 1 teaspoon demerara sugar and a splash of half & half each. It made 4 big mugs of spiced tea. If friends who are fasting from dairy or have dairy allergies come over, I can pour the tea over coconut milk instead.


The ingredients: black peppercorns, ground ginger, Assam tea bags, whole cloves, cardamom pods.

This tea was mild enough to drink without food. If I were serving it with spicy foods, I might steep the spices a bit longer or add more of them. But for a rainy afternoon, it was just right.

Mild Masala Chai

Tea & Crumples is available now wherever books are sold! Find it at Amazon HERE (affiliate link).

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The Weather is Perfect for Tea & Crumples

Tea & Crumples is almost here! Read advanced praise and have a chuckle at the Jane Austen memes in this post.

Writing Like a Mother

Fill your life with Faith, Tea, and Love. Fill your life with Faith, Tea, and Love.

Order Tea & Crumples today!

Release date: November 2, 2015



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Early Praise for Tea & Crumples:

A Delicious Read.” -Cathy Smallwood, Tea Master

This book is full of goodness.” -Deborah Hining, Award-Winning Author of A Sinner in Paradise

The intuition, love and prayer she put into each pot and person was amazing.” -Linda Rainey, Christian fiction reviewer

Uplifting, joyful, helpful healing.” -Robin B., Christian fiction reviewer

Not only was I immersed in the novel, I was living it.” -Marianne B., Christian fiction reviewer

Praise from Summer’s Fictional Fans:

Better than Fordyce’s Sermons.” -Lady Catherine De Bourgh

This is the book I was reading when Darcy got all flirty at Netherfield. Just saying.” -Elizabath Bennet

I’ve added it to…

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