It’s hard to find good gluten-free cinnamon buns. But this version, adapted from Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s cookbook Alternative Baker: Reinventing Dessert with Gluten-Free Grains and Flours, does the trick. Be sure to use sweet white rice flour, which is starchier than regular white rice flour. If you can’t find it, try a GF all-purpose blend that contains sweet rice flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour.
Buckwheat Cinnamon Swirl Biscuits with Cream Cheese Icing
For the Biscuits:
- 1 cup sweet white rice flour (such as Blue Star Mochiko brand)
- 2/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1/3 cup buckwheat flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, sliced, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 cup whole milk, plus more for brushing
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
FOR THE ICING:
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk, plus more as needed
- Pure vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
Make the biscuits: In a large bowl combine the three flours with the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and blend with a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the butter is the size of peas. Chill the mixture until cold, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract and chill.
Gradually stir just enough of the chilled milk mixture into the chilled flour mixture to form a dough that holds together when squeezed and is just firm enough to roll out. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl to bring it together into a ball (gluten-free biscuits require more kneading to bring the dough together). Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and line with parchment paper.
Make the filling: Place the raisins in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to plump, about 10 minutes, then drain well. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.
Lightly dust a large piece of parchment paper with buckwheat flour and place the chilled dough on it. Use your hands and a rolling pin to pat and roll out the dough into a 10 by 14-inch rectangle, dusting the dough as needed to prevent sticking. If the dough cracks or breaks, pinch it back together. When the dough begins to stick to the parchment, top with a second piece of parchment and, grasping both pieces of parchment and the dough, flip it over. Gently peel away the top piece of parchment and continue rolling out the dough.
Brush the dough with the melted butter, distribute the raisins evenly over the dough, sprinkle all over with the brown sugar mixture, and press the filling into the dough with your hands.
Starting with a wider side, use the parchment to help roll the dough into a log, rolling it as tightly as possible and ending with the seam side down. Use a sharp knife to assertively cut the log crosswise into 8 equal pieces. Place one biscuit in the center of the prepared pan and the others evenly spaced around it, using a spatula if needed. Slightly flatten the tops of the biscuits. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake the biscuits until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to warm, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the icing: Use the back of a spoon to mash the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Whisk in the milk, a few drops of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, adding more milk as needed to make a thick but pourable glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the biscuits.
To serve, use a knife or offset metal spatula to coax the biscuits out of the pan.
Photography Alanna Taylor-Tobin
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