Friday, January 6, 2012

Hearty Oat Orange Drop Biscuits + Homemade Spicy Pear Butter (gluten-free, vegan)

I made some amazing pear butter last week. I was inspired by a friend's Christmas gift of some delicious apple butter and was reminded of my 3 gallons of frozen pears in the freezer. I froze them in a frenzy last fall when I bought over a bushel of barlett pears from a local CSA. They are so fabulous fresh, but the greatness of the fresh pear just doesn't last very long. So into the freezer the pears went. Not really knowing what would come of them. Thought I could or would do something wonderful with them some day.
And that day has come. Well last week it came, and now I know what I will be doing with pears for many years to come. So yeah, the reason I made these cute biscuits was pretty much just to justify how much I wanted to eat the wonderful pear butter. Call me an emotional eater. I know. It's true.
You see, I do have some reasoning behind wanting to make some pear butter though. This January I am trying to clean up from a crazy month of December and eat no sugars or sweet treats at all. I am dedicated to only using stevia as a sweetener, and an occasional spoonful of honey or maple syrup for tea. But to not make cookies or cakes or whatever calls for sugar or cane whatever... this is hard for me because I love to bake. But cleansing is also a great thing to do for yourself every now and then. And, I am dedicated to intentionally add more greens (and no more holiday desserts) to my life over the next couple weeks and months.
I still found my way back to baking though. This time it is with the use of some hearty oats to make a healthy biscuit to pair with tea, breakfast or even some vegetable soup for dinner. I was impressed at how well these oat biscuits stuck together and created a not-so-crumbly gluten-free treat. The gluten-free oats and chia seed really do their job when it comes to gluten-free baking.
Also, oranges and oats are a great combo this time of year. Together they somewhat stand as survival foods for the middle of winter. You need oats for the fiber, hearty whole grain goodness and yes, they have been proven to make you "feel" happier. So, when the winter blues have you in a tizzy, maybe try some oats. And oranges, well let's just say that maybe they are not grown in season here in Michigan, but I know many of us Michigander's are quite thankful for a "fresh and in-season" orange from the southern states this time of year.  Then, when you add in the pear-goodness of the sweet and spicy butter- you will be comforted enough to know that spring will come again.
Hearty Oat Orange Drop Biscuit Recipe (vegan)
1 2/3 cup of gluten-free oat flour (or grind certified gluten-free rolled oats in a magic bullet or high powered blender to make your own oat flour- which is what I do)
2/3 cup of certified gluten-free rolled oats
2/3 cup of organic millet flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1 TB of chia seed meal
1 TB of baking powder
1 ts. of sea salt
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup or use 10-15 drops of liquid stevia
4 TB of room temperature organic coconut oil (I used Nutiva)
4 TB of cold vegan butter (I used Earth Balance- soy free)
'butter-milk mixture'
1 1/3 cup of coconut milk beverage (I used So Delicious)
juice from one lemon- about 1/4 cup of juice (or orange could work here too for more flavor)

1 organic washed orange to zest 2 ts. for batter, and 2-3 ts. for topping the biscuits

First, mix together your milk and lemon in a glass bowl to sit and culture for at least 10 minutes. Then in a different large mixing bowl mix together your dry ingredients and then cut in the oil and butter like you would a pie crust recipe. Lastly, add the milk mixture and stir well. It will be a bit foamy and wet  when you first mix it all together. So let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes for the oats to soak up the moisture. Then these biscuits are a "drop" biscuit recipe- so you will use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour out and drop the batter on a parchment papered baking sheet. Then top the biscuits with a sprinkle of orange zest. This recipe will make 1 dozen large biscuits, or 18 smaller biscuits. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Until golden brown and stiff. Pull from oven and let cool for a few minutes before moving and serving. 

Spicy Pear Butter Recipe
2 gallons (8 quarts) of frozen pears (with or without peal)
Pears don't have to be exactly measured- You can use whatever you can get your hands on. Also, if you don't have frozen pears, fresh pears will work too. I do not think canned pears will work because of the excess moisture, but maybe some one out there can prove me different.

In a large 8-10 quart pot, dump your semi-defrosted frozen pears and basically you let them simmer down into a boil and you let them simmer on the stove for 6-10 hours until the pears have turned into a very thick sauce. You can add your spices after a few hours of cooking down and taste test to see if you want to add a touch more. Start smaller so that you don't over do it though.

start with these spices, and then add a pinch more if you want more spice:
1/2 ts. of allspice
1/2 ts. of ground nutmeg
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
1/2 ts. of cloves

Then, after the pears are cooked down, Let cool for 6-8 hours and then pour into a blender to whip into a nice thick and smooth butter. The butter should really look like a creamy butter...:)

Then if you want to preserve your butter you can follow traditional preserving methods and can it for a later date. I like canning the butter in pint-sized jars so that they are easy to get the butter out with a small knife or spoon. Perfect.

The 2 gallons of pears roughly made about 4 pints of butter. Just to get an idea of how much water is reduced.
Serve your biscuits warm with some pear butter (or your favorite fruit preserve) and tea. A perfect snack for a wintry day, or heck, any day really. The biscuits are simple to make. And the butter, well it just takes a while, but probably the simplest recipe I know. Delish and together serve as a great reminder that spring will come again and there will be green grass and a growing garden. In the meantime, biscuits and pear butter will help us hibernate, stay cozy and hopeful for 2012.
I hope you are enjoying a new start this year. We actually have only gotten an inch or two of measurable snow where I live in Michigan (we usually have feet of snow by now). And, it was 50 degrees today! I had the windows open and was spring cleaning like it was April. They are promising more harsh winter conditions soon, so I guess we can't really say it is spring yet. Still, it's fun to dream about seeds, my garden and tulips...

Hope you have a beautiful day.

Much love and light to you!


  1. Those look really fabulous...especialy the pear butter. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So if I read your instructions correctly, you didn't add any Stevia to your Pear Butter. I am happy about that! Thanks!

  3. So if I read your instructions correctly, you didn't add any Stevia to your Pear Butter recipe. Sounds like a winner! I have some great, and already naturally sweet tasting pears. I will follow your lead and give it a try! Thanks for sharing!