Biscuits

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We perfected the art of biscuit making in Ukraine.  For some reason in that first year, homebound for all those snowy weekends with Jake and Eli, we developed a weird craving for chicken à la king.  Which turned into craving biscuits covered in butter and honey for breakfast, and sweet biscuits as shortcake when the green markets were overflowing with summer berries.

This picture above is how they turn out if you use a real biscuit cutter.  In the picture below, they are cut with a kitchen glass, and the effect is a little more rounded.

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Both ways taste great!  It just depends on what look you’re going for.  After we bought biscuit cutters, we decided we liked the straight edges better.

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Over the years we’ve made this recipe probably a hundred times.  In Azerbaijan, our friends once smuggled over a bunch of Hormel sliced ham that we turned into a brunch treat of mini biscuits with ham and grated swiss.

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A few times we accidentally made them with baking soda.  Oops!!

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There are tons of recipes out there, but of all the ones we’ve tried, this one from the Silver Palate Cookbook is the best.  It’s the only biscuit recipe we’ll ever use again, so on the blog it goes!

NEW BASIC BISCUITS

2 cups flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons (70gm) cold butter

3/4 cup half and half, or milk

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
  4.  Add the milk and gently fold until the mixture forms a mass.  Gather it into a ball.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and press it into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle.
  6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut dough into 8 circles.  Press any tiny leftover pieces into a blobby “rustic biscuit.”  This is always the Mommy Biscuit.
  7. Alternatively, drop the biscuit dough in 8 blobs about an inch apart on the baking sheet, and press them down a little.
  8. Bake the biscuits one inch apart on a baking sheet, until puffed and golden, 10-14 minutes depending on your oven.  Then move to a wire rack to cool.

Notes:

  1.  The butter needs to be cold!
  2. The butter needs to be cut in appropriately in order for them to bake up with that light, flaky separation.  Like any muffin or scone recipe, mix it as little as possible.  You can’t work the dough very hard or it will get tough.
  3. A biscuit cutter and a hot oven are the other keys to making them puff up into layers while they bake.
  4. Don’t mistake baking soda for baking powder!  We’ve done that twice.  They look great, but whew, the taste is pretty bad!
  5. To make them sweeter for shortcakes, reduce the flour to 1 3/4 cups and increase the sugar to 1/4 cup.  Sprinkle the tops with milk and sugar before baking to get them a little crunchy (and less soggy when you put berries on top).

 

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