Buttery Biscuits

Hi all– Our Laurel flew into town yesterday!!  Hooray!  She makes everything double the fun around here.   So we had the grandparents in for dinner to see their girl– for chicken soup, a peachy salad and these biscuits.

They are a little more work– but there are a couple little magic tricks that make them layered and crispy.  Don’t you love biscuits?? And I’ll bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

BUTTERY BISCUITS
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), frozen
2 cups flour
1 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold buttermilk

Take the butter from the freezer and use a larger holes on a box grater to grate the frozen butter.  Scoop it into a bowl and set it back in the freezer

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Then add in the frozen butter using a pastry blender or 2 forks to mix it to a pebbly mixture.  Stir in the buttermilk until the dough is all cohesive and moist.

Turn the dough out on to a counter dusted with flour and shape it into a rectangle about an inch thick.  Cut the dough in half and stack the two layers.  Cut it in half again and put both halves in a stack again.  Do it a third time.  Reshape the rectangle and cut the dough into twelve squares and set the biscuits onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Then– don’t put them in the oven!!  Set the baking sheet back into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Take the biscuits on the baking sheet directly from the freezer to a 425 degree oven and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes until they are nicely browned.  Serve them hot with still more butter and pretty jam!

And here’s our Laurel with her John just before there Wisconsin wedding this summer.  So glad she’s here!  (and John arrives this evening!)

Angel Biscuits

DSC01273Hi all– I’ve skimmed recipes for “Angel Biscuits” over the years– and always thought, “Baking powder AND yeast? Sounds complicated.”  But I am truly a big biscuit lover, especially with a dollop of orange marmalade or berry jam, and finally I could resist no longer.  And it turns out they were easy to whip up!  Definitely worth the wait!!

Less buttery than standard biscuits, but light and a bit yeasty.  Perfect with a pot of soup.  And pretty darn good toasted up for breakfast the next day.

ANGEL BISCUITS
1 envelope, rapid rise yeast (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tab. warm water*
2 3/4 cup flour
3 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup butter, cold
1 cup cold buttermilk

In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water.  Set aside to to proof while you mix up the rest.

In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it resembles coarse crumbs (a food processor will do the trick too, but who wants to clean up a big food processor just for biscuits?)

Then stir in the buttermilk and warm yeast until it makes a sticky ball of dough.

Turn the dough out onto a counter sprinkled with a little more flour and shape the dough into a 1″ thick round.  (Don’t handle too much, better to keep the butter cold!)

Cut the biscuits with a cookie cutter or a glass (like my grandma used to do) and set them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Set sheet of biscuits into a 400 degree oven and cook them until they are golden brown and set, about 15 to 20 minutes.

I do have to insist that you eat them hot from the oven, and with spoonfuls of jam or honey.  Irresistible!

*Some people shy away from using yeast, but it’s really not hard.  Just don’t get the water to hot and kill the yeast.  Years ago someone told me– use water about the same temperature you’d use for a baby’s bath– warm, not hot.  Seems to work!

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Best Biscuits

IMG_0298Hello biscuit buddies–  The biscuits Larry’s Arkansas grandmother used to make are legendary in his family.  I’ve tasted a few and can vouch for their perfect match of crispy edges and tender centers.  She had a drawer of flour in the kitchen and would pat a little well in the middle of the flour and add in her other ingredients, incorporating just enough flour to make them perfect.  Then she’d lift the dough out of the drawer and cut out her biscuits.  Beautiful.  I’ve made hundreds of biscuits in the last 40 years, but these are the closest I’ve come the Grandma’s biscuits.  So tender, hot and buttery.

BEST BISCUITS
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons  sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup buttermilk*

IMG_0276Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  The use a pastry blender or food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, just until the butter breaks up into pea size pieces.  The stir in the buttermilk.  Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2″ thick.  Cut out the biscuits with a cookie cutter or like grandma with the open end of a drinking class dipped in flour.  Put them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake from on the top rack of your oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until they are prettily browned.

Makes about 10 puffy delicious biscuits.  Serve them hot from the oven with lemon curd, berry jam, honey, marmalade… There’s no end to the yummy stuff you can pile on top.

*Usually for baking I’m a cheapskate (I mean frugal) and just use regular milk with a plop of vinegar instead of buying a whole quart of buttermilk,  but these biscuits I splurged and brought home real buttermilk and it was worth it!

Basic Biscuits

Morning biscuits with butter and Ruth’s bright homemade lemon curd.  Thanks Ruth.

Good morning– Time for biscuits.

Larry’s Arkansas Grandma was the expert biscuit maker.  She kept a drawer full of flour in her kitchen.  And when she was ready for biscuits, she would open it and drop in the butter, baking powder, salt…  and knead it all together with her hands until she had mixed in just the right amount of flour to summon up the tender dough– She’d lift that dough out of the drawer, cut the biscuits, then into the oven.  Her biscuits were legendary with the whole large family.  I can vouch for their flaky goodness.  So here’s my go to version.  Not as good as grandma’s in my memory, but crispy and tender–just right to hold a spoonful of jam.

BASIC BISCUITS
2 cups flour
1 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup milk

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender of a food processor.  Stir in the milk.  Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape it into a mound about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Cut into biscuit rounds with a cookie cutter of just use the top of a glass like in the old days.  Set the biscuits on a cookie sheet or pizza stone sprayed with Pam and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden.

It’s really best to eat them when they are hot out of the oven with as much fruit jam as you can pile on top.  Add a big mug of tea to make it just right.

Blackberry Scones

Hello friends–I’ve been to a few tea parties at Sue’s house.  Her scones are the tenderest, the butteriest– just begging for a slathering of lemon curd.  So when the kid’s were home last weekend, I pulled out her recipe for Saturday morning breakfast. And I thought you might like to try them too…

BLACKBERRY SCONES
2 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cubes of butter (room temp.)
rind of 1 lemon (or orange)
1 1/2 cups of firm blackberries
1 cup buttermilk*

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  With a pastry blender, cut in the butter.  Mix in the lemon rind and blackberries.  Then gently stir in the buttermilk.  Divide the dough into two balls and flatten a bit.  Then cut each into 6 wedges.  Dust them with a sprinkle of sugar.  Put them on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and bake them at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Best to each these crumbly things with spoonfuls of jam and a mug of hot tea when the first come hot out of the oven.  But they were good toasted up in the toaster later in the day as well.  Enjoy!

Sue’s original recipe called for 3/4 cup of currants in place of the blackberries.  You could also use dried cranberries, blueberries, fresh peach…

*In place of buttermilk, I use a a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar added to regular milk to make one cup.  Let it sit 5 minutes or so until the milk thickens.