Sunday, February 28, 2010

Biscuit Binge

Sorry to my Queen's English-speaking friends, but, no, this does not mean that I have spent the last few days making batches of cookies, as we call them, having adopted the Dutch word for the sweet round treat. Instead, I'm talking about the three, yes three, sets that I made of yummy, soft pillowy-inside, crisp-outside round dollops of heaven that are made to be spread with butter and jam or dunked in gravy. I mean, when you have this outside of your window when you get up for work on Friday, there hardly seems to be a better use of a winter day.


Yes, those are actually icicles stuck on my window

For the record, I actually had to show up at work on Friday when this snowy mess was all taking place. This just made me more determined to continue on the comfort-food cooking quest that has taken over my inspiration for the blog for the past few months. I really think that we need to look into getting a new groundhog for next year, as this is getting a bit ridiculous. We might even have another storm next week. Is spring really around the corner?

The Kitchn should also take credit for this burst of baking fury. They've been posting about biscuits recently. Although I've put together lots of bready-type things, cakes, pies, and cookies, I've never really tackled the perfect biscuit recipe. I'm not really sure why, as I love them, and we didn't get to have them when I was growing up. They reminded my mother of a period in her life when they didn't have much to eat and she had to have them for lots of her meals.

I think that biscuits are also one of those things that seem difficult to make but aren't really hard to do. They sort of have a mythical aura and drive fear into the hearts of many an experienced baker that they might end up tough, flat and rock-hard. This time, however, I think that I might have found just the right recipe for me at Thibeault's Table.

With a little bit more effort than it takes to thwack a cardboard tube on the kitchen counter, you can make these yourself and have the awesome experience of pulling apart the steamy hot insides just begging to be smothered in whatever toppings you see fit. I tried several versions of this recipe, and can say that basically they are all good. I think I prefer the buttermilk and butter option for plain biscuits, which made them tall and fluffy.

Biscuits made with whole milk and butter

Biscuits made with buttermilk and butter

Biscuits made with buttermilk and butter with cheddar cheese and chives [before baking]

Biscuits made with buttermilk and butter with cheddar cheese and chives [after baking]

As you can see from the photos below, I also experimented with the way I incorporated the butter into the dry mixture. I found the method using the box grater to be too messy and fiddly for my tastes, preferring the tried-and-true cube-butter option that I've used since I first learned how to cook. In either case the trick is to have very cold (or frozen in the grating method) butter.

Using the box grater method grating frozen butter into small pieces for mixing into the flour

Using the cube method cutting the cold butter into small pieces for mixing into the flour

The other trick is to mix the liquid into the dry ingredients very gently and quickly so as not to handle it too much. In fact, if you listen carefully, you can even hear the baking powder react to the buttermilk. Then, slide the tray into the pre-heated oven, per the directions, and wait a few short minutes, just enough time to make the coffee and scramble the eggs, until the warm hug of a freshly-spliced-open biscuit reaches your plate.

Slathered with locally-made multi-berry jam

Oh, what the heck, it is the weekend, after all. I'll have one of the other batch, too!

Buon appetito!

Kitchen Witch Tip:



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