Tuesday, February 12, 2008

love for breakfast

NH spent most of the weekend here with me. On Saturday, while trying to decide what to have for breakfast NH suggested we scramble some eggs and purchase some instant biscuits from the store, which I immediately took as a challenge. I make biscuits from scratch all the time, but usually not in the morning, and since once you've had delicious homemade biscuits canned biscuits are far from ideal, I don't have biscuits in the AM too much. But since it was Saturday, I decided it was time to try out some morning baking. NH made the few blocks trek down to the further away, but far better, grocery store to pick up some last minute supplies (like eggs), and I got these started. I went with drop biscuits (faster, more tender) but you could cut down the liquid (by about a quarter) and roll these instead, if you prefer more uniform biscuits, which might be better for spreading with preserves. Cheese and/or herbs would be a nice addition, especially if you wanted to serve these with dinner. You could also change the liquids if you'd prefer a less rich biscuit.

dropped biscuits
roughly adapted from Joy of Cooking

about 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
about 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons very very cold butter (I just took the chill off of some frozen butter), cut into small cubes
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream (light, heavy or whipping will do)

Preheat the oven to 450. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter. Many people do this with knives or that funny looking pastry blending tool, but I prefer to do it with my hands, which is why I used extra cold butter, which can withstand the heat of my hands a bit longer than merely cold butter. Put the cubes in flour, mix it up, and use the tips of your fingers to break the cubes into smaller and smaller pieces, constantly incorporating the pieces with the dry ingredients. Do not let the butter melt! This will destroy your biscuits' texture. The goal is to incorporate the butter as discrete bits mixed in with the flour. When you're done, the flour/butter mixture should resemble coarse bread crumbs. Make a well in the flour/butter mixture, and pour in the cream and milk. Stir the mixture until just combined. Drop lumps onto an ungreased baking sheet (mine were about a scant 1/4 cup sized, but size is to your taste and intentions), and bake for about fifteen minutes or until a light golden brown. Serve warm. These will keep nicely for the next day, and can be reheated in a 250 oven for a few minutes.

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