Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Signature Buttermilk Biscuits

One of the reasons I always turn to my stack of Everyday Food back issues when I need to dig up a good recipe is because the simplicity of Martha's cooking style is a hit every time.

I used to think that in regards to cooking, the two words "Martha Stewart" were synonymous with "long, confusing and difficult to follow and even more difficult to pronounce." I always found myself shying away from her baked goods because they seemed too long and complicated.
Then recently, I realized something. That was all before I actually knew how to bake or cook. When the most difficult kitchen conundrum I could master was separating egg whites to make lower-cholesterol Duncan Hines Brownies, the each step in Martha's pastry dough recipe sounded similar to the instructions I read from my chemistry lab notebook in high school.
Those, I still wouldn't understand, but now, the terms "pulse dough until mixture is the texture of coarse meal" make sense to me and the idea of "turning dough onto a lightly floured work surface" don't make me cringe and run straight for the tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls.

Recently some friends and I cooked a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and one of my contributions was a biscuit recipe from the November 2007 Everyday Food that I've had flagged for a year. On Thanksgiving, I like to make sweet breads: Pumpkin Apple and Orange-Cranberry. Since the oven is usually busy enough as it is, biscuits fall to the wayside because we'll probably be too full for biscuits anyway (and if you've ever had Thanksgiving with my family, albeit small we are, we can put away a turkey and sweet potatoes like nobody's business).

Since this was only a "pretend Thanksgiving dinner" I gave the biscuit recipe a try. EDF offers a few recipe modifications, from Cheddar Biscuits to Cracked Black Pepper to Mixed Herbs.

I opted for door number three and couldn't have been more pleased with the flaky texture and melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk flavor of the biscuits. The herbs were a wonderful, subtle touch that a small pat of salted whipped butter accented nicely.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Everyday Food November 2007
4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) plus more for rolling and cutting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits (plus 4 tablespoons melted for brushing)
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to combine. Add cold butter, pulse until mixture is the texture of coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add buttermilk, pulse just until dough is moistened, 2-3 times.

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead just to combine (do not overwork). Roll with a floured rolling pin (or pat with hands) to a 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out rounds with a floured 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.

3. Transfer to a baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart (re-roll and cut scraps only once). Brush top and sides of rounds with melted butter. Bake until biscuits are puffed and golden, 12-15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 12.

To Freeze: After step 2, place dough rounds onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and brush with melted butter. Freeze until solid and place in a resealable plastic bag. Store in freezer up to 2 months.

To Bake From Frozen: Place frozen dough rounds, buttered side up, on a large baking sheet and bake at 450F until biscuits are puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I like the idea of freezing them for a later date. Then just pop them into the oven, easy as pie! Enjoyed browsing here, thanks for visiting my blog!