Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Made Biscuits--get 'em while they're hot

Here is my article for the The Bolton Common.  Biscuits are a year round favorite either as a side with a savory dish or sweetened up with honey butter and served for breakfast.  Cut them out with a larger cookie cutter and you could make little breakfast sandwiches out of them.

The Mixing Bowl
By Renee Zarate

The next time you are asked to bring the rolls or biscuits to a family dinner consider making these baking powder biscuits.  Biscuits are considered a “quick bread” because they are leavened with baking powder instead of yeast.   They don’t take long to make and can be frozen weeks in advance of an event and then baked fresh that day.  Unbaked homemade biscuits are great to keep on hand in the freezer for a weekend brunch, too.  Just imagine how wonderful it would be to wake up to the aroma of fresh baked biscuits.  Biscuits are so versatile you can serve them with savory gravy or a little butter with a spoonful of jam.  They are a delicious addition to almost any meal.

Baking Powder Biscuits
Makes 2 dozen depending on size of cutter

6 cups of flour
½ cup of instant non-fat powdered milk
¼ cup baking powder
¼ cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 cups of shortening like Crisco
1 ½ cups of water (or a little more)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for about 30 minutes before actually baking the biscuits.  In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together.   Cut the shortening into the dry mixture with either a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Slowly add the 1 ½ cups of water until the dry mix is moistened; if it seems too dry you can add ¼ to ½ cup more water.  Gather it together in your hands until it forms a ball of dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it 8 to 10 times, until it feels smooth.  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is ¾” thick.  Using a 2 ½” circle cutter, dip the cutter in flour then cut the biscuits.  Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1” apart and bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven or until the tops are golden brown.
To freeze:  Prepare the recipe as above but do not bake.  Instead place the shaped, uncooked biscuits on a cookie sheet and quick freeze them.  Remove the biscuits from the cookie sheet after they are frozen and drop them into a plastic freezer bag.  When you want to serve the biscuits, preheat the oven to 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove the frozen biscuits from the plastic bag (do not thaw) and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1” apart, bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

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