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Posts tagged ‘biscuits’

Guest Post- Cherry Chocolate Scones

I was thrilled when Mollie,  The Frugal Hausfrau agreed to do a guest post. I am a big fan, she is a wonderfully talented cook, take a look at her creations on her blog, you will see why I am so in love with her recipes. Down home and elegant, budget conscience, approachable, ok I’ll stop now, thank you Mollie for sharing these incredible scones they look so delicious! Take it away Mollie….

When Suzanne said she might like a guest post or two, I was all over it – and knew exactly what I wanted to make. I just had it in my head that Scones with Dried Cherries & Dark Chocolate might cheer her up a bit. They’d be great with coffee or black tea and such a fun treat for a weekend breakfast.

I started out with one recipe and I don’t know if it was the recipe or me, but it was pretty mediocre. Then I tried another and it was too cakey. A scone is a scone is a scone, and cake? That’s just not a scone. A scone should be good, but have a certain sensibility about it.

I remembered that King Arthur had a scone recipe I have been meaning to try. (They mentioned a scone pan, too, that I ordered and I love it and used it – that’s how long it took me to make these scones!) So on to the King Arthur recipe.

The first time I forgot the baking powder. It was like a Shortbread Scone. A Shrone? There might be some possibilities in that idea, lol!

So finally, the final rendition. And I learned a few things along my journey! I used two chocolates because I ran out of the chocolate I was initially using and it the scones were so much better.

You can stick with one kind of chocolate if you’d like, but I’d highly recommend chopping some good chocolate and combining it with Nestle’s Chocolate Chunks or at least with their dark chocolate chips. I was thinking of striping these scones with a little glaze, but they’re just so good as is!

The two chocolates melted and acted differently and it was like a perfect alchemy with the soft and chewy dried cherries. So at long last, here’s the recipe as I made it. Check with King Arthur for all their suggested variations and many tips. This recipe is excellent and Suzanne, I hope you love these!

King Arthur’s Scones

2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup roughly chopped dried cherries

1/2 cup Nestle’s chocolate chunks

3 to 4 ounces good dark chocolate, roughly chunked

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice

1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half and half (see note)

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

Stir in the dried cherries and chocolate.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and half and half.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixture starts to hold together. Dump out and carefully pinch and pull the dough until all is incorporated.

Sprinkle a bit of flour atop a baking sheet.

Divide dough in half and place each half on the baking sheet. Form each into a five to six-inch circle about 3/4’s of an inch high. If using a scone pan, see note, below.

Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Chilling the scones relaxes the gluten in the flour, which makes the scones more tender and allows them to rise higher. It also chills the fat, which will make the scones a bit flakier. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Bake the scones for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.

Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. They’re delicious as is, but add butter and/or jam, if you like.

When the scones are completely cool, wrap them in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days. To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and warm in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes:

Since the scones I baked were baked in January, when the humidity is low and flour is dry, these scones used the full amount of liquid.

If using a scone pan, the full amount of dough will fit into the pan. I found 1/2 cup scoop worked well to distribute the dough in the eight slots. There’s no need to freeze the dough. For these particular scones, I did not brush with butter or sprinkle with sugar.

An Epic Biscuit…The Sequel, And Garden Update

On Occasion I make a recipe and it turns out great and the second time I make it, it flops. Since I have sought the perfect biscuit recipe like seeking the Holy Grail for years and having found a great one on try #1, I decided to make them again to see if my results are the same.

Epic Biscuit II

Epic Biscuit II

Notice the photo is better, I used a dark background and that makes a huge difference in the photo quality IMHO.

The second go around the biscuits rose but not quite as high, it could be that I patted the dough down a bit thinner than the last time, I did not place them as close together on the sheet pan, or that my buttermilk was not as fresh who knows but they still rose nicely, were tender, fluffy and delicious. I wrapped and froze them for another day.

garden

garden

In July I had my garden re worked to help me with diminishing the weed population and hopefully the mosquitoes too.  Happy to report that although I still have some weeds they are about 90% better than before and almost manageable for me to take care of myself. I have only killed 4 or 5 of the plants that were initially planted (may not have been my fault). Also my herbs including the basil are doing really well. I am also very happy that there are less mosquitoes this year as well so I can enjoy my backyard.

two types of basil regular sweet and smal spicy

two types of basil regular sweet and smal spicy

Jessica planted sunflowers, it is her signature flower and when she initially put them in the ground they were about a foot tall. Now they are over 6 ft tall and look at this beauty.

sunflower

sunflower

In closing I believe this biscuit recipe is a keeper and will be made over and over again.  Since I already gave credit to the author in my last post and there is no way to contact her I am including the recipe in this post.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

From Food.com Author P4

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board ( if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder ( use one without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ( approx)1/2 cup sugar ( for topping) NOTE I did not put sugar on mine
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
  4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
  5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
  6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  8. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.
  9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
  10. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
  11. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
  12. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.

Disappointment And Huckleberry’s Comforting Biscuits

Soggy sign

Soggy sign

Azita from Fig and Quince designed our flyer for the block party, cute right? Here is it hanging on a post getting soggy. The rain was relentless, canceling the block party was the only option.

wet

wet

Our block, one lonely dog walker out. What a miserable day.

pretty leaves wet sidewalk

pretty leaves wet sidewalk

I love the Fall, the leaves turning and falling. The dogs love walking in the leaves that fall to the ground. It should have been a happy fun day, but we got rained out. All in all it was very disappointing, so I wanted to make something comforting. I haven’t made anything yet from Huckleberry, thumbing through the book my eyes were immediately drawn to this recipe for Comfort Food Biscuits, how appropriate. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know I am biscuit/scone challenged. My biscuits have been likened to paper weights, hockey pucks, rocks. I am constantly searching for the elusive biscuit recipe that will be light and fluffy and pillowy. I thought this recipe sounded really good, lots of fat in the way of butter, cream cheese and heavy cream so it should produce a nice moist biscuit. Great step by step instructions. The only thing I was perplexed about was the baking temperature. It’s counter intuitive really, baking biscuits in a 350 degree oven didn’t make sense to me, every biscuit recipe I have ever made uses a hot oven 425 -450 degrees.

Comfort Food Biscuits

Makes 13 2 inch biscuits

3 cups (380 grams) all purpose flour

1 tbs +2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tbs sugar plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter cubed

3/4 cup (180 grams) cold cream cheese cubed

6 tbs (90 ml) cold heavy cream

egg wash

fleur de sel for sprinkling

 

In a very large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and toss well. Throw in the cold butter and work it with your fingertips until the pieces are pea and lima bean size. Then do the same with the cream cheese. Add the cream. Lightly toss to distribute.

Immediately dump everything onto a clean surface with more than enough space to work the dough. Using only the heel of your palm, quickly flatten out the dough. Gather the dough back together in a mound and repeat. After two or three repetitions, the dough should begin holding together. Be sure to avoid overworking. You should still see some pea size bits of butter through it.

Flatten the dough to a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thickness and cout the biscuits. Transfer them to an ungreased sheet pan. Very gently push the scraps back together and cut once more. Freeze for at least 2 hours before baking, or up to 1 one month, tightly wrapped.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree F or 180 degrees Centigrade. Remove the biscuits from the freezer Space them with plenty of breathing room on two ungreased sheet pans, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with both sugar and salt. Bake from frozen until cooked through, nicely browned, and easily lifted off the pan about 30 minutes.

Instructions

Instructions

Disclosure: My results in no way reflect on the actual recipe since I am biscuit challenged.

I followed the instructions or at least I tried, the dough felt dry to me. I weighed the ingredients except for the flour and the heavy cream, in retrospect I should have weighed the flour also, that might be the key as to why the dough felt dry. Have I said I am biscuit challenged, well I am. Overworking the dough seems to be my mantra. I used the heel of my palm pressed and gathered and eventually it came together but only after a lot of work (overwork?). When I cut a biscuit with the cutter and picked it up it sort of fell apart,it was too dry. I had to put the dough back in the bowl and add another tbs of cream and really carefully incorporate, press it into another disc and cut the biscuits, this time they held together but my fear is that at this point I overworked the dough, in the photo’s above the dough looks soft mine was not it was tightly packed. They made exactly the amount indicated, I placed in the freezer for the requisite time (2 hours). I pre heated the oven to 350 degrees. I had to smack my hand to keep me from taking the temp up over 400 degree’s. To be fair it looks like the biscuit dough in the photo’s above is not the same recipe, it looks like the Herb  biscuits which has more liquid in the form of buttermilk but a bit less fat so it should have evened out I would think. We’ll see what happens when I bake them. Note: I decided to try weighing three cups of flour using the same measuring cup and method and it was 420 grams and the recipe calls for 380 grams, hence the dry biscuits, I removed approximately 1/2 cup of flour to make it 380. You see why it’s important to weigh ingredients when you bake. When I cut 3/4 cup of butter it was less than the 170 grams so I added a smidge more. 

The Results:

Well, I think I overworked them, they were not pillowy, light and fluffy as I hoped. The flavor was good though. I am beginning to think I have unrealistic expectations when it comes to biscuits, I have the same problem with pound cakes. All biscuits are supposed to be like the ones you get in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, you know the ones in the can and pound cake should all be like Sara Lee. On a positive note, they rose nicely, flavor was really good and I am sure they are perfectly acceptable biscuits but one day I will go to LA and taste one from the source Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe. I really look forward to making more recipes from the book.

If I were to make these again I would do a few things differently:

1. weigh the flour and all ingredients

2. add more liquid if it looks to dry, that would help me not over work the dough.

3. Bake at a temperature higher than 350 degree’s, maybe with a commercial oven it works but with my less than wonderful oven it was too low and the biscuits looked anemic ( In all fairness I did not use egg wash, I brushed with cream)

I boosted the color in iphoto so they look more golden brown than they actually came out of the oven so the photo’s have been touched up.

biscuits

biscuits

close up

close up

 

 

Biscuits, Finger Update And A Different Look

Biscuits

Biscuits

I  haven’t really cooked anything for a while now, my finger injury has sort of taken my life and turned it upside down. I was hoping that by now, a month since the injury I would be well on my way to normalcy but unfortunately thats not the case. I decided to try making biscuts this morning with one and a half hands, wouldn’t recommend it. The biscuits came out ok, it’s a good recipe but it was hard. Biscuits have long been my nemesis and still to this day I haven’t found what I consider the perfect biscuit.  Growing up my Mom made everything from scratch, at least almost everything, biscuits came from a can in the refrigerator section of the supermarket and I really liked them. Maybe thats why I have unattainable expectations from my homemade biscuits. I like them more like bread than a quick bread texture. These biscuits are a recipe from Julia Child, it’s very good, not perfect but very good.

My favorite biscuit recipe is from Food52, Cheese Biscuits. They are wonderful but I couldn’t grate cheese otherwise I would have made these. Totally Yummy!! If you do make them, reduce the salt, just a hint!!

Baking Powder Biscuits

Makes 1 dozen

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 2/3 tbs baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

3/4 cup vegetable shortening (I like spectrum organic) Note: You can also use butter or a mixtire of butter and shortening – I use both

1 cup whole milk

Measure dry ingredients into large mixing bowl, whisk together. Cut in the shortening/butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Gently fold in the milk just to wet. DON”T KNEAD OR OVERMIX. Turn out onto work surface and gently pat into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Use biscuit cutter or glass and place on ungreased baking sheet or baking pan. Brush the tops with cream or melted butter and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Now for my finger, well it has not healing well, I went to the doctor the other day and I need to start physical therapy going several times a week for 8 weeks, we are hoping that will help the joint to re align, it’s still out of whack. I am keeping it splinted in place, the cartilage and ligaments were badly damaged and cannot hold my finger in place. It’s painful and for me very discouraging. I need my finger back, it’s 100% unusable at this point. Here is a photo of the most recent x-ray.

My poor finger

My poor finger

I am also changing the theme for my blog, what do you think of the new look?