Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

December 16, 2014

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Hmmm…I really seem to be on a roll with the bread recipes lately. And here I go with yet another, Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits! I am very excited to share this recipe with you because not only is it very quick and easy but it also yields up some of the best buttermilk biscuits I have ever eaten. And it is not only me who is saying so, but also the husband, who happens to be a bit of a biscuit connoisseur. He whole-heartedly agrees. These biscuits are rich and buttery with a tender, moist crumb and a golden crisp crust.

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I often make these biscuits in a mini size and serve them as appetizers (perfect for all of the Holiday parties happening now), topped with a bit of country ham, Bourbon Bacon Jam or Drunken Granny Apple Butter. But I have also made them into full-sized biscuits, great along side a bowl of soup or when stuffed with sausage, eggs, cheese and hash browns (what?…) for an awesome, eye-opening breakfast biscuit.

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Now there are a few tricks you should keep in mind when making biscuits. The best flour to use is a low gluten flour, like cake flour. But I know not everyone has cake flour on hand and part of the beauty of this biscuit recipe is that it can be whipped up quickly. So by cutting a little corn starch into all-purpose flour that you undoubtedly have in supply, you can achieve the same high rise and tender crumb as a cake flour biscuit. The cream cheese addition to these biscuits not only gives them an extra richness but also encourages rise and flakiness. And always remember when you cut out biscuits, push the cutter straight through the dough. Do not twist. Twisting will inhibit biscuit rise.

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So with a few tricks of the trade, you can have these fluffy, buttery golden beauties on your table in about 30 minutes. It’s a good thing that you can make these up so quickly because I guarantee you folks will go wild (otherwise known as “biscuit frenzy”) and you will find these biscuits gone before you know it.

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Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

  • Servings: 12 regular sized or 48 -50 appetizers sized biscuits
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe slightly adapted from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix.

Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cream cheese and pulse a few times until incorporated with a few pea-sized pieces of cream cheese intact. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.

Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon until dough comes together into a craggy mass. Do not over mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with a bit more flour and bring together gently into a loose ball. Pat the dough into a 3/4 ” thick rectangle.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into thirds. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat out into a 3/4″ thick rectangle again, flouring the surface lightly as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Cut the dough into thirds again. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat into a 1/2″ thick circle if you are making appetizer biscuits, a 1/2″ thick rectangle if you are making regular biscuits.

Dust a 1 1/4″ biscuit cutter with flour and cut out as many appetizer biscuits as you can. Gather up the scraps, pat into a circle again and continue cutting out biscuits until no dough remains. Or if you are making full-sized biscuits, dust the blade of a sharp knife with flour and cut the dough into twelve even squares.

Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and a deeper brown on the bottom.

Enjoy!

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

August 29, 2014

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake. Say that three times fast! I would try but I’m afraid my mouth is stuffed full of cake at the moment. Hey…sometimes one – meaning yours truly – needs inspiration to write these blogs. I mean occasionally I’m at a loss what to say. If you were here I would just hand you a big old plate full of whatever it was I was trying to artfully describe. Let the food do the talking if you get my drift.

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Other times I just stuff my face full of whatever it is and start writing. Luckily for me, it was the last piece of the Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake I made for my friends recent birthday. I’m a big believer that there is nothing like a big old fancy homemade cake to properly convey an enthusiastic Happy Birthday.

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I mean store-bought cakes are ok and I guess I could see if you have a favourite bakery ( mine is Baked & Wired – if anyone was wondering…) and a favourite cake from said favourite bakery (uhhhh… do you know me at all?…cupcakes from Baked & Wired – any flavour will do but please no fruit filling. Get those for my husband.), folks could do just fine stopping by there and simply picking up a big old bakery box of love. However, if you have a bit of baking skill, I think you’ll get quite a few points (there I go with those supposed points again…) by making someone a cake, with as many layers as you can manage (the more layers, the more points) from scratch.

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My Grandmother, of the Jewish Apple Cake fame, always made me a Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Frosting for my birthdays. I can remember one above all of the others. I think I was about five years old. It had the usual chocolate frosting and shaky script handwriting spelling out Happy Birthday.  But this one was decorated with tiny plastic cake decorations. In this case they were ballerinas wearing pink tutus. I thought it was awesome!  I can still picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye.

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Here is the only picture we could find with the remembered cake. Perhaps also showing my early tendency towards cupcake obsession.

When I got to be about 14 -15 years old and was the standard clueless teenager, I asked my Mom for a store-bought sheet- style birthday cake. I got it into my head that they were pretty cool with all of their fancy colours and big frosting flowers. Not to mention, that is the type of cake most of my friends had on their birthdays. Mom got me the cake, but it just wasn’t all I hoped it would be. It tasted ok, if not a bit plasticy and sickeningly sweet as those cakes often do. The bakery misspelled my name, which was a bit of a bummer. But luckily, Grandma, either through force of habit or some greater knowledge (mom-mom worldly wisdom) had still made me my old standard Hot Milk Birthday Cake. From then on, I knew which cake I’d be requesting when asked. Yup…although Grandma is not around to bake it for me anymore, my Mom has picked up the torch and has been known to whip up one mean Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Fudge Frosting in no time flat! So when my friend’s birthday rolled around, I wanted to make him something special. A cake he would really like. I was pretty sure that vintage plastic ballerinas wouldn’t do a thing for him, so I turned my thoughts to something which seems to get most folks pretty excited…booze! In his case Bourbon. He has been known to take an occasional sip or two of that Knob Creek elixir from time to time. And there is quite a lot of bourbon to be found in this cake. Yup…it is in the cake, in the ganache and in the icing. A veritable Bourbon bonanza!

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This cake was a huge hit. The buttermilk, yeah that’s right….even more “B” words, made the cake layers wonderfully light and moist. The frosting was rich, yet fluffy and fantastically boozy.

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Made for quite the happy birthday, not only for the birthday boy, but also for all his well wishers to boot! Got a special occasion coming up and some bourbon lovers in the house? Look no further, this Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake will get the job done!

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy but a lot of steps!
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recipe from: Love & Olive Oil

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) bourbon (pick your poison…I used Knob Creek)
  • 2 cups (13.5 ounces) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the Buttercream:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Bourbon

For the Ganache:

  • 4 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Directions:

Combine the bourbon and vanilla bean together in a small bowl. Steep overnight, or as long as you can before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, butter, and reserved vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, until very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically as needed.

Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Immediately add the bourbon (discard the vanilla pod) and mix until combined.

Divide the batter among prepared pans. You can just eyeball it, or weigh the pans like I do, with my handy dandy OXO Food Scale. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and springy. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Run a small knife around the edges of each pan, then gently invert onto wire racks. Cakes should come out cleanly. Allow to cool completely.

For the ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a bare simmer over low heat. Pout hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth. Add bourbon. Set aside and allow to cool until thickened slightly (the room temperature ganache should be about the consistency of peanut butter). If it’s too thick, you can add a little bit more hot cream and stir until smooth.

For the buttercream: Melt chocolates in a microwave or double boiler over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. If you don’t add the sugar slowly and mix thoroughly after each addition, you run the risk of ending up with gritty icing, which no one will be pleased with! Add cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. Add heavy cream and bourbon and beat until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or heavy cream as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

To assemble:  Level each cake layer by cutting of the domed top with a long serrated knife. Or use a handy cake leveler like I did. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. To keep the platter clean while frosting, place 4 small strips of parchment or waxed paper just under the edges of the cake. This will allow you to frost the cake and then remove these strips cleanly later.

Spread half of the ganache evenly over top of layer, followed approximately 1/2 cup of buttercream. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with remaining ganache, another 1/2 cup of buttercream, and final cake layer, flat side up.

Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This “crumb coat” will make frosting the cake easier. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow this crumb coat to set.

Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining buttercream, reserving some if you’d like to add any decorative details or borders.

Enjoy!

Bourbon Birthday Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits

June 8, 2012

These Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits have got it going on! All of the makings of a fantastic breakfast; spicy sausage meat, fluffy scrambled eggs and salty hash browns, cradled right there between a flaky, buttery biscuit. Perfect when lazing about on a slow weekend morning, but also portable for those of you whose weekends are a bit more action packed!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a great recipe for Spicy Pork & Chorizo Sliders. They were really great! We just couldn’t stop thinking about eating more of them. That’s when I decided I could serve them for breakfast with just a few tiny changes. I whipped up a batch of Buttermilk Biscuits (fantastic recipe listed below), prepared some frozen hash browns, scrambled up some eggs and grilled up a fresh batch of Pork & Chorizo sliders. I put them all together and Voilá! – A most delicious breakfast biscuit was born! These aren’t big, honking biscuits, like those Pillsbury Grands for instance. They are rather petite, ( 2 1/2″) so they fit the slider sized burgers perfectly. I suppose you could make larger biscuits and correspondingly larger Pork & Chorizo patties, but there is something fun about the smaller appetizer like size. But to each his own. Feel free to do whatever makes you happy! (and these Breakfast Biscuits will definitely put a bit of spring in your step!) We were already in love with these spicy little sliders, and just jonesing for more, so making them work for another meal was just the perfect idea. Not to mention, who doesn’t love flaky, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside Buttermilk Biscuits?!!  Including the hash browns put this creation over the top!  Get your weekend off to a great start with these Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits.

Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch of Spicy Pork & Chorizo Sliders
  • 16 frozen potato hash brown rounds – (I used McCain’s Homestyle Baby Cakes frozen hash browns – you could also certainly prepare home made potato hash browns if you’re feeling industrious)
  • Scrambled eggs ( about 8-9 eggs for 16 biscuits)
  • 1 batch Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe below – or store-bought if you’re feeling less industrious)

I’m sure ya’ll don’t really need directions on how to construct these Breakfast Biscuits, but here goes…

Directions:

Prepare half of the recipe for Spicy Pork & Chorizo Sliders (or double the biscuit recipe – depends on how many you’re serving 🙂 ) Preheat your grill.

Prepare the hash browns according to the package directions. Set aside and keep warm.

While the hash browns are cooking, prepare the buttermilk biscuits according to the recipe listed below.

While the biscuits are on the cooling rack, grill the Pork & Chorizo Sliders. Set aside and keep warm.

Scramble the eggs.

Assemble your biscuits.

Enjoy!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: Sixteen 2 1/2″ Biscuits

Recipe from: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups ( 7 1/2 oz/235 gram) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 grams) cake flour or white pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ( 4 oz./ 125 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Cup (8 fl. oz./ 250 ml) well-chilled buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Process briefly to mix. Add the butter and using short pulses, mix the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk all at once, and pulse just to moisten all the ingredients. The dough will stiffen during mixing. It should be slightly shaggy, but not overly sticky or wet. Do not overmix the dough.

Sprinkle a work surface with cake flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the work bowl and turn out the dough; it will be very soft. Sprinkle the top with cake flour. With floured hands, gently knead the dough just a few times. Pat the dough into a loose rectangle about 1 1/2 ” thick. With a plastic dough scraper or large silicone spatula, fold the rectangle like a letter, overlapping the short sides in the middle to make 3 layers. Roll or pat out the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/2″ inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour cut out the biscuits by pushing the cutter straight down and lifting up without twisting. Cut as close together as possible for a minimum of scraps. Pack together and reroll the scraps to cut out additional biscuits.

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake the biscuits until firm to the touch and the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 15 – 18 minutes. Place on rack to cool.


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