Scones/Biscuits Archive

Friday, March 8, 2013

my favorite buttermilk biscuits

my favorite buttermilk biscuits

I won’t lie: I generally feel — being a Jewish kid from suburban New Jersey — about the least qualified person on earth to talk about biscuits. My grandmother didn’t make biscuits. I am almost certainly the first person in my family to keep my fridge regularly stocked with buttermilk. And growing up, our breakfast breads were a rotation of Thomas’ English muffins, bagels and maybe corn/blueberry or bran muffins, so it’s not like I have a deep well of biscuit nostalgia to tap into when I decide, on a whim, that what our morning, slicked with heavy snow, really needs is freshly baked biscuits.

flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, soda, butter, buttermilk
butter into bits

Odds are, however you make your biscuits, you’re making them wrong. Either the flour isn’t right (all-purpose when it should be White Lily, cake flour or something equally delicate), the leavener is unacceptable (commercial baking powder instead of a homemade blend of baking soda and cream of tartar), you chose the wrong fat (shortening instead of lard, lard instead of shortening, butter instead of shortening or lard), you pulsed your fat into the flour instead of rubbed, you beat instead of rolled, you dropped instead of cut, you used a cookie cutter (gasp!) instead of a juice glass. I’m totally cool with this: I make my biscuits wrong, too.

buttermilk into dry ingredients

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Friday, October 26, 2012

roasted pear and chocolate chunk scones

roasted pear and chocolate chunk scones

One of the saddest things you should probably know about me is that I’m a terrible host. I don’t mean to be; in my head, I’m the kind of person who would find out you were coming over, quickly gather some wildflowers from the side of the road, put them in an old Mason jar, pour-over some coffee from a local roaster, steam cream from an upstate dairy in a spouted glass and pull out something warm and enticing from the oven right as you arrived. In my head, I understand that none of these things are terribly difficult to pull off. In reality, were you to come over right now, you’d find a plate of pears (one with a toddler mouth-sized bite removed) and mostly-empty jar of something delicious, but alas, too delicious to have lasted until you arrived, on the table, a colossal explosion of wooden train tracks and fire station parts all over the carpet and a fireman in a time out (“What did he do?” I asked. “He did NOTHING!” I was informed. Well, then…). Also notable is the absent aroma of freshly-brewed coffee. Upon closer inspection, you might see that I don’t actually own any coffee-making apparatus. And not a single warm thing has left the oven this morning; we had stove-top oatmeal for breakfast again.

tippy pears
peeling the pears

Seriously, you’d revoke my book contact if you saw this place. I might have kept this to myself forever, but I have been found out. I have been found out because in the last month, more strangers have entered my apartment than have in the three-plus years we’ve lived here. They come under the auspices of writing articles about tiny kitchens or wanting to watch me make a recipe from the cookbook, but I know the truth: they want to see how we really live and when they find out, well, I hope they are relieved because are all of the fruits in your bowl intact? Are no firemen in unjust time outs? Good, you’re a step ahead.

pretty pears get a longer photo shoot

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

strawberries and cream biscuits

strawberry and cream biscuits

Did you go strawberry picking last weekend? Did you haul home too many and they are disintegrating faster than you are able to can, preserve, or pluck them individually into your mouth? Do you have strawberry-stained fingers and toddlers? Boy, do I have a treat for you.

hello, strawberries! you were missed.
drying the strawberries

It’s like a strawberry shortcake, stuffed inside a single cake. No wait, it’s a strawberry and cream scone, with overripe strawberries that melt, their juices trickling free of their 2-by-1 confines, as they bake. It’s a mistake, a terrible, terrible mistake, this stuffing of fresh, unstructured berries inside a structured baked good; it might make a red puddled mess around each, like sweet, innocent biscuits got lost on the set of a trashy vampire movie. That can’t be right, can it? Shouldn’t a scone be a tidier thing?

chopped

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

sweet potato (and marshmallow) biscuits

sweet potato biscuits

I admitted somewhere in the comments last week that I’d all but abandoned making my own pumpkin puree these days, baking instead with the always-reliable canned stuff. I think that as home cooks, it’s our tendency to want to do anything and everything that can be from scratch as such, but that I’d never been satisfied with the labor versus outcome balance of roasting pumpkin. To get a dreamy texture like one from canned pumpkin, I found I often had to roast, then puree, then sometimes cook briefly on the stove to thicken it up and often, still found the flavor inconsistent, sometimes delicious, often a little lackluster. I know, I just put you all to sleep. I promise, there is unapologetic goofiness ahead.

squisssssh
mixing wet and dry

What I didn’t get into was my current obsession — putting sweet potato where you’d expect pumpkin. With the arrival of this guy, roasted sweet potatoes are in a near-constant rotation and so it was only a matter of time before they showed up everywhere. Whether I buy sweet potatoes from a Stop & Shop by my parents house or the bottom of a dusty crate at a farmers market on 2nd Avenue, is a remarkably consistent creature of the underground. I roast them for 45 minutes (which makes my apartment smell like bubbling sweet potato caramel, i.e. heaven), let them cool, then peel and run them through a potato ricer and have perfectly textured and flavored purees every single time. This year I’ve been on a huge sweet potato baking kick: pies, pancakes, breads and now this, biscuits.

a great dough for raw dough fiends

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones

baked raspberry ricotta scones

This is the very first recipe I developed for my cookbook. It came as an accident — you would think that someone who spends as much time shopping for groceries as I do wouldn’t constantly run out of flour and cream mid-recipe but I’d surprise you — but I immediately fell in love with it and knew it needed a home in print. Over the last year, I made them whenever I’ve had an excuse and a few times that I didn’t. They fit so squarely within the vision I had for the book that when everything else felt impossible I’d think, “It’s okay. I’ve still got those whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones.” They made me happy.

I just read that back to myself and realize how weird it sounds. It’s been a weird year.

raspberries + flours
raspberries meeting their end

And then, just as quickly as I fell in love with them, I cast them aside for something else. One day in June, a day when I was playing around with breakfast recipes long after I promised I’d cut myself off, I made a new scone and without even blinking, swapped it in and kicked these to the curb. Poor scones; it’s not their fault they’re not the prettiest. They’re a bit craggy and their final shape is always hard to predict. The dough is messy — you cut raspberries right into it, like butter, but don’t worry, there is also butter — and it needs to be treated with a gentle hand. I had my reasons to give it the boot but still.

ricotta, heavy cream, yes

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