Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Buttermilk and cheddar biscuits

I have long been enchanted with Food TV and those amazing talented chefs, many possessing wizard, often alien capabilities. Forever, their knife skills, flaming grills, and beautifully propped "kitchens" had me pining, begging for more ; ahh those shameless memorable moments, even hours, bottom parked in front of channel 110. So, now I just say it. That this morning was no different. It started when Ina Garten went all sneaky on me and in her barefoot way, invited her breakfast party into my living room. The audacity! How dare she? More so, how dare I resist? ( honestly, how, can I be so weak?) 

On she went, convincing me that my breakfast making mastery needed much improvement. and of course didn't quite match up to the hooplah -hurrah of the Contessa's. There I was, mesmerised and in hallucinogenic straits, going from pantry to refrigerator, scavenging for ingredients. It was the second item on her day's special that had my brain tripping. After quieting the restless stirring in me, time being well past noon, I decided to make my breakfast bash happen, starting and starring those jawdroppingly good buttermilk cheddar biscuits.

Before my rant begins, a note to all health/ diet purists, those condemners of fat,  there is an almost half pound of butter, which Ina has you cube- cut chilled, like in pie dough style. This much needed element in turn is what brings on the resulting indulgence, as flaky a biscuit as you could dream up in your wildest. Further, those fatcubes carouse with a plentiful amount of grated cheddar. It is this same shameless cavorting that makes the whole show worthy, perhaps one with few regrets and nothing that a few hours at the gym can't solve. 

Adding to an even more flaky outcome is the approach of the half cup of buttermilk (again cold) mixed into the butterspeckled dough. The moisture from these two alone, once dough hits heat will lift the surrounding parts to bring on layers of soft, rich, fluff-flakiness, mimicking an outcome similar to that of rank pastry.

Hit me over the head if I forget to mention the warm, fragrant awesomeness that comes toward, becoming the air you breathe, and breaking into every crevice of your home. This alone is reason that buttermilk cheddar biscuits are something you should not ever pass up. 

Finally, you could cut the dough into round cookie cutter shapes, but if desiring the rustic homestyle look, cut with knife into whatever shape your whim so desires.

This is easy, people. I goad you forward on, embrace your inner contessa and ye bake these utterperfect, soon favorite biscuits. 

(adapted from Ina Garten's buttermilk cheddar biscuits)
  • 2 c all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp baking powder 
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ c cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 cold extra-large egg
  • 1 c grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • sea salt, optional ( this I omitted)
  • ½ c grated cheddar
 Baked and browned. Maybe try breakfast for dinner tonight?
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Sift 2 cups flour with baking powder and salt in bowl of electric mixer. 
  • On slow speed mix in cold butter cubes and allow mixture to resemble coarse crumbs, the size of peas.
  • Combine buttermilk and eggs in a small bowl. Add into the flour/butter mixture. Beat again on low speed until just moistened.
  • Mix cheddar with a small handful of extra flour. Add cheese to the dough. Mix all until roughly combined.
  • Take out and on floured surface, knead the dough about 6-7 times.
  • Roll dough out to a 10" 5" rectangle.
  • Divide and cut dough making eight smaller rectangles or use a 3' cookie cutter. (I made even smaller ones and got 12 total.)
  • Place biscuits on lined baking tray. Brush tops with egg wash.
  • Top with sea salt and cheddar if desired.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until biscuits are cooked and tops browned.
  • Serve warm.
And a week before school begins, my helper hands leave their cutting skills behind to master classwork. Not as much fun according to the two. Don't tell them I agree.
Polished and shiny. That's what good eggwash does.
Pretty, pretty props and delicious condiments illustrate just how far out a show it can be.

Last year, this time : why not have some pizza?
“... Do not be afraid.
    I am your shield, your very great reward." (Genesis 15:1)

These are the words the Lord spoke to Abram/Abraham. We are all Abraham. God is our shield, always in control and His promises forever hold true.