Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's time for some biscuits and scones!

I love biscuits and scones. So this weekend as I was working through my Baking Illustrated cookbook I was very happy when I reached a bunch of recipes for them that I had yet to try (the last one I have made before, but I wanted to make it again with a variation).

This weekend I made some cream biscuits, blackberry scones, and some sour cherry almond oatmeal scones.

I have made a number of recipes from the Cook's Illustrated folks and I have to recommend their recipes to everyone. They tend to be very clear and well tested and that always makes baking a lot easier. The only problem I ever have with them is that some of their recipes can turn slightly "vanilla" because they are over tested and they try to make them agreeable to people whom may not have the best palate or just don't know how much better the recipe can be. I found this with their Eggplant Parmesan and could not believe how terrible it was compared to the version I got from the old Italian lady whom taught me Italian Cuisine.

So, on to the cream biscuits....

I love buttermilk biscuits and these are described as the easy version, although I find buttermilk biscuits very easy if you have a food processor. I do have to agree with their opinion of them being easy because they truly are. It took just a couple of minutes for the dough to be complete.

They baked up nicely and tended to take a little longer than the recipe suggested. Here is the finished product...

Their taste was ok, but without the buttermilk they were less moist and tender and lacked the nice tang that buttermilk imparts. These biscuits have a lot of utility though since they can be used as a breakfast treat with some jam or corn syrup, or they can be used as a nice biscuit to go with soup or stew.

Cream Biscuits

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1. Adjust the oven rack the upper-middle position and heat to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together (about 20-30 seconds). Transfer the dough to the countertop, leaving the dry bits in the bottom of the bowl. Add 1 tbsp at a time (up to 4 tbsp) to the dry bits in the bowl until they are moistened after mixing. Add the moistened bits to the dough and knead the dough until smooth, about 30 seconds.

3. Press the dough into an 8 inch round (you can put it in a cake pan to make it easy) and cut with a sharp knife or dough scraper into 8 wedges. Place biscuits onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 15-17 minutes. They are best served warm.


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