There’s nothing better than tender, flaky biscuits.
There are three things that guarantee tender, flaky biscuits every time: flour, fat and folding. The type of flour you use will take your biscuits from tough to tender. I use a combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour, so that I have enough structure in my biscuits to create the flaky layers, but they are tender when I break into them. Then there is fat. You want it cold. It should be blended into the flour, but you also want some pieces to stay in tact to create the flakiness. This is just like making pie dough. Lastly there is folding. By folding the dough, you create even more layers and the biscuits are guaranteed to be flaky.
I think monkey bread was the first thing my younger brothers ever baked. They loved the gooey mess of making them as much as the caramel goodness of eating them. Truth told, when I leave the house for any amount of time, my husband makes them with my own boys. He waits until I leave, because he knows the ovens won’t be in use and he can sneak the tube of biscuits into the house. Yep, I’ve found the discarded tubes in my house. As a result I never get to eat them, which I think is part of his master plan. Here is my twist on the classic with chocolate tucked in homemade biscuits. I’ve baked them as individual Monkey Muffins to make them even more festive for a party or Sunday brunch.
Some of you may know that I’ve partnered with Gold Medal Flour for my bread website, breadin5.com. It was a natural fit, since we always tested our bread recipes with their flour. Gold Medal is the most widely available and it has consistent results loaf, after loaf. They have recently redesigned their flour bags and sent me a bunch of samples to take a look at. One of the new designs is for the self-rising flour. I can’t use this in my yeasted bread recipes, but I love making biscuits with it. The results are perfect every time and it means having to hunt for less ingredients. Read More
When I grow up I want my very own Masala Farm. The first time I visited Suvir and Charlie’s home I felt as though I belong there. They have created a home in the countryside made of magic, an impeccable sense of style and an art collection from their travels to every corner of the world. Not to mention a kitchen that makes me weak at the knees, as much for the equipment as for the sun light and views. Masala Farm is the perfect blend of The Selby and the city to farm show, Green Acres. Their 120+ chickens roost in a stylish hen house with ample sky lights, so they will lay the tastiest eggs on the planet. The alpacas, sheep and goats share a pasture with the domestic geese, all living in harmony. It inspires the body, heart and soul just to be there. It is not by chance that the place evokes such love, it is Charlie and Suvir who created such a utopia. They seem to have created this wonderland in order to gather their friends and family. The entire upstate NY community has dined with them, their friends travel thousands of miles, from city homes, to restore at Masala Farm. These two men are the most beautiful, creative, gracious, generous people I have ever met. This is reflected clearly in their home, their food and in their new book, Masala Farm.
This past summer my family stopped at Masala Farm after attending my brother’s wedding. We arrived just as the animals were being fed and my boys, who have grown up in the city, jumped right in to help. I realized they know nothing about this kind of life; farming is a theoretical concept, but not a part of their experience. It was a joy to see them fearless in the task of collecting eggs from the chickens to eat for breakfast. What a gift to show them where their food comes from.
Suvir cooked them fresh eggs, with yolks the color of marigolds, and baked biscuits that made us swoon. I believe my exact words were “Holy &%$#, these are good!” They are like nothing I have had before. Suvir made them with Rose Levy Bernanbaum and she had the same reaction, so you know they are something crazy special. The recipe was a gift to Suvir from our mutual friend Bret Bannon, who grew up eating his grandmother’s biscuits for breakfast. Lucky, lucky man. Bret was kind enough to share with Suvir and I am grateful that the recipe found its way into Masala Farm. Suvir said I can share the recipe with you, so I had Bret, the expert, come over and bake them with me.
I have to admit this recipe was an accident, a happy one, but a mistake nonetheless. I was going to post on shortcakes, with balsamic roasted strawberries. I was mixing up the biscuits and got distracted, probably by something I read on Twitter. I added way too much buttermilk to the dough and they were no longer useful as biscuits. How disappointing to have a recipe in mind and then blow it.
These weren’t just any biscuits, they were made with cheddar cheese, so they would have a slight sharpness to them, which I find a perfect compliment to the sweet berry filling. What to do? There was no way I was tossing these beauties, but they were too soft to work with in the traditional way. Then it hit me, COBBLER.
All the same ingredients, but baked together at one time, even better. I added blueberries, fresh ginger and lemon zest to the strawberries and topped it with my sticky biscuit dough. Thanks to my inability to focus yesterday, I have a new favorite dessert! Read More
A layer of raspberry jam is spread between a rich, buttery, hazelnut cookie dough. The crisscrossed lattice top is the signature design of what may be the oldest recorded pastry; the Linzer Torte. It was developed in Linz, Austria around the year 1650 and has been made much the same way ever since. Why fix it, if it is perfect just as it is. However, I can rarely leave things as they are, so I made them in bite sized portions.
There is a version of this same dessert in England and they call them Jam Biscuits. Today, after watching the Royal Wedding I think it fitting that we bake something British, even if they originated elsewhere. Check out the Linzer Cookie I made for the Cooking Channel blog, same ingredients, different look!