Friday, November 27, 2009

Southern Comfort

I love biscuits and cornbread. Jambalaya and gumbo. Gravy. Bacon. All the delights of the South, although I don't know about grits or chicken fried steak- but I won't knock it 'till I try it. I made biscuits on Sunday night. Then I made ham and cheese sandwiches with them and served them with soup (tomato for me, cream of mushroom for Tyler- both from a can I'm not ashamed to admit). This was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy night. I think it was rainy. But in any case, this is definitely comfort food. The biscuits were good, but not as good as a previous recipe I had made from America's Test Kitchen (I'm telling ya, they never steer me wrong), so I have included that recipe below. Sorry there's no photo for this post. We were hungry.

Makes 12 biscuits

· 2 cups flour
· 2 tsp baking powder
· 1/2 baking soda
· 1 tsp sugar
· 3/4 tsp table salt
· 1 cup cold buttermilk
· 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly + 2 tbsp for brushing tops of baked biscuits if desired

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.*

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2 1/4 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.
Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

*When you stir slightly cooled melted butter into cold buttermilk, the butter will clump. Although this might look like a mistake, it's one of the secrets to this recipe. The clumps of butter are similar to the small bits of cold butter in biscuits prepared according to the traditional method and help guarantee a light and fluffy interior.

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