Guess what today is!! It's my turn to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie, the fabulous baking group that I joined nearly two years ago. 50 recipes later and the rotation finally got to me. I must say that I've come a long way since my very first recipe with the group - the summer fruit galette. Boy, that was good! I knew I was in for a lot of tasty treats and a few extra pounds after eating that galette. In two years, I've made my first pie dough from scratch, first cheesecake, first soufflé, first custard, first rice pudding, learned how to marble a cake, figured out what in the world rugelach is, acquired lots of new bakeware, and made the best darn ice cream I've ever had.
So the time has finally come for little old ME to pick a recipe for the entire group to make. And what did I pick? Well, I picked the Sweet Cream Biscuits. I compiled a bucket list about a year ago and put "make biscuits from scratch" on my list. They're something I've always wanted to make and never had. And since all of the best sounding desserts had already been chosen within the group, I decided that finally getting to try my hand at biscuits would be a fun task.
And boy, I never knew biscuits could be so difficult to make. It sounded like some other TWDer's were having problems as well. A few people complained their biscuits didn't rise much and were a little hard. Well, I baked my first batch... and had the same results. Just flat little round things that were too hard.
So I looked for some tips. It seems the most common thing I read about was handling the dough too much... which I figured was my problem. I tried a second batch and they came out better, but still not perfect. Here's how they looked... not bad, but not real good either.
So I researched a little more. And I shopped for new flour... and fortunately I found the crown jewel of biscuit making in the south - White Lily flour. So I used the new flour, barely handled the dough at all - to the point that I worried I hadn't mixed it enough, and tried another new technique I'd read about - not twisting the biscuit cutter as you press down on the dough to cut your biscuits.
And... it worked. Sort of. The biscuits were a lot lighter and they rose higher. For some reason there were a couple that came out sorta flat, but most of them were great. I guess biscuit making takes some practice!
At any rate, they were delicious. My husband insisted we have sausage gravy with them, so they were completely smothered in it. Soooo good and calorie laden. Totally sinful. Now that I know how to make biscuits and sausage gravy, I might be gaining a few pounds, because I know my husband will be asking for it frequently.
Thank you to all the TWD members for baking along with me this week! I hope everyone enjoyed the biscuits!
Here's the recipe for anyone who'd like to try it. And I'll be posting the sausage gravy recipe tomorrow, so check back!
Sweet Cream Biscuits
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 23)
Makes about 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter (I used a glass, and it was fine), and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and start tossing the ingredients together. If necessary, add more cream, a spoonful at a time, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even – a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.
Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)
Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.
Serving: Ideally these biscuits should go from oven to table and be served with cold sweet butter.
Storing: You can keep the biscuits in a plastic bag overnight and give them a quick warm-up in the oven the next day, but you won't recapture their freshly made flakiness.