Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello again...

Has it really been 20 days since I've graced your mental space with my presence? Alas, I am here with more tales from the kitchen!

I have tried out so many new recipes lately! So many that I have barely been able to keep up, so I will start with one that is not new but is getting better with time. Since I am a Southerner, I have a torrid and torturous love affair with the bites of buttery, doughy goodness that are biscuits.

Why is my relationship with a Southern staple so strained? Well, because although they are easy to prepare, cheap, and tasty they are essentially flour and fat. Which is not a great choice for a girl who is celebrating a full week at her lowest weight to date in her weight loss journey ( this dedicated soul of which we speak would be me!). But biscuits called my name, and who am I to ignore the beckoning of one of Earth's greatest culinary treasures?

And now a brief discussion on biscuits. Slave women were the originators of the Southern biscuit that is characterized by a soft, tender crumb and buttery flavor. Today's biscuits are of the baking powder variety, meaning that baking powder is the leavening of choice for the dough. This is the alternative to the beaten biscuit, which was traditionally beaten 100 strokes "or more for company". The beaten biscuit was the original version of the modern recipe which was popular when leavening was not available. At the time pearlash was the only widely available leavening but caused a bitter taste in biscuits. But I digress....After looking up a recipe for beaten biscuits, I decided that it's best that I thank God (swt) for technology and stick with this recipe which I have always had great success with.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups White Lily all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, margarine or shortening (or any combination of the three)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut fat into small pieces and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix well with a fork or a whisk. Once the fat is cold, use a biscuit cutter tool like this one or your hands to incorporate the fat into the flour mixture (using the tool is better because it keeps the fat cold which creates a flaky, tender biscuit). Add the milk a little at a time, mixing as you go. Add milk until the dough comes together and is a little wet. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and flour the top, adding flour until the outside of the dough does not stick to the surface. Use a 2 inch cutter for biscuits that will be for snacking or with a meal, use a 3 inch cutter if the biscuits will be used for sandwiches. If you prefer biscuits with soft sides, place the biscuits so that they are slightly touching, if you prefer brown, crisp biscuits space biscuits 2 inches apart. Brushing the tops with milk or melted butter is optional. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Then try not to eat the whole pan.

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