How can you inspire love and devotion? It’s a heavy question for a belated blog entry, I know. Poets, sages and lovers have pondered the question for centuries, but you will be pleased to know that I have the answer: Make biscuits.
Really, that’s it. You might delight and impress if you whip up a free-standing soufflé or a seared salmon roulade, but plunk down a basket brimming with buttery biscuits, still warm from the oven, and you’re sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of all who partake.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: Once you master a basic biscuit recipe, you have an endless array of bread options available. For starters, you can pair rosemary-Parmesan biscuits with vegetable soup on a chilly fall evening, make a healthy & delicious sandwich with leftover whole wheat biscuits, or dust plain biscuits with a bit of sugar, split, then pile high with fresh fruit and a dollop of cream or sweetened yogurt.
An additional beauty of biscuits is they can be made in a matter of minutes from minimal ingredients that you more than likely have in your pantry. If you think you can’t make bread, delight and surprise yourself with biscuits; it’s a great way to start down the delicious path of baking your own bread.
Use a kitchen fork to add the buttermilk, pouring it evenly over the flour mixture and stirring just until a soft dough begins to form. This is a make or break point: if you keep stirring—especially a fully caffeinated stir—you’ll finish with heavy, hockey puckish blobs.
These are guaranteed to brighten your lunch bag!
Whole Grain Buttermilk Biscuits (with Variations)
3 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 and 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork until just until moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough to a 3/4-inch thickness and cut with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 12-13 minutes or until golden. Makes 12 biscuits.
Nutrition per Serving (1 biscuit):
Calories 173; Fat 5.2g (poly 0.3g, mono 1.4g, sat 3.1g); Protein 4.9g; Cholesterol 14mg; Carbohydrate 28.6g; Fiber 1.8; Sodium 382mg)
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
The All-in-One: (pictured above–perfect for lunch!) Prepare as directed, stiring in 2/3 cup finely chopped ham, 1/2 cup shredded sharp Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves along with the buttermilk.
Chive Biscuits: Prepare as directed, stirring in 1/2 cup minced chives along with the buttermilk.
Cheddar-Cumin: Prepare as directed, adding 2 teaspoons ground cumin to the dry ingredients and stirring in 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese along with the buttermilk.
Rosemary-Olive Oil: Prepare as directed, adding 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves to the dry ingredients. Lightly brush tops of the cut biscuits with olive oil just before baking.
Feta-Dill: Prepare as directed, adding 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried), 3/4 cup crumbled feta along with the buttermilk, and (optional) 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.