Tomorrow will be the last morning before we join the rest of the world in springing forward one hour. I love the light at 5 a.m. But I’m an early riser so every spring it feels like I’m in on the secret.
I’ve been trying to master gain a sliver of competency in the art of baking, for which I have had reasonable success throughout the winter. A few weeks ago, I decided to try what I assumed would be brutally difficult: make my own biscuits.
As a non-southern American, making anything from scratch (biscuits, pancakes, brownies, tortillas) all seemed totally impossible before I came to Europe. But small town old Europe has a way of making you get over your little American disabilities. Note too future traveller to these parts: don’t think you’re going to go into the little shop down the street and find vanilla extract. You won’t. Bring it with you. You also won’t find pre-mixed anything except an array of homemade hooch, which I suppose could be helpful if you’ve committed to making cookies for a party and realize too late the error of your expectations. Don’t worry: people will eat sugar cookies if they’re cleverly presented on a plate.
But my baking skills have profited tremendously from the lack of conveniences. I’ve made just about every dough you can imagine. Long story short: I decided that it was time to conquer biscuits. I adapted Orangette’s Cream Biscuits, which were adapted from Marion Cunningham’s Cream Biscuits from her book, The Breakfast Book.
The best thing about the recipe is that I had all of the ingredients on hand. Yes, I keep heavy cream nearby. Don’t look at me like that.
Here’s the ingredient list:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 to 1 ½ cups heavy cream
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
And here’s the method:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Add 1 cup cream, slowly.
4. Gather the dough together gently as you add the cream, and when it finally holds together, it’s ready to knead.
5. Knead the dough on a floured surface for no more than a minute.
6. Pat it (don’t roll it) down until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick.
7. Cut it into 12 circles with a biscuit cutter. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, just cut it into 12 squares.
8. Space them 2-inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Don’t wait on these babies to sit around all day before eating them. Take the out of the oven when they’re golden brown, let them cool so that you don’t burn your mouth, slather them with butter or jam or both! and eat. Your stomach will thank you. And so will your baking self-confidence.