Thursday, March 29, 2012

Biscuits for Breakfast

Frankly biscuits are good anytime, but knowing they are for breakfast makes getting out of bed a little easier.

I’m not sure when I developed this fixation on biscuits.  Though I do remember reading about them in novels and thinking why didn’t I have a motherly housekeeper to bake me these addictive treats. Eventually I got tired of my fantasy being just that- a fantasy and starting baking them myself.   Make a double batch and freeze them and you’ll have these ready to go for an easy breakfast or afternoon snack.
For a long time I’ve been happy with the Joy of Cooking recipe, but when I browsed this new cookbook- Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes From my Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson I knew I had to try her Yogurt Biscuits.   You create these lovely feathery layers by cutting and stacking the dough, much like the technique of making puff pastry.
Biscuits freeze well after baking.  Defrost them and then either warm them in the oven or split them in half and lightly toast.  My favorite topping is butter and jam, but honey is good too. 

Yogurt Biscuits
Having made  these, I don’t recommend preheating the baking sheet as directed in the instructions.  It causes the bottom of the biscuits to burn.  Plus, I would shorten the baking time to approximately 12 minutes.   This recipe is versatile; I added lemon zest and 1/3 cup of sugar to my batch.  Other variations could include cheese, herbs, coconut, or cinnamon.  You can also substitute regular yogurt or sour cream for the Greek-style yogurt.

1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting the dough)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 1/3 cup Greek-style yogurt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in the middle of the oven.  Combine the flours, salt, and baking powder in a food processor.  
Add butter to the dry ingredients and pulse about 20 times, or until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles on a sandy beach.  
Next add yogurt and pulse a few times, or until the yogurt is just incorporated.  Avoid overmixing. It’s fine if there are a few dry patches.  Gather the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead five times and press into an inch-thick square.  
Cut in half and stack one on the other.  Repeat two more times- flattening and stacking, then cutting.  Add more flour to prevent sticking as needed.  
Press or roll out the dough into a ¾ inch thick rectangle- if the dough is too tall, the biscuits will tilt and tip over while baking. Cut the dough into twelve equal biscuits. ( I used a round biscuit cutter)
 Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet leaving ½ inch  between each biscuit.  Bake for 12 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown on the edges.    

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