Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Love Me Some Biscuits!

Most of you that know me understand that I am crazy about Food Network. I am selective about which stars I watch depending on their cooking styles. But, let me tell you, when I'm hooked, I'm hooked. Here is a biscuit recipe from Alton Brown that your cookbooks cannot do without. Baking is a very precise science and recipes of such must be followed exactly. I once had an older woman tell me, "Honey, if you can master a good biscuit from scratch, you've mastered it all." Well, of course I'd like to think I've succeeded at this very recipe. I baked these for a bridal brunch I hosted a few weeks ago. I served them with Honey Orange Butter (my recipe below) and assorted jams. Hats off to you, Alton! You are the biscuit god. I hope you can make some for yourself; be hungry because you'll eat the whole tray. Please remember, don't knead that dough too much!
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Honey Orange Butter:
1/2 tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or 1 stick of real butter if you wish (and usually, I wish)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of honey
Fresh orange zest
1.) Allow butter to soften to a spreadable consistency.
2.) Pour honey and orange zest into butter. I usually use 1/2 cup of honey and a whole orange zested because I like the strong taste of each.
3.) Mix WELL and chill until ready to serve.

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