Friday, March 25, 2011

Yes, it's a little corny


Photo CooksCountryTV.com

My mom made the most amazing biscuits--and not with dry mix from a box or dough "popped" out of a can. She didn't measure her ingredients--she didn't need to. She used the same mixing bowl every time and just knew by memory or instinct exactly how it should look.

Try as I might, I've never been able to replicate Mom's recipe. But I've found several recipes over the years that are pretty good. Mom always served her baking powder biscuits with beef stew--I don't remember ever having them at breakfast, or with any other type of entree--just beef stew. I like to experiment with different flavors by mixing in herbs or spices, cheese, dried and fresh fruits, or using different types of flours (whole wheat, graham, rye).

Cooks Country TV recently experimented with Cornmeal Biscuits in their test kitchen. These biscuits are soft and light, and have a great cornmeal taste and "chew" without being gritty. They go great with chili, or tomato soup, or even for breakfast with a drizzle of honey. Granted, these are a far cry from simple baking powder biscuits, but I think Mom would approve.

Cornmeal Biscuits 
Makes 12 biscuits.  

If you don’t have buttermilk, whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1¼ cups of milk and let it stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Avoid coarsely ground cornmeal, which makes gritty biscuits.



Ingredients


1cup cornmeal 
1 1/4cups buttermilk
1tablespoon honey
2cups all-purpose flour 
1tablespoon baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
12tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

Instructions



  • 1. SOAK CORNMEAL Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk cornmeal,
    buttermilk, and honey in large bowl; let sit 10 minutes. 



  • 2. PROCESS DOUGH Pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add to bowl with buttermilk mixture and stir until dough forms.


  • 3. KNEAD Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 8 to 10 times. Pat dough into 9-inch circle, about ¾ inch thick. Using 2½-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds (dipping cutter in flour after each cut) and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Gather remaining dough and pat into ¾-inch-thick circle. Cut rounds from dough and transfer to baking sheet.


  • 4. BAKE Bake until biscuits begin to rise, about 5 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes more. Let cool 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm or let cool to room temperature. (Biscuits can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.)

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