Man, sometimes I just gotta bake. There are some Saturday mornings where nothing will fall into place until I’m standing at the kitchen counter wearing an apron and trying to wipe flour smudges off my cheek.
A few weeks ago, I was searching for a way to use up leftover buttermilk we had in the fridge from the loaded sweet potato skins. After some searching Mike came across this recipe for jam-filled buttermilk biscuits from Bon Appetit and it sounded ideal – like a breakfast appropriate linzer torte cookie and I could use the homemade strawberry-rhubarb preserves we made over the summer. Double win! I was off and running.
Until the first step: whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to blend. Freeze flour mixture 1 hour. Okay, yes in theory this is a simple step. But who has freaking room for a mixing bowl in their freezer? We shop at Trader Joe’s, people – our freezer is already packed! I transfered the mixture from the standing mixer’s bowl to a slightly smaller one and played a game of freezer Tetris to make it work. I’m still not sure what the point of this step is. If anyone does know, can you please clue me in?
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the next step blew smoke out of my ears: Transfer flour mixture to food processor. Add butter (already cut into small pieces) and cut in using on/off turns on the food processor. Seriously? I read this one a gazillion times. As much as I love to bake, I admittedly don’t understand the inherent chemistry of baking so I usually follow directions to the letter. But one baking commandment that has always served me well is Thou Shalt Not Overmix Flour. This is especially important once something liquidy is added like eggs or milk. You end up with a tough, rubbery consistency. For realies, I don’t even let the standing mixer do the work once a dry and wet mixtures are combined – its just me and the spatula. But, this is Bon Appetit and I guess they know what they’re doing so into the food processor it went.
Next steps, more headaches and the recipe after the jump.
Once the batter was mixed and buttermilk added and the dough patted into a one inch round on the counter, it was time to cut out the biscuits. “Uh, hon?” Mike calls while reading over the directions, “we don’t have a biscuit cutter.” Mike always speaks extra slowly when he is delivering bad news. Meh, we can find a workaround here. I scout out the kitchen for an appropriately sized replacement. Aha! The lid of our coffee grinder! The biscuits are saved!
We began cutting out thick rounds of dough and placing them on cookie sheets. The buggers did not hold together very well. At the time I cursed the food processor step but in reality I probably just needed to add more buttermilk. I did my best to pat them back together and some obeyed more than others. This did not faze me. I have met misbehaving pastries before and I dominated them. Plus, this was just for Saturday breakfast, not a dinner party, so I wasn’t preoccupied with appearances.
Next step, smoosh the middle of the biscuit with my thumb for a little jam cradle. (Side step: use other hand to hold biscuit together while being smooshed.) Spoon “1 tablespoon of jam” into each hole. I read this to mean “put jam in the middle and just eyeball it.” Bake until golden brown. Well, we used whole wheat flour so these suckers started out golden brown, but we were able to guesstimate pretty accurately.
The result? Pretty good. They were hearty and the jam held up its end of the bargain with a sweet note although the jam to biscuit ratio was a little off. For round two, I’d make sure the dough is moist enough to hold together and then add more jam. The texture wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it. They aren’t the light, buttery breads I’ve come to love at Popeye’s high-end Southern style restaurants. These guys are dense. If you don’t like the flavor you can recycle them as, oh I don’t know, an edible hockey puck. Or a doorstop. Or a blunt object to ward off home invaders. Maybe it was the use of whole wheat flour instead of unbleached all purpose flour. Maybe the coffee grinder cap wasn’t the best solution ever. Or maybe I just need to try it again. Either way, it was a fun experiment. Even if the flavors and texture didn’t come out exactly as I’d imagined, they were still a nice breakfast.
- 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
- 9 tablespoons raspberry, cherry or apricot jam
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl to blend. Freeze flour mixture 1 hour. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Transfer flour mixture to processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Return mixture to large bowl. Make well in center of mixture. Add chilled buttermilk and stir just until blended and moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Gather dough together and pat into 1-inch-thick round (do not knead). Using 2 3/4-inch-diameter biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits. Transfer buttermilk biscuits to large ungreased baking sheet, spacing 1§ inches apart. Gather scraps and re-pat to 1-inch thickness, then cut out additional biscuits, for a total of 9.
Insert thumb into center of 1 biscuit, making deep indentation that almost reaches bottom, then push toward sides of biscuit to form 1-inch-diameter hole. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Spoon 1 tablespoon jam into each hole. Bake jam-filled biscuits until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Serve biscuits warm.