Monday, September 6, 2010
Empire State Building Biscuits
A magazine that I now wish to subscribe to is "Cooks Illustrated."
I picked up a copy at my mother-in-law's and read a delightful article all about the science of the perfect fluffy biscuit. Cook's Illustrated was refreshingly free of advertising. No attempting to read a small article sandwiched between columns of ads. No scavenger hunt at the back of the magazine to find the second half of the recipe. (Take that, "Cooking Light!" I bite my thumb at thee.) Just recipes and a few good kitchen gadget reviews. I loved the process the author went through trying to discover the perfect biscuit. I learned a lot! I have tried this recipe 3 times and been rewarded with tall, fluffy, soft, and moist biscuits each time--even though I subbed whole wheat flour in for 1/2 of the flour called for.
2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 whole wheat and 1 all purpose)
1 Tablespoon double acting baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
1. Place dry ingredients in a food processor and blend until mixed (about 6 one second pulses.)
2. Scatter butter cubes over the dry ingredients and pulse eight to 10 pulses until the mixture looks like pebbly coarse corn meal.
3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until just blended.
4. Sprinkle 1 cup flour on a cookie sheet. Use cooking spray to coat a round 9" cake pan and a 1/4 cup measuring cup. Scoop level dough with measuring cup and drop onto floured baking sheet. With floured hands, gently shape into a ball, shake off excess flour and place in pan. Fill the pan around the edges and then place the last 3 biscuits in the center of the ring.
5. Brush the biscuits with butter (or be lazy and just put a little pat on top of each one like I did.)
Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 450 and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 2 minutes, invert on a cloth and break apart. Turn biscuits right side up and let cool 5 more minutes.
These biscuits are not flaky. They are tall and soft, similar to KFC biscuits, but not as dry. Flaky biscuits require different ingredients and a different technique. I have to go read "Cooks Illustrated" to find out how.