Saturday, March 29, 2008

We've waited long enough

by Lisa

Wow. It's been a long time, friends. Almost a whole month has gone by without us saying even a word. Is anyone still there?

I've been thinking about you, readers, and have wanted to tell you about recent adventures. A lot of important things have been happening around here. One, I made my first hummus from scratch - well, almost from scratch. (Thanks, Soofie!) Two, Steph and I finally (two years later!) made the Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree and had the most wonderful dinner party ever, hands down - mostly because of the creative and hilarious company. (What could be more fun than giving each other piggyback rides around a tiny apartment after eating a delicious meal topped off with chocolate pudding pie?) Three, I ventured out to Blue Bottle - what else is there to be said?

But what I come to bring you today is these to-die-for biscuits. Actually, just hours before, I had made Steph's chocolate pudding (a pot de creme of sorts), but kinda felt guilty blogging about that. It is her recipe, and she still needs to write about it; after all, who do I call every time I forget the three ingredients that go into it? I wonder: did I make these biscuits out of penance? I really still don't like to bake, even though I often get all kinds of urges to do so; where they come from, who knows. But I was kind of hungry, and it's nice to have a motivation to do something I do/n't want to do. I knew I could, for at least a few minutes, trick myself into thinking I enjoy baking if I knew I could eat the result before no time at all. That's what quickbreads are for, no?

After cutting out the shapes (hearts, I know, I'm a softie - what can I say?), I wasn't quite sure what to do with the scraggly edges that remained. I'd tuned out almost everything I'd heard about baking, but I vaguely remembered that it's not a good idea to overwork dough that you want to be flaky. So, tossing the remainders on the baking sheet along with the nicely cut shapes, my roommate Anna teases, "Wow, Lisa. You really don't have much patience for baking, do you?" Hey, hey. I'm just trying make flaky biscuits, okay?

We enjoyed the dinosaur-shaped pieces with honey, watching the pieces as though figuring out what shapes the clouds were forming. Okay, not really. We were busier consuming them than thinking up such romantic notions, but I'm a writer - I feel like I have to say idealized things like that.

But without further ado, let me give you the recipe; I've waited long enough and probably so have you. And, Stephie, I promise to make you a whole tray of them, to make up for making the pudding and these, without you here!

Heart and Dinosaur Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (I used 1T less than a stick)
3/4 cup half-and-half (you could also use cream, buttermilk, milk)

Preheat oven to 425. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut cold butter into pieces, and using a pastry blender (highly recommended!), work the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. (Alternatively, if you are without a pastry blender, you can use two knives, or your fingers to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.) Pour in liquid and stir a few times to mix. Turn onto a floured surface, and knead once or twice in order to bring it together. The dough should be sticky, resist the temptation to add too much more flour, but you can if you need to. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll dough to half-inch thickness. Using a floured cookie cutter, cut biscuits. Place biscuits (and the edges, if you want dinosaurs/clouds) on a parchment paper on a baking sheet, next to each other, so that they rise up instead of out. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Makes 10-12 biscuits.


Stephanie said...

i looooove these biscuits. i am so proud of you...using a pastry blender with skill, trying to embrace baking! lisa, you're growing so much as a person. you can make me grow more (outward)...directly proportional to the number of biscuits of yours that i eat

Bonbon Oiseau said...

the3se look fantastci! I love your blog--so glad I found it!