Saturday, March 30, 2013

Finally, Biscuits

Well it's about time. I've finally figured it out. Buttermilk Buiscuts, that is.

A lot of my favorite combinations involve biscuits.  Biscuits and jam. Strawberries and biscuits. Biscuits and Maple Syrup. I could go on and on. But here's the thing, I've never been able to make them. Sure, I've tried a million times and some were fine, some were ok, and some were just awful.  I've tried all kinds of recipes.  Some were simple and some  involved all sorts up-your-sleeve-tricks. I even tried one that swore by adding hard boiled egg yolks to the biscuit dough before baking.  It didn't work.

But then I found this recipe and well, nothing else matters.

They're flaky, tall, and split perfectly in half with just a slight twist of the wrist.  I can't even begin to list all of things I want to make these for or with.  But, I do know they'll be sticking around.  I finally found them and I don't plan on trying any other way.  These are just too easy, and too good.

Tomorrow I am brining them to brunch.  I hear there will will be gravy and ham- but honestly I'll probably just eat mine with Jam.  So however you like em', here you go...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Tricks

Over the last few months, I've been up to a lot and I've been up to nothing, all at the same time.  The upside about an injury is that you have a lot of time to read and bake and mostly just putz around. The truth is, I like to putz. But I'm quickly learning I like to intermittently putz around. When those moments where you have nothing to do are sprinkled between moments when you have a lot to do.  Mostly, I miss having a lot to do.  Luckily, my days of lounging are winding down.  With a little luck and lots of elbow grease, after three weeks of physical therapy, I'll be back at it.  Well, back at a lot of it, and back to enjoying those periodic moments with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Don't get me wrong, I feel like I've been using my time.  Most of my allotted standing time has been spent in my kitchen.  Nothing too fancy, just old recipes with new tricks.

Like theses.  The peanut butter cookies I've made forever, with some new milk chocolate chips.

Or this lemon tart, now with a whole wheat short bread crust. 

So, I'll admit a good bit of all this has been fun and I've definitely learned some things. Some valuable things.  I've learned that these peanut butter cookies really are better with chocolate chips and that four year old boys really appreciate scooping out the dough and picking out all the chocolate chips.  I've also learned that I am obsessed with whole wheat short bread crusts. Like really really into everything about them-- texture, taste, and color.  

I've got some work to do, but hey- I've got some time. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The last of the huckleberries

As a kid we had several blueberry bushes in our yard, mostly they were just for show, the birds would eat most of the bounty, but we were never short of berries. Between the backyard and our down the street neighbors Pick-your-own-blueberry farm, our pancakes never went without and our freezer was full all winter long. My sister used to eat the frozen berries straight from the bag until her teeth and fingers were numb and her hands and mouth stained a purple you were sure would last weeks.

I, on the other hand, preferred the cakes and breads and pies. I'm still a firm believer in blueberries and this summer when I return home to the east coast to visit my oldest sister and her newest baby boy, I fully intend on eating my fair share-- and then some. 

But, for the past two summers, as I've made my home here in the Pacific Northwest, I've developed a taste for a new type of berry... Huckleberries.  At the end of last summer I had five pounds in my freezer and despite surviving a move across town, I am finally nearing the last of the huckleberries. 

In fact, I'm pretty sure this will be the last baked good I make with them- I have plans to use the leftovers to make huckleberry sipping vinegar for summer cocktails. Huckleberry and Gin anyone? But until then I  leave you with yet again another dessert you can justifiably eat for breakfast. 

Huckleberry Crumb Bars. 

This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen's  adaptation of this recipe from Allrecipes. I liked the first adaptions, but cut down the sugar and upped the lemon a little, to brighten up my frozen huckleberries. Also, since my berries were frozen I kept them that way, but if you have fresh ones, use those. 

1 cup sugar 
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
8 ounces butter (cold) 
1 egg
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 
3 tablespoons cornstarch 
4 cups (frozen) huckleberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan

In a bowl mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, and baking powder, then add salt and lemon zest.  Work in cold butter and egg with a knife or pastry cutter. The dough will be crumbly, however take care not to leave large chunks of butter.  Pour half of the dough into the prepared pan and press it down, with your fingers is fine, to form a bottom crust.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch until the corn starch is well incorporated. Mix in berries. Spread berries evenly over bottom crust. Crumble the remaining crust over top, but do not press down

Bake for 45 minutes or until top is slightly golden brown.  Let chill completely before cutting. 

Until next summer, I bid you adieu, Huckleberries. You'll be missed.