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Friday, March 27, 2009

Basic Biscuits & Shortcake

This is a biscuit recipe that can be simply tweaked to make *shortcake. If you use butter it will have a much richer taste but if you use 1/2 shortening they will be lighter and fluffier it's really just a matter of personal preference. You have probably noticed by the photo that they are not your typical round shape. I got this idea from a cooking magazine and love it! Not only is it easier but the biscuits come out lighter due to less handling and there are no left over scraps.
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
*5 tablespoons butter/shortening very cold (I cut it up and then place it in the freezer for a minute)Plus a few more tablespoons melted to rub on to the biscuits before baking
*3/4 cup half & half
Preheat oven to 450
Line a sheet pan with parchment
In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients
Cut up the butter into small cubes
Mix the butter in the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles course crumbs (You need to still see the butter chunks in it, this is what makes the biscuits light & fluffy)
Pour in the half & half and stir just until it starts to come together (do not over stir) and form into a ball
Dump this onto the parchment lined pan
Pat & form it into a circle about the size of the bottom of a pie plate
Cut it into 8 even wedges (I use a bench scraper for this)
Melt some more butter or margarine and spread this on the biscuits
Bake until golden and fluffy for about 14 minutes

*Sweet Shortcake: Increase the sugar to 2 tablespoons, reduce the flour to 1 3/4 cups and replace the half&half with heavy cream. Before baking, brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar.

*Make sure these ingredients are ice cold: milk & butter

For soft fluffy biscuits place close together on the baking sheet but for crispy biscuits place further apart, about an inch apart!

Try replacing buttermilk for the half&half this will make a tender tart biscuit!

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