Monday, January 09, 2012
Make Ahead Biscuits
This recipe will revolutionize your biscuit making future. Your welcome.
Well actually, we all have Cooks Illustrated to thank for this one. So thank you dear Christopher Kimball for that wonderful test kitchen of yours.
About a year ago I bought this cookbook, which has proven to be a fantastic investment. I am all about those Cooks Illustrated cookbooks (and PBS shows) and thankfully our local library keeps a nice stock of the cookbooks. But this cookbook in particular became part of my growing cookbook collection. Mostly in part to these amazing biscuits.
Actually, I am not a biscuit girl. I am more of a bagel and cream cheese kind of gal. But now that I live in what most people would consider 'the South', biscuits are a staple. And since I married one of these Southern boys we must have these carb staples on hand quite frequently. And thanks to this recipe, we do.
The beauty of it is they are ridiculously easy to make and produces great results every time. Better yet, you pop them in the freezer, unbaked, and they are ready to bake in the oven within 10-15 minutes. Genius.
I love King Arthurs square biscuit cutters. I used to have a set, which are now gone, and I am longing for another. They are very sharp and give a much better "rise" on the biscuits.
Freezer Biscuits6 cups (30 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups heavy cream (** a big carton of heavy cream is only 4 cups. Instead of buying 2, I use the carton and then add 1/2 cup of buttermilk)
Line baking sheet with parchment paper (may need 2 baking sheets); set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead dough briefly until smooth, about 1 minute, adding extra flour if necessary (if dough is too sticky).
(Side note: I got those black bracelets during my first trip to Papua New Guinea 17 years ago. I have never taken them off.)
Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle (or square). Cut biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter. Lay biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. If using a round cutter, gather scraps and re-knead them briefly to combine, then pat dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle and cut more biscuits; process can be repeated a third time. Yield: about 24 biscuits, depending on size and shape.
To bake and serve immediately: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After cutting biscuits, spread them out over 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake biscuits one sheet at a time, 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- OR -
To freeze: Wrap the baking sheet tightly with greased plastic wrap (or ungreased press-n-seal) and freeze until biscuits are solid, about 6 hours. Transfer frozen biscuits to a large ziplock freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month.
When ready to bake biscuits, do not thaw. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.
Notes: You may bake as few or as many biscuits at a time as you wish. Regardless of how many you bake, make sure they are spaced 2 inches apart, and if using more than one baking sheet, bake only one sheet at a time.