Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breakfast Biscuit Sandwich

I love breakfast!  I don't know how many times you'll read that on this blog, but I really do love breakfast.  I especially love savory breakfasts.  A few years ago, I started searching for the perfect biscuit recipe to add to my collection.  I tried many different recipes found online and pinterest, and finally I started searching cookbooks.  One of my first stops was one of Paula Deen's cookbooks.  I was surprised to find her recommendation was to buy a bag of the frozen ones, bake them, hide the evidence and claim them as your own.  As good as the frozen ones are, and we all know they are yummy!  I was, and am, trying to steer clear of processed and packaged foods for my family, so the hunt continued.  I came across one book that caught my eye, Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, unfortunately it was out of stock on Amazon, so I waited.  Believe me it was worth the wait.

A good breakfast sandwich has to start with a really great biscuit.  So far, this recipe is my favorite.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled shortening, lard, and/or butter, roughly cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup chilled shortening, lard, and/or butter, roughly cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup milk or buttermilk, divided
softened butter, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly spray a cookie sheet with baking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Scatter the first 1/4 cup pieces of chilled fat (doesn't that sound delicious?) throughout the flour mixture.  Using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers, work the fat into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles well-crumbled feta cheese.  Add the additional 1/4 cup fat to the mixture and continue to work it in until no pieces remain larger than a pea.  If this process took longer than 5 minutes place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to re-chill the fat.

Make a deep well in the center of the flour, pour 3/4 cup of the milk into the well, reserving 1/4 cup, and stir with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the milk.  Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  If there is remaining dry flour, add the reserved milk one tablespoon at a time.  If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a clean surface.  Turn dough out on to the surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour.  With floured hands, fold dough in half and pat into a 1/3-1/2 inch round.  Fold in half again.  Repeat if the dough is still clumpy.  Pat the dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round for a normal biscuit, 3/4 inch thick for a tall biscuit, and  a 1 inch thick for a giant biscuit.  Brush off any visible flour from the top. 

Using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter, cut biscuits very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter.  The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits (the scraps will make tougher biscuits, but no one in my family ever seems to complain about them).

Bake biscuits on the top rack of the oven for 10-14 minutes until light golden brown.  You can rotate the pan after 6 minutes of baking to ensure even cooking.

When biscuits are done, remove from the oven and lightly brush the tops with softened butter.  Serve hot.

Makes 4-12 biscuits depending on size

*I prefer using butter for both of the fat options.  I've used shortening too, and it works great, but we prefer the flavor that the butter provides.

*Dessert variation - Add 3 tbsp sugar to the flour mixture, replace one or both of the fat options with coconut oil.  When biscuits are done, cut in half, fill with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries, top with more strawberries.  These make wonderful Shortcakes.

To finish off your Sandwich
Add one or two eggs per person, prepared however you like (we prefer scrambled for these delicious sandwiches), cheese if desired, and a slice of ham, sausage, or a couple slices of bacon.  Enjoy

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