Buttermilk Biscuits

buttermilk biscuitsIt’s buttermilk baking week here at our house, because about a week ago I purchased a quart of buttermilk and promptly forgot what I meant to bake with it. This happens sometimes – I come home from the grocery store with some key ingredient, fully intending to bake something I saw on Pinterest or in a Better Homes & Gardens Facebook post or in a Woman’s Day magazine.

A few days later, I find the ingredient in question and wonder what I meant to make with it…which means I then have to search online, seeking out recipes that put it to use. Which, if I’m honest, usually leads me down into the rabbit hole of recipes one can find on the internet, creating the need for more ingredients that I’ll someday buy and wonder what I meant to bake with them. Anyway…because I had some buttermilk left from this weekend’s pound cake, I decided to whip up some buttermilk biscuits with last night’s chicken-and-mashed-potatoes dinner.

The key to biscuit preparation is to handle the dough as little as possible. Easy handling creates those highly desirable flaky layers that good biscuits always have; a heavy hand will yield hockey pucks. I did have to knead my dough just slightly before i patted it down, and I’m happy to say that I still had some pretty flaky layers. Note: you may also need just a bit more buttermilk if your dough is too dry, but add sparingly. It’s easy to add more liquid, but impossible to take it away.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and very gently pat it to 1/2 inch thickness – do not use a rolling pin. Fold over 5 times, then pat down again to 1 inch thickness. Using a round cutter, cut biscuits and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Re-form the scraps and cut remaining dough, noting that these biscuits will likely be a bit tougher than the first ones.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Buttermilk Pound Cake

buttermilk pound cake“There’s a hole in this cake,” says Maria Portocalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, when presented with a Bundt from her soon-to-be-in-laws. So what exactly is a Bundt cake? According to Wikipedia, the Bundt is based on a European fruit cake called Gugelhupf or, in the north of Germany, Bundkuchen. The Nordic Ware company began making Bundt pans in the U.S. in the 1950s and, with the help of some publicity from Pillsbury, the pans became popular.

When you look at the photo below, you’ll have a new appreciation for the need to a) properly grease and flour your Bundt pan and b) allow your cake to cool completely before attempting to remove it from said pan. I thought my baking spray, which includes a combination of cooking spray and flour, would be enough to release the Bundt…but I was wrong. Also, I removed the cake when it was still slightly warm, which could have been another problem.

Moral of the story: grease your pan with shortening, flour your pan, and wait until your cake cools completely before you remove it from the pan so you can avoid the torn Bundt situation that I experienced in the photo below. Despite its less-than-perfect appearance, the cake itself is quite delicious.

Ingredients

Buttermilk Pound Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Almond Drizzle

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • About 1 tablespoon water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add buttermilk and flour mixture alternatively, beating until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 70 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely in pan; remove and invert on a cake plate before drizzling.

For the drizzle: in a large glass measuring cup combine powdered sugar and almond extract. Add water slowly, about 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach a thick drizzling consistency. Pour over top of cake and allow to drip down the sides.

Below, the evidence of my faulty pan-greasing and haste of removal is clearly observed. At least it tastes good.

bundtmishap