Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mom's Biscuits, and a Jam Tasting

My son Matthew was in town for a few days and as always,  there was too little time and too much to do.    He is a sucker for anything I cook, and always looks forward to home cooked anything.  Matt hates to make any specific food requests because as much as he enjoys my cooking, he doesn't want me to be slave to the kitchen when he is in town.  We usually strike a good balance with some home cooking and a visit to someplace for seafood, and the mandatory pizza.     

Matt's last visit was in June during strawberry season.  We all went strawberry picking back then.  He never got to see the fruits of our labor in jam form.  I made strawberry jam and strawberry rhubarb jam from that bounty.  As a matter of fact, he missed my whole jam packed, jam making summer.  I thought it would be fun to include a Jam Tasting in Sunday's breakfast.  You just can't taste jam straight out of the jar.  It needs a vehicle.  Well, when Matthew is home, the only vehicle of choice is biscuits.  Matthew loves biscuits.  I mean, he LOVES biscuits. So...I made some biscuits...and he tasted.
I usually make my biscuits with buttermilk.  I didn't have any buttermilk and wanted to avoid going to the store so I decided to make a recipe that was my mother's recipe.  I've been looking at this recipe card for a while now, waiting for the right time to make biscuits.  Now was the time.  I love my mom's old recipe cards. When I look at her handwriting it makes me feel like she is still here.  It is so warm and familiar.  I love the smudges and the little notations and revisions she made to them over the years.  My mother always wrote her recipes on index cards.  If she clipped a recipe out of the newspaper, she would glue it to an index card.  Her cards were neat and orderly, just like everything else in her life.  I wonder if anyone writes recipes on index cards anymore?   When I am gone, I wonder if my kids will ever read my blog or online recipe collection and get that sentimental feeling that I get when open my mother's recipe box.  I'm thinking it may not be the same.  What do you think?
It's a good thing I flipped this card over....she revised the amount of baking powder and sugar in the recipe on the back of the card.  I was a bit leery when I saw she used 4 T of baking powder and 3 T of sugar.  I have a feeling she mixed up her T (Tablespoons) with her t (Teaspoons) when she originally wrote the recipe down.  I guess she figured it out....what I'm wondering is why didn't she just correct the original wrong amounts rather than note it on the back of the card?

Mom's Rich Biscuits
Click here for printable recipe

Makes 12 regular biscuits or 18 smaller tasting size biscuits
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, with 1/4 cup extra flour for kneading
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Sift together dry ingredients into a medium bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender, cut cold butter into dry ingredients until mixture looks crumbly, like coarse sand.
  3. Add 1 egg to 3/4 cup of milk.  Using a fork, beat until egg is mixed with milk.
  4. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the egg-milk mixture to bowl containing dry-butter mixture. Reserve 1 tablespoon of liquid mixture for later. Mix together with a fork.
  5. Turn soft dough out onto floured board or floured sheet of wax paper.  (My mom would put a few dabs of water on the counter and place a sheet of wax paper on top of water.  The water kept the paper from moving...she was big on wax paper...)
  6. Knead dough about a minute, adding in a bit of the flour until it is no longer sticky.
  7. Roll dough out to 1/2"- 3/4" thickness.
  8. Cut biscuits with floured cutter.
  9. Place biscuits on greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet lined with a silpat. (She never had a silpat, that's my thing)
  10. Dab a little of the reserved egg-milk mixture on top of the biscuits - My mom said to use your finger, but you can use a brush if you prefer.
  11. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  12. Serve immediately.
For the record, Matt's favorite jam was this Apricot Riesling Jam.  This recipe is awesome!  It got my vote too.

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