Saturday, March 14, 2009

dn's Cloud Biscuits

The other day, I posted my recipe for oven stew, and I promised to share my recipe for biscuits. I've been making the basic recipe for about 40 years. It was one of the first things that I learned to make by myself. When I was a teenager, this recipe actually won several prizes for me over the years by entering baking in the local fair. Whenever I have moved or have gotten a new stove, I have found that this recipe is also perfect for testing the baking accuracy of the new oven as it is a quick inexpensive recipe It is a perfect test to see if the oven is fast or slow. I can tell by how quickly they bake and brown if the oven temperature and/or time needs to be adjusted for other recipes. If I burn them or they are doughy in the middle, I'm only out about a half hour in time and a dollar or so in ingredients for the basic ingredients.

The original recipe called for 2 cups of all purpose flour, but like with most of my other recipes, I have adjusted that to one cup each of all purpose and whole wheat. It is a very simple and quick recipe with a nice light texture. There are lots of ways that you can jazz up the basic recipe and I've listed some of my favourites at the bottom of this post.

dn's Cloud Biscuits

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold block margarine (straight out of the fridge works best!)
1 beaten egg, beaten with a fork
2/3 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, cut in margarine until crumbs are coarse. Combine egg and milk. Add to other mixture all at once. Stir with fork until dough follows fork. Turn out on floured board and knead 20 strokes. Don't overwork the dough. Roll out to 3/4" thick. Cut out with cutter. Keep this simple - use the top of a drinking glass that's been dipped in a little flour or a plain round cookie cutter about 2 3/4inch/70mm diameter. Bake on ungreased sheet at 400 degrees until light golden brown - for about 10-14 minutes. These can burn quickly, so watch closely to avoid over baking. Makes about 12 - 14 biscuits.

These are delicious served warm, with a bit of margarine, herb butter, jam, honey or any number of other toppings. These are wonderful on their own or served as a great accompaniment to soups, salads, stews, chili or almost any meal. These also freeze well for future use.

For best results, these add-ins should be mixed in AFTER you have combined the dry ingredients with the margarine but BEFORE you add the egg and milk!
Cheese - add 1 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese
Cheese and Onion/Chive - add 2/3 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup finely chopped chives or green onion
Bacon and Chive - add 1/3 cup crumbled extra crispy bacon and 1/3 cup finely chopped chives or green onion
Cheesy Ranch/Herb - reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon and add 1 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese and 4 teaspoons of ranch dressing or almost any other low sodium seasoning mix (4 teaspoons is about 1/2 of the 28gram Club House Salad 'n Dip Ranch Style mix. I reserve the rest of the package in a zippered storage bag for a future biscuit recipe or mix with 1 cup fat free sour cream for a yummy veggie dip.)
Chive and Lemon - add 2/3 cup minced fresh chives or green onion and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh grated lemon peel (about one medium lemon)

May I also suggest these serving ideas:
Tuna Melts - Slice open 2 biscuits/person, top with a little mayo, tuna salad mix and a slice of cheddar cheese. Place on a baking pan and slide under the broiler until the cheese is melting and starting to bubble.
Ham and Cheese - Slice open 2 biscuits/person, spread a little mustard and/or mayo, top with sliced ham and cheddar cheese (or Jack, Havarti, or brick). Place on a baking pan and slide under the broiler until the cheese is melting and bubbly/



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