Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday afternoon biscuits

It is a rainy gray afternoon. The puppy is snuggled up sleeping on the couch. I am bouncing between books (my usual habit) and right now that includes revisiting Anne of Green Gables. It has been a few years since my last reading but I never fail to be charmed by the scenery, the characters, the pitch-perfect language.

Inspired by all of this and wanting a cozy afternoon at home, I settled on making a batch of biscuits. It is Ina Garten's recipe. I omitted the chives to better pair the biscuits with a small jar of raspberry jam I brought back with me from my last visit home. Whenever I read Anne, I feel a distinct lack of good preserves in my life and an urgent sense to remedy it.

From the picture you can see I did not cut the biscuits into rounds. Instead, once I patted the dough into a rectangle shape, I simple cut it into smaller rectangles. In this way, they could be considered lazy Sunday afternoon biscuits. Or maybe just greedy Sunday afternoon biscuits, as I did not want to lose one scrap of butter flaked dough.

Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives or fresh parsley (optional)
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas.

3) With the mixer on low, add the half-and-half and beat until just mixed. Add the chives (if using) and mix until just combined.

4) Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and knead lightly into a rectangle 3/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with the egg wash.

5) Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are firm. Serve warm.

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