29 August 2008
As I said previously, two recipes on Flexitarian Menu inspired me last week and I made both of them twice, for the same meal. To go with the summer gratin, I made lemony biscuits with sage and rosemary, except I didn’t use lemon, sage or rosemary. Add in the course of making this recipe twice, I changed so many things that I think it is rather fair to call it my recipe now. So, if you would like to read about the tale of two biscuits, click the link to the right.
I love biscuits. Who doesn’t love biscuits? Flaky, tender, piping hot out of the oven, with a bit of melted butter and a hint of honey, they may be the best quick bread ever. The recipe that I’m writing about though, it not really a biscuit, even though it pretends to be one. A true biscuit involves cutting cold fat (butter or lard) into the flour mixture, then adding the wet ingredients and lightly kneading before cutting out circles for baking. This recipe is really actually for a muffin, for reasons we will get to in a minute.
The first time I made this biscuits I followed the recipe more or less. I used 50% whole wheat flour to add some fiber and I had forgotten to buy a lemon so went without. I knew I needed to add in an acid of some kind to help activate the baking soda, so I used 1 T. of vinegar instead, which had the added bonus of helping to quickly sour the milk (a poor substitute for buttermilk, I know, but it works). I also used parsley and oregano in place of the rosemary and sage since that's what I had on hand. The last substitution I made was to use a bit of yogurt in place of the low-fat mayonnaise the recipe called for. Mayonnaise in a baked good just seemed a bit odd to me. I mixed the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in the other, and then combined the two exactly according to the Muffin Method of Mixing taught to me by my eighth grade home ec teacher. The biscuits baked up quickly and we had them straight out of the oven with dinner.
They were rather too wheaty and not herby enough but I thought they had potential and decided to try again. The second go around I reduced the whole wheat to white flour ratio, added about a quarter cup of chopped fresh basil and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese for added flavor. I skipped the yogurt and used one tablespoon vegetable oil for added tenderness. I baked half of the biscuits just after I had made them, and put the other half in the fridge to bake up the next day. This round was much more successful than the first- a pleasant but not overwhelming wheat flavor and a hint of basil and Parmesan to make it interesting but the best results came the next morning. After sitting overnight in the fridge the basil permeated the batter and the biscuits had deeper flavor. They were truly delicious. So, if you had a little time, make this batter ahead of time and let it sit for a few hours before baking.
Though they're not really biscuits, this drop biscuits are my new go to recipe for a dinner carb- quick, relatively healthy and way more interesting than spaghetti and way healthier than real biscuits.
Inspired by Flexitarian Menu
Yields 12, 2-3 in. biscuits
1 and 1/3 c. white flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
fat pinch salt
1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. lowfat milk
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400F (if you are baking immediately). Grease a cookie sheet. Measure out the milk and add the vinegar to it.
- Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl till evenly combined. Make a well in the center and add the milk mixture and oil. Stir until just combined. Proceed immediately or let the dough rest for up to overnight.
- Drop the batter into 12 even portions on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.