Two Ingredient Biscuits

010I confess, I very rarely make scratch biscuits these days.  Most of our breakfasts consist of Smoothies made with Greek Yogurt and fruit, a healthy cereal, or eggs with whole grain toast. OK, I confess to using Pillsbury Grands, or my new favorite and more health Immaculate Baking company refrigerator biscuits.  But my husband loves homemade biscuits, and I made these for him.  I was curious about using only the two ingredients, but it worked, and I used a biscuit cutter passed down to me which belonged to my grandmother, Mary Clyde Curley Terrell, or “Clyde” and she was called all her life.  Nothing fancy to have endured for so long – this biscuit cutter is simply a small tin can with holes punched in the bottom.  I love it.  And I loved Grandma.  She was born on March 25, 1887, so her birthday was this week, and I thought about her alot when I used her little tin cutter.

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Two-Ingredient Biscuits

Yield: 24 biscuits

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, divided
1 1/2  cups heavy cream, divided

Butter, because you will butter your pan, and also because you really need butter with hot biscuits!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly butter baking pan, or spray with cooking spray if preferred.

Whisk 2 cups of the flour in a large wide bowl,  and set aside the remaining flour. Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with your fist. Slowly  stir in  1 cup of cream, reserving remainder of cream, into the hollow with a rubber spatula or spoon, using broad circular strokes to pull the flour into the cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it seems dry and crumbly and the flour is not being worked in, sprinkle reserved cream,a little at a time to incorporate the remaining flour. The dough will be sticky looking and not very smooth.. If the dough is too wet, use more flour as you begin to shape

. Lightly sprinkle a plastic sheet,tea towel,  or other clean surface with some of the reserved flour. Turn the dough out onto this , and sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour . With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat it into a round, using a little additional flour only if needed. Flour again if sticky and fold the dough in half a second time.

If the dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time. Pat dough into a 1/2-inch-thick round for normal biscuits, a 3/4-inch-thick round for tall biscuits, or a 1-inch-thick round for giant biscuits. Brush off any visible flour from the top. For each biscuit, dip a biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, but the more the dough is worked, the less tender the biscuits will be

.Using a metal spatula, move the biscuits to baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for a total of 10 to 14 minutes, until light golden brown. When they are done, remove from oven and lightly brush tops with melted butter. Serve hot.

Adapted from a recipe in  “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking,” by Nathalie Dupree

Spritz Cookies

MaddieTeaParty 059My 10 year old granddaughter Skye has become quite interested in baking.  She turns out beautiful, delicious cakes. But she turned her talents to baking cookies last week as we readied for a visit from her aunt and cousins.  When she heard we would be having a tea party for Maddie’s 7th birthday while she was here, Skye wanted to make cookies that would be pretty as well as tasty, but Maddie does not like frosting (that is why we chose birthday cookies instead of birthday cake).  So we decided to bring out the kitchen tool which helps us make these shaped cookies: a cookie press.   A cookie press lets you change disks to produce many different shapes.Cookie presses work by pushing a small amount of dough through perforated plates directly onto the baking sheet, somewhat like a caulking gun. A ratchet-like press system means that the same amount of dough is used each time and the cookies are uniformly shaped. These can be made plain, sprinkled with decorations or sugars, frosted or dipped in melted chocolate!  We added food coloring to make ours pink and purple and sprinkled with some coarse sugar for sparkle.

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Using the recipe on the cookie press box, kye measured dry ingredients and whisked, then made a well for the vanilla and egg. She added the room temperature butter cut into small pieces
MaddieTeaParty 051Then she mixed the dough with her clean hands.
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Finally, the dough was colored and loaded into the cookie press and cookies were pressed out onto ungreased baking sheets.

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Spritz Cookies Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes

Important!  Let butter come to room temperature before making this recipe.

2 cups all-purpose or cake flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (almond extract can be used if preferred)

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces

optional for decorating

Colored sugar

Sprinkles

Frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then sprinkle over the vanilla extract. Crack egg into the center of flour mixture.then dot with the pieces of butter.

Mix everything together with your clean hands until it begins to come together. Do not to knead it too much, as you will then make tough cookies. You just want everything to come together so you can handle the dough.

 Put on the disc of your choice,  then load the press with the dough. Ratchet out the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. This takes practice, so be prepared to mess a bunch up at first. Just return the not-so-good ones back to the dough ball and use it again.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. These cookies will not brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle or garnish as you like. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move them to a rack. Let cool  before storing. They freeze well.

Yield: Makes about 35 cookies

Do you own a cookie press? How often do you make spritz cookies?

 

Mango Salsa

IMG_0217Tomato salsa  may be our most frequent accompaniment to eggs, Mexican food, and tortilla chips – but fruit salsas compete strongly for favorites.  Among those, mango salsa is at the top of the list.  It may be hard to save a mango or two when I bring them home because we love them plain and with Greek yogurt.  Last week I used the last two out of a carton of six to make this beautiful topping for baked fish. I have also used it to layer over a roasted pork tenderloin or to dress up grilled chicken breasts.  If there happens to be any leftover, we pull out the corn chips and have a snack.

Mango Salsa

2 mangos, peeled and diced*
2 medium Jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper
Combine the mango, , Jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste
* I wash and pat dry the mango, stand vertically with stem end down, and with a sharp knife, slice down by the side of the large seed, repeating on the other side.  Then lay each mango half in the palm of my left hand, and with a small paring knife, carefully cut into the mango, making diagonal cuts in opposite directions. Then I turn the mango half inside out, and the cut sections pop out.  These can easily be scraped off with a spoon or the paring knife.

 

Chorizo and Black Bean Chili

LastofFeb 040Homemade chili is comfort food.  Our bunch really likes cornbread and chili, and chili  corn chips, and cheese with a sprinkle of onions is also a favored meal on cold nights.  Now we have a new favorite competing for top recipe.  Chorizo and black beans add a new taste twist that keeps people coming back for seconds. This is also a healthier version than many I have previously used.  I like to make my own chorizo, but you should be able to find prepared chorizo in your supermarket. The following is adapted from recipes at http://www.muirglen.com

Black Bean and Chorizo Chili

Makes 8 servings

1 pound bulk chorizo sausage

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes. (I like Muir Glen organic fire roasted tomatoes)  undrained
1 cup water
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Crumbled white Mexican cheese , or shredded Monterey Jack

Brown sausage in large pan or Dutch oven. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Stir in tomatoes, water, beans, chiles, chili powder and cumin. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Serve with cheese and fresh chopped cilantro.

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I have made this in my slow cooker by browning sausage, then layering in other ingredients and cooking on high for 3 hours.