Tuesday, March 22, 2011

American Biscuits

I remember the first time I ate these. A bunch of us were having brunch and the Uber-Blonde (I'm going to refer to her as UB from now on, because I'm lazy) brought these along. There was confusion everywhere. Why are there scones at breakfast? Where is the jam? WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY'RE SAVOURY?

All very rational reactions, I feel. And needless to say (because I've made them myself now, six months later), I enjoyed them once I got over the initial shock. I was originally intending to make cheesy American biscuits from a recipe from a magazine, but this recipe (Dorie Greenspan's Basic Biscuit recipe) was so much simpler. They tasted best straight out of the oven, even though I kept the biscuits in an airtight container they dried out fairly substantially. Not that it stopped me eating them, though!

As a note: The reason I've titled this "American" biscuits is because what we call biscuits in Australia are what Americans call cookies. "Cookies" isn't really a term over here, at least not a commonly used one. Similarly, I'm fairly sure the hotcakes I posted the other day would be referred to as pancakes in America, our pancakes are thinner than that. Woo for cultural differences!

Makes 15
Total time commitment: 40 minutes
Posted on Bake-It, originally from Baking: From My Home to Yours

280g plain flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
90g cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter in to the dry ingredients - this means you need to work the pieces of butter in to the dry ingredients using your fingertips. When you're done, it should have a crumbly consistency.

3. Add the milk and combine with a fork (we're all about the fancy utensils in this kitchen, I know) until the dough is soft. Do away with the fork, make sure your hands are clean and get in there and knead! It should only take three or four turns until everything is combined, but you don't want any stray flour at the bottom of the bowl (something I struggle with daily, I promise).

4. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out/pat out with your hands (again with the fancy utensils attached to your arms) until it is a couple of centimetres thick. Use a biscuit cutter (or glass) to cut out the biscuit shapes and place them onto the baking tray. The dough can be re-rolled (I'm sorry, did someone just say

5. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden and brown.


Aunty Mel said...

They're flattish scones, that's what they are. Which, like many things American is probably a harking-back to the original scones that came with them from the old country, which would have been a flattish flour cake served with meals, to soak up your soup or stew broth. They progressed to fluffy and afternoon tea-y when people had reliable ovens and china cups.
But you know, if you are going to go fully American, you have to serve them (biscuits) with sausage gravy. This is a bizarre Southern breakfast item which looks for all the world like white sauce with bits of sausage in but tastes suprisingly good. When we were in Nashville they had it on the hotel buffet and since I unfailingly adopt a when-in-rome approach to local cuisine, I went out on a limb and tried it and it was good. Probably heart-attack material if you ate it every morning, but then, so are bacon and eggs (which were also on the buffet, God bless the South!).

No, I don't have a recipe, but I'm sure the internet could find one (I haven't been game to look, in case I find that it was actually white sauce with bits of sausage in).

You could probably toast your dry biscuits, if you felt like it.

Chris said...

Hey Em - thought you should know : (in the interests of musical taste) your youtube clip isn't available in Aus.

emily jane said...

... but I'm in Aus and I can see it! Youtube, up your game. In the interests of musical taste - I don't know if I should tell you what it is!