Monday, January 16, 2012

Cream Biscuits

On Thanksgiving Day, I made some delicious garlic yeast rolls in my beloved King Arthur Flour 10x10 glazed stoneware pan. I left the rolls sitting in the pan on the front burner of my stove, and somehow inadvertently knocked the burner onto low at some point that morning. I heard a crack, but couldn't figure out where it was coming from. After the second crack, I realized the burner was on, and the heat from the burner had cracked my pan almost perfectly in half. The pan had been a Christmas gift from my sister two years ago, and it was my favorite piece of bakeware. I was pretty sad to have to throw it away.

I immediately set out to try and replace it, but the pan had been discontinued earlier this year. My sister and husband both searched to find me a replacement for Christmas. My husband tracked down the only pan our search engines could find available and bought it, surprising me Christmas morning. To our dismay, there was a slight flaw in the stoneware: A small bubble that had a tiny crack on the bottom of the pan.

We messaged the seller. "Do you have another? Please?!" Negative. We searched online again. Nothing. I called pottery retailers and we asked friends if they thought baking in it would cause it to crack. Online resources said it may, the pottery retailer said it probably would, but friends and Nate's gut said to try it anyway... but to try it with something that wouldn't make a complete mess in the oven if it decided to crack/shatter while baking. My answer: biscuits. And easy ones, at that. There was no way I was going to spend a lot of time making something that could end up in the trash. If they turned out tasty, bonus. My concern was the pan, truth be told.

To my surprise and delight, the pan didn't crack!! (At least not yet. I'm cautiously optimistic.) And even better, the biscuits that I spent all of 10 minutes throwing together were delicious! A slight crustiness on the outside, moist and tender inside. Everything that I love in a good biscuit. It was a double win!
These biscuits pair perfectly with jam - no butter needed. My personal favorite, cherry cognac, is made by Sweet Things Gourmet, a Columbus, OH-based business. The owners are as kind as their jam is delicious. Even if you are not in the Columbus area, their jams are available for purchase online, or you can just drool over all the amazing flavor combinations on their menu.
To recap: Pan = good. Biscuits = good. Jam = good. Life = good.
*Opinions about Sweet Thing Gourmet jams are my own. They know I love them, but were not aware that I would share my love for them on my blog.
Cream Biscuits
Yield: 8 biscuits
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (divided)
Place a layer of parchment paper across the bottom and up 2 sides of an 8"x8" (or 10"x10") pan. Preheat oven to 425°F degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients and stir with a whisk to combine. Stir in all but a 1/4 cup of cream.

Dump onto floured work surface and add remaining cream to the dry bits left in the bowl, scrape out and add to dough already on counter. Knead briefly (30 seconds) until dough comes together. Shape dough into a long rectangle and cut in half length-wise and then cut each piece into 4 pieces horizontally. Place biscuits in pan, then place in the oven on the middle rack for 16-20 minutes until golden.

Source: The Kitchn

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

Nothing says it's a new year like sporting a delicious, healthy new breakfast, right?! Baked oatmeal practically screams "I'm wholesome! I'm delicious!" And really, this one is: Rolled oats, lightly sweetened with a little maple syrup, blueberries, and bananas are a pretty great way to start the day.
My cousin, Tiffany, instigated my new-found love of baked oatmeal when we stayed with her and her amazing family in Tennessee several weeks ago. She served us a delicious blueberry baked oatmeal for breakfast our first morning and I ended up eating at least a little each morning for the rest of our stay. It was so good! (Here's an assortment of pictures from our trip - my family is on the far bottom right, and Tiff's family is just to the left of us. Click to enlarge it.)

Once I got home, it became something I would find myself thinking about and needing to recreate, but finding a healthier version was a little more challenging. A lot of the recipes I found sounded delicious, but they were either laden in a half a stick (or more!) of butter, or swimming in added sugar. I was sure there had to be a version out there that was a balance of both delicious and nutritious.
This recipe fit the bill. It not only tastes good and is easy to prepare, but also comes in just under 300 calories per serving. I was concerned that the bananas would get yucky over the course of the week in the fridge, but they didn't. The leftovers reheated well in the microwave (I like mine with just a little bit of milk) and it made a quick, healthy breakfast for the following week.

The variations for this recipe seem to be endless, though I have yet to change things up. Annie shared a number of variations that she has tried (peaches with raspberries, nectarines with blackberries, apples and cranberries) and enjoyed, so if blueberries and bananas aren't your cup of tea, you can mix this recipe up to suit your own tastes or pantry.
Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
Serves: 4-5
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir with a fork to combine.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla. Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the berries.  Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie's Eats, via The Curvy Carrot, adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson