Fresh Strawberry Biscuits!

What do you do when the world gives you too many strawberries? First, you say “Thank You World!” because really, what a terrible problem to have… too many strawberries! Oh, the horror!

Strawberries

Second, you make these biscuits! They go together so quickly and easily you’ll find yourself making them often. They are especially good for those few extra berries you need to use before they spoil!  You can swap out the strawberries with blackberries, blueberries or raspberries!  Even peaches would be delightful!

Strawberry biscuits

These biscuits are bright and beautiful and with the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon, I needed my world a little brighter today.

Strawberry Biscuits
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 cup chopped very ripe strawberries
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and cut it in to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the strawberries carefully, so they get coated in the flour mix. This keeps them evenly distributed in the dough later when you add the liquid. Speaking of liquid… add the heavy cream, then gently fold all the ingredients together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, so don’t worry if everything is completely worked in. It will be.

Generously flour your counter or cutting board, then transfer the dough to the board. Flour the top of the dough and with your hands gently press the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or even the top edge of a drinking glass) cut circles out of the dough. Press straight down without twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one.

You can re-roll the scraps of dough, and continue cutting circles, but don’t worry if the dough appears very wet. The strawberries will have already started to release some of their juice. That’s ok though! They’ll still turn out beautifully.

Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Strawberry Biscuits

I made a quick strawberry butter to slather on top of these beautiful biscuits. Just mash up 1/8 cup of strawberries into 4 TBLS soft butter, then freeze for about 20 minutes. (You can do this while the biscuits bake.) It’s a tiny detail that will make a world of difference in flavor.

When I took them to work they disappeared rather quickly and I’m betting they’ll do the same thing at your house! Enjoy my Foodie Friends!!

Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

If you’ve never made biscuits before, I have to tell you, there is something very satisfying about digging your hands into dough and creating flaky goodness in just a few minutes.

This is a very basic buttermilk recipe and there are many ways to play with it. You can make herb biscuits – stir minced fresh herbs or a pinch of dried herbs into the flour before you add the butter. After you add the butter you can add small dices of your favorite cheese or add ham chunks, minced green chiles, orange zest – whatever you want! Let your imagination run free! Doesn’t get any better than that, does it? 🙂

Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS baking powder
6 TBS unsalted butter, very cold *
1 cup buttermilk

* One very important tip: the butter for your biscuits should be cold! Very, very cold. Cut the butter into small pieces, put them on a small plate or in a small bowl and put it in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a food processor. Add your ice-cold butter and pulse a few times. You want some pieces to be reduced to flakes and others to be pebbly and about the size of peas. Don’t over work the dough at this step. The water in the butter turns to steam in the oven and puffs the biscuits to give you those light flaky layers! YUMM!

Mix the cold buttermilk into the dough with a fork. If it seems dry, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be a fairly wet dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and pat it into a circle about 1/2-inch thick. Do NOT roll the dough. This will over work the gluten in the biscuit and make it tough. Fold the dough over several times, gently pressing down to about 1 inch thickness.

Cut the dough into rounds with a biscuit cutter. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can always use a knife and cut the biscuits into squares. You could get really crazy and use different shape cut outs too!

For soft-sided biscuits, place the biscuits with their edges together on the baking sheet. These biscuits tend to rise more (plus I like them better!) For crusty biscuits, put them about an inch apart, so the heat can circulate around them.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are light golden brown. Don’t overbake!

And you can freeze the biscuits before they’re baked! After you cut them, put the circles (or squares) on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer. As soon as the dough is frozen, pack them in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Then, when you’re ready for hot, flakey buttermilk biscuits, pull out what you need and bake them! Put them frozen straight onto a baking sheet and bake about 18-20 minutes at 450 degrees.

See, great bread doesn’t have to be hard! Besides, if you make sausage gravy to go with these biscuits, you have an amazing Sunday breakfast!

My Mom’s memories

My cooking class was cancelled Tuesday night.  I was seriously bummed!  I was looking forward to making risotto.  Oh well, next time!  The rest of this week has just flown by!  I’ve been too busy to post anything, much less cook anything.  This morning I am feeling very “Foodie” though and am having to restrain myself from bombarding my Facebook page with shared links of “OH!  Look at this!”  “Doesn’t that look delicious?” and “Who else wants to try THIS?!?” and “I’m going to make this, here is the recipe!”

Even though the week has been busy, the best part was getting Emails from my Mom about her childhood food memories.  I’ve already shared with you my memories of Grandma’s cooking, so it’s been really fun getting her version.  Here is an exert from her E-mails:

“My earliest memories of food involve my Grandmother in Bryantsville.  Since Dad was moving around so much in the Navy and we were following him around, we seldom got to Kentucky.  But when we did, brother and I  hugged our grandparents and then immediately flew through the house toward the box where Grandmom kept cold biscuits.  They were absolutely delicious!  Those biscuits did not need oleo or jam; they were fresh-baked every meal.  Anyone who was hungry in-between meals was invited to grab a biscuit!  Although my mom made biscuits occasionally, biscuits at Grandmom’s were the best — and you could always count on there being enough for grandchildren!

All the women in the family were good cooks.  My aunts cooked alongside Grandmom as soon as they were old enough to safely be in the kitchen.  My mom’s aunts, like Grandmom, were almost legendary for their cooking.  Mom always told us she had six aunts and they were all plump except one.  But Mom never failed to add — and she was a good cook, too.  (That era may be the start of the slogan I have seen in many country restaurants, “Never trust a skinny cook!”)  **SARA’S NOTE: See!!! THIS IS WHERE I GOT IT FROM!!  :-)**

Grandmother BK cooked for a large family; she had eight children. The boys, with my Granddad, worked in the tobacco fields, augmented during off-season by working in construction or any other jobs they could find.  They worked hard — and ate well.  Grandmom saw to it!

My other grandmother lived in the “city”, not a big one, but much larger than the community of Bryantsville.  Grandmother BD was a good cook — but I remember most how she would always see that we had plenty of sliced cantaloupe and, when the grandkids were all together, enough canned olives to make sure no one went hungry!  When olives eventually came pitted, the grandkids competed to see who could eat the most or hold the most on their fingers!

I remember Sunday dinners with Grandmother BD, Granddad and our family after church.  Dinner cooked while we attended church and was ready almost immediately after we returned home.

Sunday dinners at Grandmom BK also involved dinner cooking while we were in church.  Grandmom played the piano for the community church; attendance was a must for the whole family.  Afterwards, we all gathered in the big dining room — all of Mom’s siblings and as many in-laws, cousins, etc., as were in the neighborhood.  After the beginning prayer of thanks, dinner was a boisterous affair with enough food to eat sumptuously at dinner (mid-day meal) and have enough to form a base for supper (evening meal) for those who were still in the house.

I remember sitting on the porch swing with my aunts, mother or grandmother,  snapping beans, shelling peas and talking.  I smile just thinking about the memories…

And I haven’t really even gotten to my memories of my mom’s cooking.  More later, even if the dryer buzzer keeps me from doing it today!”

I love my Mom!  I can’t wait to read what she shares next!!
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