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When Megan asked for volunteers for theCityMoms’ new food blog, I responded immediately. I love to cook, I spend a considerable amount of time looking at recipes, and I write for a living, so it only seemed natural. I only had one hesitation – I love the concept of food blogs, but I find some of them waste too much of my time with long, rambling personal narratives before they get to the actual food. So, here are three things to know about me which will help explain why I chose this seemingly simple baked good as my first post and I promise not to ramble if I am invited back again.
- I am concerned about the state of the food industry in our country. I actually have been for most of my life. It began with a concern for the way animals were being treated on large industry farms, which led me to become a vegetarian at age 13. That lasted until I got engaged to my very picky, meat-loving husband ten years later. Since then, I have continued my education and have focused on sourcing much of my food from local farms with practices I could trust; avoiding processed packaged foods; and making as much as possible from scratch. I have also dabbled in growing my own.
- I am on a tight budget. Lately, my focus has been on smart planning and budgeting so I can save money.
- My taste buds are more adventurous than my family’s. My darling husband has expanded his palate considerably in 15 years, but most vegetables and many other foods are still off limits. It can be exasperating at times. Seriously, how can the man not like rice?! My toddler is also becoming pickier, but I still save my fun recipes for the three nights a week it is just her and me.
So, time for the recipe. Today I am going to teach you how to make cream biscuits. I originally planned on sharing a recipe of my own creation. I changed my mind because I had lots of cream to use up and this is a recipe I use whenever that happens. A half-gallon of cream at Costco may be cheap but it’s only cost-effective if you use it! Also, I know very few people who don’t like biscuits.
I have to give credit to the Kitchn (www.thekitchn.com) for this recipe, although I am going to share some variations that are my own. I have been making pasta with sausage and vodka tomato cream sauce a lot lately, which obviously requires cream, but not very much. Most of the other uses I have for heavy whipping cream involve desserts, which are all well and good, but I am trying to limit my sweets. This recipe is a simple but lovely solution. I can’t claim they are “healthy” depending on your definition, but they are homemade!
Cream biscuits, as it turns out, are equally as good as their more famous cousins, buttermilk biscuits but have a few unexpected advantages. First, they do not require that you make or buy buttermilk, another product that tends to require planned use in my house, and second, the dough is not as sensitive to overworking as buttermilk biscuit dough can be.
Step One: Assemble your ingredients
You’ll need flour, sugar (or sugar substitute), cream, baking powder, salt, and three cups of heavy cream.
A few notes on ingredients: I have made these with this great all-purpose blend from Costco and 100% white whole wheat flour and I like both. I have also used honey instead of sugar. If you use a finer form of salt than kosher, you may want to start with slightly less than the recipe calls for and then taste the batter.
Step 2: Measure and pour ingredients
There is no need to sift here! Just dump away until you get to the cream. The quantities below are for a double batch since I had a lot of cream to use.
Four cups of flour… did you know you should never scoop directly out of the canister or bag? Use a spoon and level afterwards.
Five teaspoons of sugar…
Four teaspoons baking powder…
And 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt.
Give everything a good stir.
If you are adding any add-ins like cheese or seasonings do it now. I decided to make half with about two tablespoons of chopped chives from my garden, 2 ounces of grated cheddar cheese, and a half tsp. of garlic powder.
Now, pour all but ½ a cup of cream in and stir until a dough begins to form.
Add the remaining ½ a cup and stir just until it is fully worked in. As I said, this dough is not as sensitive as others but still does not need to be overworked. I like to knead the dough in the bowl before I turn it out onto my board.
Step 3: Form and cut biscuits
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form into to two rectangles.
Cut each rectangle into eight pieces.
Step 4: Bake or freeze!
Now, here is the truly beautiful aspect of these biscuits. You CAN bake them now, but you don’t HAVE to bake them now. I usually freeze the raw pieces for baking at a later time. This means you can have fresh tasting biscuits any time! Simply wrap each biscuit in wax paper or plastic wrap and then put in a freezer-safe container.
I happened to be making these at 10:00 pm so I made one to show all of you and froze the rest.
If you are baking, preheat your oven at the start to 400 degrees. The Kitchn suggests 425 degrees, but I have found that to be too hot for my ideal biscuit. All ovens are different! I bake mine for 15 minutes fresh, and 20 minutes if frozen (no need to thaw first).
Since it was after bedtime and I was all by my lonesome, I enjoyed a glass of wine while I waited.
And there you have it! Easy cream biscuits!
Makes 16 biscuits
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Four cups of flour
5 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons chives, 4 ounces grated cheddar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder (for full batch)
1/2 cup raisins (or to taste), ½ teaspoon cinnamon
If baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. Add optional add-ins and stir. Pour in all but ½ cup of cream and stir briefly until dough begins to form. Add remaining cream and knead for 30-45 seconds until dough ball forms. Turn out onto floured surface and form into two rectangles, about right inches long and four inches wide. Cut each into eight pieces. Bake for 15-18 minutes or wrap individual biscuits and freeze for later. Frozen biscuits require approximately 5 additional minutes to bake but need not be thawed.
Joli Heavin is a professional fundraiser and grant writer who works for Children's Bureau. In her spare time, Joli enjoys running, reading, and cooking. She is a lover of all things art and was once a classically trained singer and actress, but now primarily enjoys her roles as Clare's mom and Matt's wife.