Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Biscuits and Success


Put your heart, mind and soul
into even your smallest acts.
This is the secret of success.
-Swami Sivananda 

I've had so much stirring around in my mind lately. Big thoughts. Scatty thoughts. Important thoughts. Heavy thoughts. I think them as I go about my day- folding laundry, paying bills, making biscuits.

What about you? Thinking thoughts lately?

A collapse in oil prices and massive cuts in the industry have suddenly freed my time. (I should be used to it by now, after 2008 and all, shouldn't I?) Over the weekend, Josh told me I should take the time to write a book.

I wouldn't know where to start, I said.

What kind of book would you write?, he asked.

No idea, I responded. Not a clue. How do you even successfully write a book?

I've considered that question several times since I asked it. How do you even successfully write a book? As I was making biscuits, the answer came to me: how do you successfully do anything? How do you successfully make biscuits? Pay bills? Fold laundry? How do we successfully tackle that project, that goal, that dream? We throw ourselves in and at the end, there are our biscuits, our bills, our balled-up socks, our triumphs.

Time to put in our heart, mind, and souls, y'all. Let's start with probably the best homemade biscuits ever.

Brin's Biscuits 
Recipe adapted from several in print

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick salted butter
3/4 cups milk (I use 2% or whole)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix together:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To those dry ingredients, add:
1 stick salted butter, very cold, cut with knife into random-sized pieces

Using a pastry cutter (or two knives, if you have time for that), cut butter into dry ingredients until it looks somewhat incorporated. I usually have a few butter pieces about the size of uneven marbles visible in my dough. That's fine.

To that, add a very full 3/4 cup of cold milk. (Most of the time I add an extra little splash.) Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir dough into a ball shape and turn out onto lightly floured counter.

Knead dough like 3 times to get it smooth- five seconds, max- and roll or pat until dough is 1- 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 7-8 biscuits. (If you like thinner biscuits, feel free to roll thinly and cut 10 or more. We like ours layered and fluffy, so I cut them thick.)

Bake at 425 F on middle rack for 15-20 minutes- depending on your oven- until lightly golden on top. I bake these on my Pampered Chef stone, and strongly recommend one for all baked goods!

Serve warm. Can be frozen baked or unbaked. Yay! Homemade biscuits!

Important:
1. Don't use too much flour. Under fill your measuring cup as opposed to heaping it over the top.
2. Use butter. Just do. Margarine, Crisco, or vegan "butters" won't help in this recipe. Use unsalted if you must, but don't come looking for me if your biscuits are funky. wink emoticon
3. If you bake these on cookie sheets, the butter content may cause them to brown quickly on the bottom. Beg, borrow or buy a pizza/baking stone. You'll never regret it.
4. Depending on what you use to cut your biscuits (cutter, glass, knife, etc.), you may end up with a different number. That's okay. Just don't roll them too thin and they'll be awesome.
5. Use COLD butter and milk. Super cold. Don't get them out and let them hang out on the counter all morning. This is what gives you those flaky layers!

Time to see some success, right? Enjoy the best biscuits ever! -Brin