Breakfast

Breakfast Biscuits

It’s  been a long and difficult journey to the perfect biscuit (cue the tiny violin) but SOMEBODY had to do it!! And let me assure you.. I’ve done it:  I’ve cracked the code for the perfect biscuit with the layers of flaky, buttery goodness you crave!

Looking back, I can’t really remember when exactly my obsession with perfecting the biscuit started but it’s definitely been an affliction for the better part of this year.  I poured over multiple cookbooks and online recipes and was actually pretty amazed at how many different versions there were.  I also did some nerdy studying up on the science behind the fats, gluten creation, what happens when you do… etc… (don’t judge). Some recipes included buttermilk, some used only butter, some used only crisco – and all of them claimed to be the best!! Which is ironically what I’m doing now… but trust me– make these once and they will keep you coming back for more over and over again!!

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Biscuits probably seem a bit  intimidating if you aren’t very confident in the kitchen but TRUST ME- you can do this!  Working with dough is overwhelming and I’ll admit: even I have shed tears over a pie crust here and there.  But the amazing thing about biscuits are- you’re not rolling the dough out and you’re not trying to transfer it in perfect shape anywhere (like the dreaded pie crust) you are really just having FUN with the dough and if they don’t come out in the perfect shape.. who cares?? Call them “rustic” and when you taste them it won’t matter!!

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My recipe is easy enough for the less confident baker but you will SERIOUSLY impress your guests when you pull these out of the oven and they’ll think you slaved away over them- it will be our little secret 😉

The dough also freezes REALLY well.  Once you cut the biscuits you can stop there and freeze them and place them in a plastic bag in the freezer to bake off another time.  They’ll stay good for about 3 months in your freezer but I have a feeling they won’t last that long!  If you bake them frozen, increase the oven temp to 425 OR cook them a bit longer until golden.

Let’s get started!


Breakfast Biscuits

yield: 14 biscuits – prep time: 15-20 minutes – bake time: 16 minutes

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of all purpose flour

6-8 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp salt

6 tbsp baking powder

14 tbsp cold butter (just under 2 sticks)

1/2 cup cold crisco

2 cups of cold milk

1 egg + milk for egg wash


Step One: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Put all your dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix until combined: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.

Step Two: Cut in the butter in small pieces like this:

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Step Three: Measure 1/2 cup of cold crisco and throw that it too:

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Do you remember why it’s important to use cold fat? Because when cold fat goes into a hot oven it melts and creates the wonderful pockets of air making your biscuits flaky and tender!

Step Four: Using a pastry cutter, two forks or YOUR HANDS (yup!) mix the fat into the dry ingredients until it’s fully incorporated and the fat is roughly the size of peas:

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You could also do this in a food processor but… but… don’t? OK I mean you caaaaaannnnn but….I’m kind of a snob when it comes to certain tools and I love getting in there to work with the dough myself- it feels more authentic and fun and that IS how Grandma did it after all!!  I actually was SUPER reluctant to buy a pastry cutter and used my hands for months before giving in and buying this one and it was totally worth it!! You can also find them at a Homegoods or TJs/Marshalls for around 5 dollars.

Step Five: Pour in the milk and mix with a wooden spoon JUST until it starts to come together.  Gluten starts to develop when you mix your wet and dry ingredients together and a lot of gluten is not something you want building up in your biscuits because it will make them dense and tough- no thank you!

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Step Six: Turn your dough out onto a floured surface:

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Step Seven: Gently kneed the dough (remember- we don’t want to work it too hard and make too much gluten!!)

OK pause for a moment and watch this hilarious clip regarding gluten- God Bless Jimmy Kimmel

Continue to fold the dough over on itself a few times to start building those delicious layers.  Keep checking to make sure it’s not sticking to your surface, but if it is, no worries! This isn’t pie crust, remember? So you can just scrape it up, put some more flour down and move on- easy!  Eventually you want to get the dough into a thick round circle like this:

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The circle does not need to be big enough to cut all 14 biscuits at once, I usually get through 8 and then have to take the scraps, knead them together and begin cutting again.  When it doubt, go smaller because you want these biscuits to be thick!

Step Eight: Start to cut your biscuits.  You can use an actual biscuit cutter but if you don’t have one a cup will do.  You do want something with a sharp edge though, because a rounded edge will pinch off the sides of the biscuit and they won’t rise as high.  Additionally, don’t twist your cutter, this also pinches the edges, just cut down and pull back up!

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Step Nine: Take your biscuits and lay them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  You could also use a cast iron skillet!  I like to put an egg and milk wash brushed over the top before baking- it  adds a gorgeous golden color and they look just beautiful!

To make the egg wash, simply whisk an egg with a little bit of milk and then brush on top.

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Step Ten: Bake for 16 minutes, remove when done and serve immediately but they do heat up nice as well.

ENJOY!  Comment below if you’ve tried them! 🙂

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Cakes

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

If you are looking for the most versatile go-to bundt cake recipe- LOOK NO FURTHER.  This Chocolate Chip Bundt cake is decadent enough to serve as dessert but it’s secret ingredient (spoiler alert- its cinnamon!) makes it warm and fit for breakfast as well- YOLO!

I meant to write this blog post about two weeks ago but I was away for work and while I had the best intentions to blog on the road, it just didn’t happen.  BUT better late than never, I say!  I developed this recipe a few months ago and my inspiration was actually one of my chocolate cookie recipes.  I loved the cookies so much I thought- there must be some way to turn these into a cake… So I did what all curious Millennials do when faced with a life or death question… I consulted google.

Google let me know everything from it’s easy to turn a cookie recipe into a cake recipe to… IT’S IMPOSSIBLE OMG THEY’RE DIFFERENT THINGS WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?!? (eye roll)  Nevertheless.. I persisted… and decided to consult my best gal pal Betty! (Crocker, that is). The old school 1950s BC cookbook is my tried and true place to start for most recipes so after reading through several, I decided to start with the basic pound cake baking method and go from there.

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This cake uses half flour, half boxed cake mix- a tip I picked up originally watching Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship a few years back but then came to find A LOT of bakers use boxed cake mix to enhance a from scratch recipe- for cookies, cakes, etc.  The real flavor game changer though is the cinnamon- just a 1/2 tsp packs such a punch and is a really delicious surprise most people don’t expect.  I think this ingredient is what makes this cake so versatile, I’ve had friends tell me they heated it up for breakfast!! Behold.. the Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake!!


Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Yield: 8-10 pieces – prep time: 20 minutes – bake time: 70-90 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup yellow (not vanilla) boxed cake mix

1 cup butter (softened)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar packed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup mini chocolate chips + more for sprinkling

Icing:

Icing recipe from Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


 

Step One: As always- assemble the troops! Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Note: For most of my recipes, I use my standing kitchenaid mixer.  For this one however, I use a hand-held mixer.  You need to beat the ingredients really well (per the BC pound-cake method) and I feel like using the hand-held mixer gives you more control.

Step Two: Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Step Three: Beat the soft butter for one minute. Then, slowly add the sugars a little at a time while mixing for about 1-2 minutes after each addition, for up to 10 minutes.

Step Four: while still mixing, add in 1 egg at a time mixing each egg in for 1 minute.  Finally, add in the vanilla until combined. You should have a gorgeous smooth mixture like below:

Step Five: Add in half of the the dry ingredients, mix then add the other half.

Step Six: Mix in up to 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. I prefer the minis but you can get creative here! PB chips would also taste real good! img_0024

Step Seven: Take a moment and lick the spatula – NO I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE RAW EGGS THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


Step Eight: Prepare the bundt pan by coating with crisco and flour. I use a small baggy over my hand and smooth the crisco all over the pan. Then, put a few spoonfuls of flour in and shake it around until covered. You could use non-stick spray but when I did that my cake did not come out of the pan- equally as delicious- less pretty- maybe you’ll have better luck!

Spread the batter into the pan:


Step Nine: Bake in the preheated oven for 70-90 minutes. Depending on your oven you’ll just have to monitor after the 70 minutes- check it’s done with a toothpick, if a few moist crumbs show on the toothpick or it comes out clean you know it’s done!

Step Ten: Let the cake cool in the pan set on top of a wire rack (to allow air flow underneath) for about 20 minutes. Then, take a shot of whiskey for courage and flip that baby over!! I usually find that putting my plate on top, screaming, and then flipping it over helps!

Make the icing and pour on top your gorgeous cake! Sprinkle with some remaining chocolate chips or even sprinkles for fun!!

ENJOY!


Baking Basics

Chilling Cookie Dough

To CHILL or not to CHILL— that’s my question at least!

Let’s be real for a second- chilling my cookie dough for ANY amount of time after making it is just about the last thing I want to do, next to simply throwing the entire batch in the trash (criminal!) However, after testing three different methods while testing my The Cookie recipe you can find HERE  I was able to see (literally) and taste first hand the differences.

 

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Here’s how it worked…

I had 3 different methods I wanted to test to see how it impacts the look, feel and taste of the cookie:

  1. Quick Chill: this was a quick chill for about 20-30 minutes in the fridge
  2. Overnight Chill: keeping the dough in the fridge overnight
  3. Freeze: freezing the dough in balls immediately after making it, they were frozen overnight

Note: I only put the frozen batch of dough into balls so i could easily pop them in the oven and not break my arm trying to scoop it frozen.

What I kept consistent:

  1. The temperature at which I baked them: 350 degrees
  2. The amount of dough cooked at once: larger cookies were two scoops stacked and smaller was one scoop (stacking method can be found here)
  3. The amount of time the cookies baked: 14 minutes

The Results:

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Quick Chill: the cookies were both visibly soft and almost wet throughout.  The bigger one spread a TON (especially when comparing next to the overnight chill and freeze!!) and tasted cakier than the smaller one.  The smaller one was like biting into cookie dough- which was actually quite delightful!

Overnight Chill: The cookies both looked similar: darker crispier edges with soft chewy center.  The Big one, similar to before tasted like biting into cookie dough but the little one was one of the chewiest cookies I’ve ever tasted… and I mean CHEWY- not just soft- there is a distinct difference.

Freeze: The frozen dough yielded cookies that looked just like the quick chill as far as size but were considerably softer and not as crispy on the edges.  To be fair, the standard rule of thumb when freezing dough is you add an extra 2 min or so onto baking time which probably would have done the trick, but I wanted to keep everything other than chill time consistent.

The Winner: Overnight Chill!!!

We  really LOVED how this method created what seemed to be the perfect cookie: crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  Will I really stop and overnight chill my dough every time?? Uhhh… I’m leaning towards a hard NO. But, it was fun to experiment and see how the cookies were impacted.

Experiment for yourself and comment below your results!

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