Sunday, December 13, 2009

Buttermilk Biscuits

One thing my mom, my husband, and Joshua all have in their extreme love of my biscuits. Others like them too, but these three can about eat their weight in biscuits. I've made them...well, forever, I guess.
This is my favorite bowl to make them in. It's wide enough and large enough so I have plenty of room...I've used other bowls, but I just like this one the best. It's my 'go to' bowl.
For a single batch, 10-12 biscuits, start by dumping in 2 cups of flour. I always use unbleached...and it's organic flour, but I've made it with just regular ole Gold Medal Unbleached flour for years...

Pour in one cup, then pour in another...
There, 2 cups of flour...
Now the baking powder. I usually put in about a tablespoon...I've put in 2 teaspoons before, but I usually put in a tablespoon...and to be honest, I can't tell any difference.

Now put in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda...
Just dump it in...

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt...
I usually kind of stir this up...not much, but just to mix it up a little...
Now you need 1/3 cup of butter... not margarine, butter. I always use unsalted. Once upon a time, I used to use margarine, but I don't recommend it anymore. The butter needs to be cold...don't let it sit out before you use it.
I start with one knife and cut the cube in some chunks...
This will just make it a little easier in a minute...
Now grab a second knife and cut the butter into ... well, pea size, I guess.
Cut, cut, cut...kind of like scissors...only you're using knives.
I have one of those one handed things for cutting the butter up, but I prefer two knives...
It works better for me...
Here's what it looks like... you can see a few small chunks of butter...
I guess 'pea size' is about an accurate description...
Whew...sometimes my hands are tired and I need a little break at this point.
Now you need 1 cup of buttermilk. Just dump it in...
I trade my knives in for a spoon at this point.
Stir it up. You're still going to have a little unincorporated flour, but that's ok. You'll get it all up in a minute. Just stir until it's mostly together.

At this point, I usually put some flour on my hands, and knead it for a minute in the bowl. Not a literal minute, but just to get those loose pieces of flour incorporated.
Take a piece of wax paper.....
Put a little flour on it...and spread it around the wax paper. See my scoop? That was Mimi's.
Now dump the dough onto the floured wax paper...

Unfortunately for the readers of Cooks Corner, I forgot to take a photo of patting the dough out. I PAT it out, I don't roll it out, although that would probably work just fine.
You can see that it isn't all perfect, nope, just pat it out. Now take your biscuit cutter (this was Mimi's too) or use a glass, (I usually use a 8 oz Ball jar at my mom's)...and cut out the biscuits.
Sometimes I realize I didn't pat it out very evenly, so I'll pat a little inbetween cuts. Once I've cut out all I can, then grab the pieces of left over dough and re-pat it out....then cut out some more.
When you've cut out all you can, and there's STILL a little dough left, just stick some on top of the biscuits. These are soooo tastey when they're done! I don't grease the cookie sheet...I just stick the biscuits right on there.
You can see that they aren't all round. Doesn't make any difference. They'll taste just the same.
Plus, if you're trying not to eat too much, you can eat an extra one that's not a full biscuit. It's better on your conscious that way.
Now, put them in a preheated 450 degree oven...
I usually set the timer for 12 minutes. You can see it took me 4 seconds to grab the camera and take a picture once I put the biscuits in.
Oh yum... 12 minutes have passed...
See those little 'top knots'? One time in Texas, my mom wanted me to make an entire batch of just little top knots. I did...and they were definitely tastey. They would not take 12 minutes.
Now throw them into a tea-towel lined basket... you may notice a little lighter spot on the top biscuit? That's where a 'top knot' WAS before I ate it.
Add some it melt for a split second...and then ....


Monday, February 23, 2009

Glazed Lemon Cake... moist and delicious!

This is an absolutely DELICIOUS lemon cake. My guy and I decided it wasn't the prettiest cake on the planet, but it sure was tasty!Start with 2 sticks (that's 1/2 pound) of butter... softened
Dump it in your KitchenAid if you have one. If you don't have one, well, I'd highly recommend one. If that doesn't work, just get out your beater. The butter, however, needs to go in the bowl.
Add 2 cups of sugar to that softened butter.
Did I say 2 cups of sugar?
Now mix those 2 together. "...until light and fluffy."
Yep, there starting to look 'light and fluffy' here.
There you go...
You need 3 eggs.
Put the eggs in one at a time (be sure and crack them first!)...
Blend it well after each egg.
On a plate or in another bowl, sift 3 cups of unbleached flour (I always use unbleached),
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda,
and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Sift those dry ingredients together.
You'll need 1 cup of buttermilk. I hate buttermilk unless it's in baked goods...cakes and biscuits!
Now you want to start alternating adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the sugar/egg/butter mixture.
Start with some flour...I don't know why, but every recipe always says this, so I do it!
Mix the flour in, but not too much...
Pour in SOME of the buttermilk...
Mix it in...
More flour...
flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk...and end with flour. Mix it - but don't overdo it.
Now take out this little jewel. I love this juicer. It's simple, it's good, and it was inexpensive.
Grab some lemons. I used 4. If you don't have one of these 'microplanes'... you need one. They are the best for zesting...or for grating parmesan.... etc.
You'll need some zest.. Now the recipe calls for "2 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest", but I only used one. It also calls for "3 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest" for the frosting (but I only used about 1 1/2) . The frosting directions will be at the bottom of this post.
oooh wee....look at that gal zesting that lemon!
There's some zest, but we need more!
There we go... that's the 'zest of 4 lemons'.
Now cut those lemons in half....
and squeeze the juice out. See how that traps the seeds? Pretty nifty, as we use to say in the 70's.
For the cake, you need 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. (You'll need more for the frosting.)
Go ahead and add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the batter.
Throw that 1 tablespoon of tightly packed zest (or more if you want) to the batter.
Tap the side of the bowl to get every last morsel of zest.
Spray your pan. I used a bundt pan, but the recipe called for a tube pan. A tube pan probably would have worked better since I didn't grease this well enough. (the cake, well, some of it got 'left behind' when I turned it out. No problem, though. I pieced it back together and you couldn't tell.)
Put the frosting in whatever pan you used...
Get it even...
Smooth it out with your spatula...
and stick it in your preheated 325 degree oven - not 350, but 325. Be careful and don't burn yourself.
While it cooks for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, you might want to start cleaning up your mess.
Fill that dishwasher up...
Here we are an hour and 5+ minutes later. Isn't that beautiful? It was. Like I said earlier, it was when I dumped it OUT of the pan that some of it's beauty went by the wayside. You may have been taught that it's what's on the INSIDE that counts! Yes siree, that goes for this Glazed Lemon Cake too.
Time for the glaze... You need another stick of butter. (Do you realize this cake is NOT from Cooking Light?) Make sure the butter is soft. Put it in the bowl of your KitchenAid...or whatever.
Add 1 pound of powdered sugar... 'confectioners' sugar. I never call it that, I just call it powdered. I don't even think I know anyone who calls it 'confectioners.'
Mix that softened butter and the pound of sugar together.

Oh, there it goes. I didn't think it was ever going to mix together!
Now add the 1 1/2 tablespoon of 'tightly packed grated lemon zest' (or 3 T. like the recipe said)...
and 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice. That's correct, 1/2 cup.
Oh yum. Now you want to glaze your cake.
I just spooned it over the top and let it drip down. Every once in a while, I'd spoon the gobs of it on the plate and put it back on the top.
It would fall again, but not as much.
I might have eaten a bite or two... or maybe not.
Oops, be careful. You might drip some on your counter.
I don't think the cake looks as 'ugly' as I previously stated in the picture. But the frosting, well, the glaze, isn't smooth. I guess that's why I thought it was a bit ugly. It's the lemon zest, which of course is what helps make it taste so delicious!
There you go... this is one of our top 3 all-time favorite cakes!

Glazed Lemon Cake (from the Silver Palatte Cookbook - an excellent cookbook, I might add)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon Icing...

1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 10" tube pan
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add lemon zest and juice.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a tester (toothpick) inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove. (Advice from the Cook's careful here!)
Spread on icing while cake is still hot. (More advice... it's ok to wait a few minutes!)

Lemon Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
3 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Mix in lemon zest and juice; spread warm on cake.