Thursday, December 15, 2011

NogBerry Biscuits

NogBerry is my shorthand for eggnog and cranberries. In biscuits.

Eggnog in biscuits, you say? Well, yes.

This post is part of the Improve Challenge orchestrated by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. The improv ingredients were eggnog and cranberries. I though about muffins and cupcakes, but that sounded too "expected." You don't win Iron Chef when you make what everyone expects.

Okay, the Improv Challenge isn't anything like Iron Chef, but when I'm working on any sort of challenge, I try to be creative - particularly if I'm working with assigned ingredients. I've never seen biscuits made with eggnog, so I figured it was different enough.

The resulting biscuits are a little bit sweet, but not crazily so. They're definitely not a breakfast item. They'd be perfect for breakfast, or even for the right sort of dinner.

I used dried cranberries for this and I put them in as-is, which left them with a nice chew. If you want softer cranberries in the finished biscuits, you can soak them ahead of time in water, cranberry juice, orange juice, or even your favorite liquor.

Since eggnogs vary in thickness, you might need to adjust the liquid to compensate. The dough should be soft, but not sloppy. There shouldn't be any dry spots in the dough. If it seems dry, add a little extra eggnog to moisten it. If it's too wet, you can compensate for that when you roll out the dough by adding more flour to your work surface.

Eggnog and Cranberry Biscuits

2 cups (9 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick very cold butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup eggnog

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.

There are several ways to incorporate the butter. You can cut it in with a pastry blender. You can cut it into pieces, then rub it into the flour with your fingers. Or, my new favorite, you can use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of butter.

Once the butter is worked in but still in pieces, add the cranberries and stir to distribute them. Then add the eggnog and stir just enough to moisten all the flour.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Form it into a rough rectangle with your hands. Flour the top surface lightly, then roll it to a thickness of about 1/2 inch thick. Fold it into thirds, then roll it again and fold in thirds. Roll it to about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick then use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut rounds from the dough.

Place the rounds on a baking sheet. If you prefer crisp edges, keep them separated. If you prefer tender edges, arrange them on the sheet so the edges touch.

Bake at 400 degrees until the biscuits are lightly browned, 12-15 minutes.