Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maple and Black Pepper Biscuits

Biscuits are almost like instant bread - you mix and bake and they're done.

If you don't have self-rising flour on hand,you can always make your own.

Sweet and savory, these maple and black pepper biscuits would be perfect for a breakfast sandwich with pork sausage or ham. The sweetness from the maple is gentle, so  they're also perfect in the bread basket at dinner.

Maple and Black Pepper Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits

2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) self rising flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for topping)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Make sure the baking sheet will fit in your refrigerator – you might need two sheets, depending on the size of your refrigerator.)

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and pepper.

Add the butter and cut with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter pieces are no larger than peas.

Combine milk and maple syrup. Add it to flour mixture and stir gently to combine, just until all the flour is moistened. It’s fine if the dough is wet and goopy. If it seems dry and the flour doesn’t all incorporate, add more milk, as needed.

Generously flour your work surface. Turn out dough and flour the top. Pat it to about 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. It might be easiest to do the lifting with a dough scraper.

Flour your work surface again, just enough to keep the dough from sticking. Pat the dough again to about 1/2 inch thick. Fold in thirds again.

Flour your work surface again. At this point, it shouldn’t need a lot. Pat again to 1/2 inch thick. This time, fold the dough in half.

Pat the dough to 3/4 inch thick this time. Cut circles from the dough using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. If you want browned, crisp edges on your biscuits, leave space between them. If you prefer soft sides, let them touch slightly.

Cover the biscuits and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is heated, remove the biscuits from the oven and uncover them. If you prefer, brush the tops of the biscuits with some milk and grind on some extra black pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees until the biscuits are nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and place on a rack. Serve warm.