Of Blizzards and Bread and Biscuits

Raise your hand if you dealt with a blizzard this weekend. (I can’t see you, but I think the collective raising of hands will be a cathartic experience.) If you live anywhere near where I do, you will have raised your hand. New York City had a record-setting blizzard this weekend with over two feet of snow.

Mostly I stayed inside and waited it out. My wife, having grown up in Florida, didn’t grow up with snow, and still has a sense of child-like wonder whenever it snows. She was very excited to go outside, so we went out for a little walk around the neighborhood before it got too bad out. It was a nice walk, seeing all the people who were out (not many), all the businesses that were open (more than you might think), and the general peacefulness and beauty of the neighborhood. We also stopped so she could make snow angels.

When I wasn’t outside, I did what anyone in my situation might do: bake. While not dealing with snow growing up, my wife did have to deal with hurricanes. So she is very familiar with disaster preparedness. This means we were very well stocked on food and other supplies. So there was plenty to bake with.

I ended up making my new favorite bread recipe, the easy-peasy skillet bread yet again. (Don’t worry, there were no peas harmed in the making of the bread.) This bread my wife then used for some pretty awesome grilled cheese and apple sandwiches. I made some cheesy toast. (The two of us basically went through a whole loaf over the weekend.) I also made an amazing chocolate cake. As I’m usually baking a few weeks before I write about something, you’ll hear about that one soon.

What you’ll hear more about now will catch you up on one of my previous baking extravaganzas. This time it was biscuits. Lots and lots of biscuits You might remember I made these once before during the buttermilk chronicles. They were so good I decided to make them again. These are so good and so easy, you don’t really need a reason to make them. But if you asked me, I would say I wanted to make something yummy for breakfast to start the day off right. (It’s the most important meal of the day, no?)

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Having learned from my “mistakes” last time, I aimed to solve two problems I previously had with them. The first problem was that they disappeared so quickly. The second problem was that I had to figure out what to do with all the leftover buttermilk.

(As a side note: after reading my blog someone told me that they had another option for what to do with all that leftover buttermilk. Drink it. Apparently back in the day her grandmother used to drink it. It was cheaper than regular milk because it was a byproduct, so they used to have it, and she enjoyed it. So there you go.)

In any case I figured out how to solve both problems. Make a lot of biscuits! (I would hazard to say that there are many problems that can be solved with a lot of biscuits.) I tripled the recipe. Actually, I quadrupled it, because the recipe as written is only 3/4 of a regular recipe. So I quadrupled it to get it up to a triple recipe. (Math!) That meant that I had lots of biscuits to eat. They supposedly freeze and reheat well so I decided to bake one batch right away and freeze the other two. And by making a triple recipe, there goes all that buttermilk.

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Well almost. I was originally going to make a quadruple recipe as the buttermilk container has enough for four. But without even trying, I found a dessert I wanted to make which coincidentally used buttermilk (you’ll hear about it soon). So that used up the other cup. Triple recipe it was!

I got the biggest bowl I could to make it in. (The biggest bowl I already had, that is.) It was just big enough. There was a lot of stuff in there. Over a kilogram of flour! (Yay metric measurements!) I used an amount of sugar that was in the middle of the possible range, so they wouldn’t be too sweet.

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There was also a lot of butter. The grocery store was out of the unsalted butter I usually get, so I got some Kerrygold which is yummy but different. I ended up using the equivalent of two sticks of the Kerrygold and two and half sticks of the butter I normally use. It was very soft in comparison to the regular butter and in a big chunk instead of sticks.

The regular butter I cut into small chunks and then again into smaller chunks. The Kerrygold was hard to work with because it was so soft. I ended up cutting it into big chunks and then squeezing it into smaller chunks because it was easier to work with that way.

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I used my handy-dandy pastry blender. I did most of the work that way, but there was so much dough to work with, I had to go in with my hands for some of it. The butter was greasy as expected, but I got in there and made sure it was all blended. It was a lot of work. A whole giant bowl full of stuff. It was a good workout.

I made drop biscuits. They baked at the same temperature as the skillet bread (the one I wrote about last week), so I put them in with that. I got one tray of six ready pretty quickly so I put that in first. I used a Silpat instead of parchment paper. Then I did a second round of six. I moved things around in the oven because of the bread getting a little too brown too close to the top (as I mentioned last week).

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I ended up baking them for 15 minutes, maybe a little bit over. They came out lovely. While they were baking I formed the other two dozen and put each dozen in a plastic bag and stuck them in the freezer. (The last dozen was a baker’s dozen. Bonus biscuit!) Which means from now on, biscuits at the drop of a hat. (No hats were dropped in the making of the biscuits.) It was a little bit more work, but since it was a simple recipe it wasn’t that much more work.

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We tried some that night. We had got some spiced peach butter from a friend and slathered that on. Ah-may-zing! Seriously, really, really good. The biscuits were great. Light, fluffy, buttery and not too sweet. Yum, yum, yum, yum!

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Thank you hon for doing the dishes. Thankfully there weren’t a lot. I cleaned up the counter, because of course flour got everywhere.

And how did the frozen biscuits turn out, you might ask? A few weeks later I was craving some yummy breakfast food again. I remembered the biscuits in the freezer, and I decided to make some. I ended up making half a dozen just to see. I popped them out of the bag and put them on a Silpat covered baking sheet. A few of them I had to pull apart as they had stuck together. But despite being frozen, they came apart very easily.

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I baked them for 17 minutes total, checking them along the way. At 17 minutes they were nice and golden brown, having needed just a couple more minutes to bake from frozen as the recipe had said.

They were delicious. Just as good as when I first made them. They seemed a little smaller than the first batch. Maybe I had happened to grab a few that were smaller, or maybe they didn’t rise as much after being frozen? No worries. They were delicious.

So, you know when you eat something delicious and you really enjoy it? You know how much better it is when you eat something delicious that you made yourself? What I found that’s even better than that is eating something delicious that you made yourself that was actually pre-made. In this case, eating the fresh-baked biscuits that I had made weeks before and just baked was wonderful. Maybe because I wasn’t so tired from just having baked something. Or maybe because they seemed effortless because all the effort had happened earlier. In any case, I heartily recommend it.

Do you have any recipes that you like to make in large batches to save for later? Did you do anything fun or interesting during the blizzard (or non-blizzard depending on where you are) this weekend? How’s your new year going? Drop me a line below!

Recipe courtesy of smitten kitchen.

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