Nov 14, 2013

Big Buttery Breakfast Biscuits

I have been trying for YEARS to make amazing biscuits. You know, the kind that steams when you open it, is firm enough to slather jam or pile gravy on top, and is so soft and buttery that it melts in your mouth? I've either made hard, flavorless rocks, or biscuits so soft they fall apart into a powdery mess. Then one day my husband came home with some homemade biscuits and gravy that a friend of ours (a great cook!) had made and I fell in loooove. They are perfect! And now I get to share them with you! Hopefully I can make the sausage gravy soon, so you can enjoy these buttery pillows covered in that deliciousness.

4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup cold butter cut into small chunks
2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Be careful to not overmix and don't use a mixer.
3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1  1/2 inches thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges just begin to brown.

*for extra buttery goodness, you can brush butter on the hot biscuits after baking.

Nov 5, 2013

Caprese Puff Pastry Bites

It's no secret that I love the combination of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Add a little balsamic and it's pure heaven! In fact, I'd put just about any form of Caprese in my top five favorite foods of all time. 

The first time I ever sampled Caprese salad was at my sister's wedding rehearsal dinner. After my first bite, I was sold. And I kept trying to sneak extra helpings throughout the meal, not paying any attention to my dinner entree. Now I know better. When we go to an Italian restaurant, all I need is a Caprese appetizer, a little baslamic, and some bread. 

Speaking of bread, that would probably be a little higher on my top five favorite foods of all time, which is why I love my Pesto and Balsamic Glaze Pizza so much. And also why I like this yummy appetizer. They both have all of the basic elements of a Caprese salad, but with some form of bread! These are made with puff pastry and are best when served fresh from the oven, but they are still tasty when set out for people to snack on. 

6 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (I used string cheese!)
10 grape tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce pkg. puff pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed
pesto, homemade or store bought - Costco has delicious pesto!
Balsamic glaze

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice cheese and tomatoes. Grease mini muffin tin.

2. Place puff pastry on a floured surface or large sheet of parchment paper. Roll puff pastry into a 12 inch square. Using a pastry brush, brush pesto onto one side of the puff pastry sheet.

3. Cut into 6 (2 inch) strips and then into 6 (2 inch) squares with a pizza slicer.

4. Take two pieces of puff pastry squares and press into mini muffin tin, with the second lying diagonally on top of the first.

5. Add mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. Bake for 9-12 minutes until edges are just beginning to brown. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

recipe adapted from the little kitchen.

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