Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bit of Better Batter

My Mother did a lot of building me up during those eighteen or so years I lived in her home. She was always and forever telling me I could do anything if I would just put my mind to it. It took, people. I have few reservations as to what I am capable of. I am often overly confident in my ability to handle things , and horribly prone to over extend myself.

My overconfidence occasionally strays to the kitchen. I have this deep-seated need to be all Suzy Homemaker, something my Mother didn't have quite so much to do with. (Hi, Mom!)

Tonight, just to further confuse my children and their need to figure out the names of meals (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, supper, etc.) I made Breakfast for Dinner. Let's hear it for easy meals and thoroughly confused children.

Except I fell off the straight and narrow.

When serving Breakfast for Dinner, pancakes or waffles are the bread of choice. Their easy, yummy, and you get to drown them in pure sugar syrup. I diverged, though. I wanted biscuits. Biscuits with strawberry preserves, to be more specific.

Now, as stated above, my Mommy-dearest will not posture and pretend that she is something she is not. She is not a lover of the kitchen. She is not a cooker of more than is, strictly speaking, necessary. Growing up, my sisters and I referred to her as the One Dish Wonder. Oh, she had more than one recipe, but very few that took more than one dish. Casseroles were her game. I tend to branch out a little more, dirty a few more dishes. I enjoy tottering around in the kitchen, following recipes and creating meals.

I don't like distractions, though, so cooking with the Munchkin Brigade under foot is not my ideal set up. But we muddle through and I only yell once or twice. Per kid. Yet, they are not to be deterred from the high calling of Helping Mommy Cook.

I digressed somewhere up there. This is supposed to be about breakfast breads. The ones I usually make and the ones I chose for this evenings meal.

I am a frozen biscuit type of gal. Not much exposure to scratch biscuits. In fact, I have always been a bit wary of the idea after hearing some of LL's stories of scratch biscuit failures. She must have either given up on the things or perfected them, though, as I never hear anything about biscuits one way or the other these days.

Alas, there were no frozen biscuits to be had. Three freezers in this house and not a single one of them housed a blessed bag of biscuits. I gathered my wits, picked up the phone and was about to call Joshua and beg him to pick up a canister of biscuits on his way home when it dawned on me: I could make biscuits. As in flour and, uh, well, whatever else it took to make biscuits with.

I put the phone down and wandered around the kitchen prepping a place to roll out dough and pondering exactly how it was that biscuits were made. I checked online to get a biscuit recipe. Flour, butter, milk, salt. Yeah, sure, I could do that. I went to the pantry to grab some flour and my eyes zeroed in on the Bisquick.

People, I may be ambitious, but when simplicity is staring me in the face and my two brain cells bump into each other and recognize that simplicity, I am going to take the easy route.

I smirked to myself and pulled that box right on down, noting it called for fewer ingredients than the online resource required. It was also simple enough to double the recipe. I dumped the powder and milk in a bowl, mixed into dough, stuck my hands in to knead it and decided instantaneously that there was no way I was going to roll this stuff out.

I grabbed up the box again to see what could be done with the pile of goo I had created and Simplicity herself smacked me. Drop biscuits. All I had to do was drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. How's that any different from cookies? Sweet! I cleaned my hands (ew, dough on them!) and used the spoon to gather a respectable sized drop biscuit.

The dough didn't drop. A dull sensation of dawning came over me and I knew there would be no dropping of the biscuit dough, inspiration hit. Thomas, who had been greatly intrigued by my kitchen finesse, was standing at the island with me and just itching to get his hands dirty. Yeah!! Thomas could get his hands dirty. This accomplished two things: my hands stayed clean and the biscuits would still be made.

Genius, yes?

When I saw those ugly little mounds of dough on the baking sheet, I concluded that they were also like cookies in that they would spread out and be pretty upon exiting the oven. I was excited at the prospect of hot, fluffy biscuits ready for butter and strawberry preserves.

Nine minutes later, I opened the oven and pulled out a dozen ugly biscuits. They didn't smooth out. As I picked them off the sheet, I noticed they weren't anything like the consistency of the frozen biscuits I had enjoyed all my life. There weren't light and airy and flaky. They were squat and rough and, to my utter horror, hard. I was sorely tempted to toss one, just to see what would happen.

I sucked it up and got my hands back in the dough, forming more 'biscuit shaped' mounds this time. Nine minutes later, I pulled them from the oven. This batch were improved only in shape (slightly improved, at that) and not at all improved in airy-ness.

While I was flipping the last of the biscuits into the bread basket, my eggs were getting a bit more done than usual. And the bacon that I usually insist that Joshua cook because he is SO much better at it than me? Crispy. Very crispy.

Bet he'll resume his position at Head Bacon Cooker in our home with a vigor.

I sat down at the table with my less than appealing looking meal, mumbled my apologies to the family, and started prepping my ugly biscuits with butter and strawberry preserves.

People, for all the times I have heard about not judging a book by it's cover, you'd think I'd've learned a thing or two by now. Though they were far from the tastiest biscuits I have enjoyed, those little mounds of ugly bread were really quite good.

Course, this stuff would dress up anything and make it delectable.


Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

I beg your pardon. I do NOT have biscuit failures. You're imagining that. Matter of fact, tonight I made some garlic cheese biscuits that were out of this world.

But I don't suppose that's the most encouraging thing to say at a time of Biscuit Woe. My apologies. And I'm gonna go ahead and apologize for laughing, too.

You can totally make biscuits, by the way. I know you can. I can help.

Anonymous said...

And--no--mom is aka Pat--Meemum ect...w/absolutley no Martha Stewart intrigue!!

Luv ya girlie!!


Anonymous said...

howbout getting together, joining forces with several homemadejams and preserves and congragare for a breakfast--yummy red whte and blue and

Bobbie said...

Sorry you had a rough time...I always make bisquick biscuits!! I don't touch them though...I stir them with a fork, then flour up my hands for the rolling of the dough, quick and easy!!

Christine said...

Sorry about your biscuit woes. I have finally found a decent recipe, but I very rarely make them.I must admit that I succomb to buying those bags of biscuits, quite frequently.

Missi said...

If you want, I could totally horrify you by telling you what is IN those frozen biscuits that makes them so light and airy. ;)

Check out Alton Brown on foodnetwork.com. He has fantastic biscuit info. Seriously, the guy has it down to a science. And I promise to turn my head if you use white flour like his recipes call for. ;)

Tara said...

I think i've had similar stories... ;o) great post...

And thanks for dropping by my blog!!! it's nice to meet you! ♥