Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#SaveTheBiscuit - Just Peachy Shortcake with Toasted Pecans & Maple Drizzle



Who's ready for some more biscuit deliciousness???  This recipe is one of my personal favorites when it comes to desserts that are perfect for the upcoming spring and summer season.  It's my take on a traditional shortcake.  Sky-high buttermilk biscuits take the place of the usual shortcake, and juicy peaches mixed with a little brown sugar make a mouth-watering filling.  Freshly whipped cream, a drizzle of maple syrup and toasted pecans take this dessert to stellar status.

Recently, I shared the news that my blog had been featured in Wiregrass Living magazine.  This recipe was one of the dishes in my feature.  It's definitely a hit around our house.   In fact, I have a confession to make - After photographing this dish, I unashamedly devoured the.whole.thing.  I mean, I couldn't let such a beautiful thing go to complete waste!?!  Shhh...Don't tell anyone.  ;)  A girl's gotta indulge every now and then.

I know that fresh peaches aren't always easy to come by this time of year, so a bag of sliced, frozen peaches would make a fine substitute if you're in a pinch.  Just defrost and proceed as written.  This entire recipe comes together quickly and the steps are super easy.

Here in the south, we southerners are serious about our homemade biscuits.  There's a debate about whether using salted butter or shortening is better when it comes to this topic.  I've always been a firm believer in butter, until very recently.  The past few times I've made biscuits, I only had shortening on-hand...no butter to be found.  I'm slowly becoming a shortening believer.  My biscuits came out mile-high and were super light and flaky. I've also perfected my kneading method and fold over the dough several times while kneading.  This helps to create beautiful layers.

This is the 3rd installment of my #savethebiscuit series, in which I've partnered with the nice folks at White Lily flour.

Bon Appetit, my friends!




"Just Peachy" Shortcake with Toasted Pecans, Buttermilk Biscuits & Maple Drizzle
Serves 5-6
Ingredients:
6 large peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily
1/4 cup cold, salted butter OR vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup

Directions:
For the peaches:
Mix together the sliced peaches and brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Let the mixture stand for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

For the pecans:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  Set to the side.To make the biscuits:
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with no-stick cooking spray.

Pour flour into a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut 1/4 cup cold butter (or shortening) into the flour until butter pieces are the size of peas.
  Slowly blend in buttermilk using a fork, just until dough begins to come together, being careful not to over-mix.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and very gently knead the dough 2-3 times, just enough to bring it together.  Pat or roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disc.  Cut biscuits using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist as you cut.  Repeat until all dough is used.


Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, so that they are almost touching.
  Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the whipped cream:
While the biscuits are baking, combine the heavy whipping cream, white sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer.  With the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

To assemble:
Cut each biscuit in half and place a heaping spoonful of the peaches over each biscuit bottom.  Next, add a generous dollop of the whipped cream, followed by a sprinkling of toasted pecans.  Top with the crown of each biscuit, and finish with a drizzle of  maple syrup.  Garnish with extra chopped pecans, if desired.





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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#SaveTheBiscuit - Caramel Pecan Biscuit Bake



What do you get when you combine the ooey-gooey goodness of a cinnamon roll with the light and fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth amazing-ness of a buttermilk biscuit?


Well, this Caramel Pecan Biscuit Bake, of course.

My mouth is watering right about now, just remembering that wonderful first bite of this concoction.  You might be wondering what a "biscuit bake" is.  I had never made one, and really had never heard of one, until recently.  You basically make an easy biscuit dough and press it into the bottom of an 8x8 inch dish.  Next, it's topped with a heavenly mixture of yumminess, which in this case turned out to be melted butter, syrup, brown sugar, chopped pecans and plenty of cinnamon.  

Um, yes PLEASE!

I was surprised at how high the biscuit dough rose during baking.  I kind of assumed that the topping mixture would weigh it down a little.  Boy, was I wrong. 

The first bite is undoubtedly the best.  Trust me, you won't be able to let this cool long enough to allow each piece to come out of the baking dish in a perfect square.  It's wonderfully messy and seriously melts in your mouth.  The more it cools, the more it will hold its shape.

The weekend will be here before you know it, and that's the perfect time to treat your family to this incredible treat.  Weekend mornings always meant big home-cooked breakfasts around our house growing up.  My mom made mounds of scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and bread of some sort - either biscuits or toast.  My dad would pile a mountain of grits and eggs onto his plate so high you'd only see the outside rim of his plate!  Thanks in part to this recipe, last Sunday morning was one of those blissfully lazy mornings that just make your heart smile.

This is the second installment of my #savethebiscuit series, in which I've partnered with the nice folks at White Lily flour.  This recipe is a really cool way to incorporate biscuit dough into your repertoire in a new and exciting way.  I'm already brain-storming ideas of what to top my next Biscuit Bake with...Oh, the possibilities!  Seriously...I'm sort of in love with the whole concept.

If you're looking for more breakfast recipe ideas, White Lily has a great selection HERE.

Bon Appetit, my friends!



Caramel Pecan Biscuit Bake
Source:  whitelily.com

Ingredients:
Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Hungry Jack Butter Flavored Syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Dough:
2 cups White Lily Enriched Bleached Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening, chilled
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Pillsbury Whipped Supreme Cream Cheese Flavored Frosting


Instructions:
Heat oven to 400º F. Lightly spray 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish with no-stick cooking spray. Combine butter, syrup, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set aside.

Place flour in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk. Stir just until dough leaves sides of bowl.


Press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish with floured hands. Pour butter mixture over dough. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until dough rises and edges are golden brown. Place on cooling rack.


Heat cream cheese frosting in microwave safe bowl 15 to 20 seconds or until melted. Stir. Drizzle over biscuit bake. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.





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Thursday, February 27, 2014

#SavetheBiscuit ! A Buttermilk Biscuit Tutorial





How many recipes can you think of that only call for 3 ingredients, yet can evoke such special memories in the hearts and minds of so many southerners?  These days, we rely too often on fast food and frozen meals, that we sometimes forget how wonderfully comforting and easy things like biscuit-making can be.  Sure, you can buy frozen biscuits at the store, but there's just nothing quite like a hot, fluffy biscuit right out of the oven that you've made from scratch.  It's rewarding.  Plus, it's so much fun to teach the people you love how to make the perfect biscuit.  It's something that everyone should undoubtedly have in their arsenal, and a lot of people don't realize how dadgum easy it truly is.

Last weekend, my two adorable nieces spent the night, and on Sunday morning we hopped into the kitchen for a lesson in biscuit-making.  They were so excited, and it turned out to be quite the fun little adventure!  By the end of it, we were all covered in flour, but that was just part of the fun.  Upon first bite, they proclaimed - "Yum!  Let's make more!!"  I have to admit, that sort of enthusiasm in the kitchen warmed my heart.  It brought back all those memories that I have of making biscuits with my grandmother.  Maybe one day, they'll look back and remember learning to make biscuits for the first time with "Aunt Les."  :)

I'm so happy to be partnering with White Lily brand flour, as a White Lily Ambassador, on their mission to #savethebiscuit!  White Lily is a brand that I trust up and down, and I will not make biscuits with any other flour.  The reason is simple - Southern flours, like White Lily, are made from soft winter wheat, and therefore have much lower levels of protein.  This results in lighter, fluffier and more tender biscuits.   

Tips for Great Biscuits: 
1.  Always use COLD butter and buttermilk.  I've even started keeping my flour in the fridge, as well. 
2.  Work quickly while making the biscuits, so that the ingredients stay cold.  Once that cold butter hits the hot oven, it will create steam, which helps the biscuits rise higher.
3.  And most importantly - Use a gentle hand and do not over-mix.

Helpful Links:
White Lily has some great professional baking tips, which can be found HERE.   

If White Lily isn't sold in your area, you can order it online at either the Smucker's Online Store or Amazon.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of our flour-covered adventures in the kitchen.  Now, go grab someone special and share your new biscuit-making knowledge!

Bon Appetit, my friends! 

First, pour 2 cups White Lily self-rising flour into a large mixing bowl.

Next, add 1/4 cup COLD butter, cut into cubes.


Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is roughly the size of peas.

Learning to use a pastry blender :)

They were both such great little helpers!

When you're finished, it should look like this...the butter will be about the size of peas. 

Pour the cold buttermilk into the flour, and using a fork, very gently stir the mixture just until combined.


Stirring and mixing...

Lightly flour your work surface

And pour the dough out onto your prepared work surface

Gently knead the dough just 2-3 times, and pat down into a circle that's about 1/2 inch thick.

Biscuit-making is messy (but tons of fun!)

Next, cut biscuits using a floured, 2 inch biscuit cutter.  Be careful not to twist as you cut.  Place biscuits on a silicone-lined baking sheet, with sides touching.

Biscuit #1 is ready for the oven!

Is that not some major cuteness right there, or what?!?

Into the pre-heated 500 F oven they go for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Flour-covered adventures are some of the best. :)

The after-math.

Voila!  Enjoy right out of the oven with your favorite jam, jelly or honey. 

Classic Buttermilk Biscuits
Ingredients:  
2 cups White Lily self-rising flour  
1/4 cup COLD, salted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk   
2 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:  
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with no-stick cooking spray.
Pour flour into a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut 1/4 cup cold butter into the flour until butter pieces are the size of peas.

Gently blend in buttermilk using a fork, just until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.  Do not over-mix!

Place dough onto a lightly floured work surface and very gently knead the dough 2-3 times, just enough to bring it together.  Do not over-knead. 

Pat or roll the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick.  Cut biscuits using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, being careful NOT to twist as you cut.  (This will seal the edges and prevent the biscuits from rising as high.)

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, so that they are almost touching.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

While still hot, brush additional melted butter on the top of each biscuit.


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Cornbread Potluck! - Buffalo Chicken Cornbread & Blue Cheese Salad




Cornbread is so under-rated, don't you think?  There are so many fun things you can do with it.  For example, this recipe incorporates buffalo chicken, cheddar cheese, blue cheese and freshly chopped cilantro right in the batter.  Um, yum! 

And if that deliciousness isn't quite enough for you, a flavorful salad is served right on top of a generous wedge of the cornbread, making this an excellent addition to your weeknight repertoire.  Before eating this, I had never seen a salad served on TOP of cornbread, which I thought was pretty creative and made for a great pairing.

Upon first bite, Brad was hooked.  He loved this cornbread, and I'm usually the only bread fanatic around here.  In fact, this dish is so fantastic, that it actually won first place in the Martha White-Lodge Cast Iron National Cornbread Cook-Off in 2009!  I mean, come on...You can't go wrong here.

I was also hooked the first time I had this dish.  It was at the Martha White/White Lily Southern Baking Retreat last year, which I blogged about HERE.  That was SUCH a fun trip!!  The first day of the retreat, we had the opportunity to sample winning recipes from previous years of the cornbread cook-off.  This particular dish certainly stood out to me, along with several others.  Needless to say, we were all one bite away from total cornbread comas after lunch.  ;)

Speaking of the National Cornbread Cook-Off Recipe Contest, they are currently accepting entries through 2/28.  So, if you've got a cornbread recipe that you're famous all over town for, this is your chance to shine!  

To celebrate the cook-off, Martha White is hosting a virtual cornbread potluck, and this dish is what I'm bringing to the "table."  There are 9 other fantastic bloggers participating, so please take a moment to give their blogs some lovin' and check out their cornbread recipes.  This list will surely get your cornbread wheels turning and might even inspire you to enter the contest yourself!  The official contest rules can be found HERE.


Pass the cornbread, ya'll!

Robyn: Add a Pinch


Lorie: Mississippi Kitchen (Lorie was last year’s Grand Prize winner at the Cook-Off!)


Stacey: Southern Bite

Christy: Southern Plate



Linda: Southern Pantry
Monte Cristo Cornbread Skillet 

Bon Appetit, my friends!

   
Buffalo Chicken Cornbread & Blue Cheese Salad
Adapted from:  marthawhite.com
Note:  The original recipe called for iceberg lettuce, but I substituted with a spring mix to add a few extra nutrients and pretty color.  I also omitted the red pepper flakes, because I'm a total wuss and can't handle the heat. ;)

Ingredients:

  • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Cornbread:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Olive Oil
  • 1 (6.5 oz.) package Martha White® Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 cups cooked, frozen, boneless buffalo-style hot wings, thawed and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salad:

  • 4 cups spring mix salad, roughly chopped or torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2/3 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • Cilantro, chopped
Directions:





  1. Heat oven to 400º F. Spray 10 1/2-inch Lodge® cast iron skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Stir egg, milk and oil together. Add cornbread mix, Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup blue cheese, diced hot wings, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Stir until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared skillet, spreading evenly. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool.
  2. Combine lettuce, celery, red onion and 1/2 cup blue cheese. Toss with blue cheese dressing. Cut cornbread into 8 wedges. Top each wedge with an even amount of salad. Garnish with diced tomatoes and cilantro.
VARIATION
  1. RANCH STYLE: Omit blue cheese from cornbread and salad. Substitute ranch dressing for blue cheese dressing.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Feature in Wiregrass Living Magazine!


So, I've got some wonderful news to share with you all - My blog is featured in the January/February issue of Wiregrass Living magazine, with a 14 page spread (and cover photo)!  Wiregrass Living is published in my hometown of Dothan, AL, and I was thrilled to hear that they'd be featuring my recipes.  

As soon as the magazine hit newsstands, we headed to the local Barnes & Noble, and you can imagine my surprise when I first saw the issue, and a recipe from my spread made the cover!  I was even more happy with the recipe they chose for the cover - Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup.  Why?  Well, this is a much-loved family recipe that I originally blogged about HERE.

The article features recipes that make it easy to incorporate fresh fruits and healthy vegetables into your meals, during these chilly winter months when it's easy to rely on our favorite, maybe not-so-healthy, comfort foods.

I thought I'd share some pages of the spread with you, along with two recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

Bon Appetit, my friends!



Recipes Featured:
1.   Asparagus, Mushroom & Roasted Red Pepper Quiche with Bacon & Gruyere

2.  Very Berry Arugula Salad with Toasted Almonds, Mandarin Oranges & Balsamic Vinaigrette

3.  "Just Peachy" Shortcake with Toasted Pecans, Buttermilk Biscuits & Maple Drizzle

4.  Whole Wheat Penne with Turkey Sausage & Veggies

5.  Tomato & Corn Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

6.  Yogurt, Blueberry & Homemade Granola Parfaits

7.  Nutella-Peanut Butter Crepes with Bananas & Strawberries

8.  Greek Chicken Wraps

9.  Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Bruschetta

10.  Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

Very Berry Arugula Salad with Toasted Almonds,
Mandarin Oranges & Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
For the salad:
5 oz arugula (4 large handfuls)
1 lb. strawberries, quartered
1 cup blueberries
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup roasted sunflower kernels
1/2 red onion, minced
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grapeseed oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 3-4 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  Set to the side.

Pour the arugula into a large bowl.  Add the strawberries, blueberries, oranges, toasted almonds, sunflower kernels, red onion and crumbled goat cheese.  Gently toss to combine all ingredients.

Divide salad onto individual serving plates and lightly dress with the desired amount of vinaigrette, reserving extra for later use.

To make the vinaigrette:
Pour all vinaigrette ingredients into a mason jar, with a tight-fitting lid.  Vigorously shake the jar for 1 minute to thoroughly combine.  

****************************************************


Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Bruschetta
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls
3 oz. prosciutto, cut into small pieces
10 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 whole French baguette, sliced 1/2 - 3/4" thick
1 clove garlic, sliced in half

Directions:
Preheat broiler to 500 degrees F.

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, basil and olive oil in a large bowl.  Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix together well.

Next, arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet that's been lined with a silicone mat or sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.  Place under the broil and toast until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Once bread is just cool enough to handle, lightly rub each piece with the garlic, cut side down.  The harder you rub, the stronger the garlic flavor will be.

Just before serving, spoon topping over the toasted bread.  Serve immediately.


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Sugar & Spice by Celeste