World's best (microwave?) biscuit recipe
I make the world's greatest biscuits. Really. Popcorn and biscuits are two talents for which I have no rivals. What Van Gogh was to art, Einstein was to science, and Anthony Weiner was to Twitter scandals, I am to baking flawless biscuits. But how do you make the perfect biscuit when you have no oven? This week I was faced with that very challenge.
As part of our kitchen remodel, a couple of weeks ago we finally ditched and recycled our 1968 Magic Chef gas oven. With it's dirty fossil fuel source and three pilot lights burning 24/7 it simply had no place in our energy-efficient, net zero energy home. Since we don't expect our new sustainable, hand-made Ash cabinets from Branch HIll Joinery to arrive until October, our kitchen is in a bare bones transitional mode.
To comply with the Living Buildings Challenge and ensure that we maintain our net zero energy status (use no more energy than is produced by the solar panels on our roof), our appliances must be the most energy-efficient and must be made in the U.S.A. Since convection ovens are more efficient than regular ovens, we decided to add a microwave that also had a convection oven capability.
Fortunately, our KitchenAid microwave convection oven arrived last week. Desperate to make my signature biscuits, and absent an alternative, I decided to give the microwave a chance. Honestly, I expected chewy, gooey, disgusting biscuits. Instead, I made one of the most perfect batches of biscuits I've ever made.
It's not surprising that I made rockin' biscuits. After all, we've already established that I'm the baddest, buttery-biscuit baker. It's only surprising that I made them in a microwave.
2 cups all-purpose organic white flour (I like King Arthur)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I get mine from Ernst Farm at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market -- fresh local flour is much more flavorful and full-bodied.)
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking power
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 tablespoons of organic white or brown sugar (Try a local beet sugar from your farmer's market.)
6 tablespoons of local or organic butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup of cream (You can use half & half, milk, soy milk or any combination.)
- Pre-heat the convection microwave to 350° (375° if using a conventional oven).
MIX DRY INGREDIENTS & BUTTER
- In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking power, salt and sugar).
- Cut butter into small (I like pea-sized) chunks.
- Using your bare hands, work the butter evenly into the flour mixture until it feels and looks like coarse meal. Your warm fingers will help blend the butter -- and it's much more sensual than using a pastry cutter.
ADD CREAM & STIR INTO BALL
- Add the cream, half & half or milk
- Stir until the dough becomes a ball. If it's too sticky, then add a touch more flour. If too dry, drizzle a bit more cream until it's a nice dough ball.
KNEAD, ROLL & CUT WITH BISCUIT CUTTER
- Turn the dough ball onto a floured wood or marble counter.
- Knead a few times until you've got a nice ball. Do NOT over-knead the dough.
- Roll or pat the ball into a round that is about 1" thick. No less. No more. This thickness makes the perfect hearty biscuit.
- Cut with a floured 2 1/2" biscuit cutter (A can or glass will work, too.)
- Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet -- non-metal if using microwave. (I used a small baking stone.)
TOP WITH CREAM, SALT & SUGAR
- Brush tops with a touch of cream
- Top with a dash of Demerara sugar or brown sugar and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt (I will sometimes top with maple syrup, honey or nuts. Get creative.)
- Bake for 17 to 20 minutes -- tops will brown and middle should be nice and flaky, not doughy.
- Eat, enjoy, share with friends.
- Repeat as needed.