Beyond breakfast: Biscuits aren't just for morning meals

Beyond breakfast: Biscuits aren't just for morning meals

July 30th, 2014 by Karen Nazor Hill in Life Entertainment

Biscuits from the Big Biscuit Barn in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Marcona Crumble and Candied Bacon Biscuit

30 ounces bread flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

4 ounces lard

8 ounces butter, cold

4 slices candied bacon *

3 ounces marcona almond crumble **

26 ounces cold buttermilk

* To make candied bacon, crisp bacon strips while a simple syrup of 1 to 2 cups of water and 1 to 2 cups of sugar is boiling. Coat bacon in syrup and let it rest overnight.

** To make crumble, combine 6 ounces sugar, 2 ounces butter, 2 ounce water and 1 ounce corn syrup in a pan. Bring to a boil and let caramelize to a tan color. Add 11/2 cups of salted marcona almonds and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Continue to stir as mixture darkens. Let cook on nonstick surface until hardened. Process to a crumble in food processor.

Whisk together dry ingredients. Rub lard into flour mixture then add cubed butter. Rub larger butter pieces into pearl-sized chunks. Chill mixture, then toss it with chopped candied bacon and marcona crumble. Lightly incorporate buttermilk to create a sticky mess.

Shape dough on a floured surface, rolling to thickness of biscuit cutter, about 11/2 inches. Stamp biscuits with a straight, downward motion. Oven temperature should be 400 degrees for first 7 minutes, then turn down to 350 degrees for 6 minutes.

-- Heather Thacker

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups White Lily All Purpose Flour

1 tablespoon Clabber Girl baking powder

1 teaspoon Morton's salt

1/4 cup Crisco shortening

1 teaspoon of Domino sugar

3/4 cups Mayfield buttermilk

Heat over to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together to form a ball of dough. Alternate kneading the dough by hand and cutting through the mixture with a knife. Form into a ball, sprinkling flour on the dough and press down the dough with a rolling pin. Flip the dough over and cut out the biscuits placing them on an oiled pan. Cook about 15-20 minutes until biscuits are a golden brown. When they are done, lightly brush the top with melted butter.

-- Linda Mays

Summer Shortcake Biscuits

2 cups White Lily flour, self-rising

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup shortening

7/8 cup buttermilk

Whipped cream or Cool Whip, to taste

Add sugar to flour and mix well. Blend shortening into flour with fingers or pasty blender. Add all milk. Stir just until all flour is moistened. Let proof in bowl for 20 minutes. Turn out on floured surface. Fold and pat down three times. Form ball without disturbing layers. Roll 3/4-inch thick. Cut with sharp biscuit cutter. Put biscuits on greased baking pan not touching each other. Proof once more on baking pan for 20 minutes. Bake at 450 degrees on middle rack for 15 minutes or until brown.

When done, brush with butter then sprinkle lightly with sugar. Split shortcake biscuit and add any fruit pie filling. Top with shipped cream or Cool Whip.

-- Phyllis Cade

They're not just for breakfast.

The biscuit, especially in the South, is a bread that can be served at every meal, says Phyllis Cade, owner of Big Biscuit Barn, a restaurant in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

"We Southerners love our biscuits," says Cade. "Southerners are raised on them."

That's why Cade opened a restaurant nearly eight years ago with a menu that's focused mostly around biscuits.

"Big biscuits," she says. "We serve them with different meats, sausage or plain gravy, a cinnamon biscuit, and shortcakes and fried pies (both made with biscuit dough)."

And Cade shares her biscuit-making talent, periodically offering biscuit-making classes in her restaurant; the next one is scheduled for Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. The cost, $30, includes lunch.

"I have taught children and adults, men and women, how to make biscuits and other treats that uses a biscuit recipe," she says. "I'll also throw in a little preaching, a little bit about life, and how important it is for families to eat meals together. People come to the class a little intimidated but leave happy, knowing how to make biscuits."

Linda Mays of Chattanooga comes from generations of biscuit-loving people. That's why she's continuing the family legacy by making biscuits at least once a week for her daughter and grandson -- just like her grandmother did when she was a child in the 1950s.

"I grew up eating biscuits with every meal," she says. "My grandmother was the best cook and best biscuit maker -- hands down."

Mays says she serves biscuits with homemade jam and jellies for breakfast, then switches to butter and gravy for dinner.

"Biscuits can be served any time of the day with meals or eaten as a snack with preserve on top with a glass of milk," she says.

Leftover biscuits can be either stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or frozen for about a week. She reheats them in a conventional oven.

In the International Biscuit Festival Baking Contest held last May in Knoxville, Heather Thacker of Chattanooga nabbed a first-place award in the "savory" category for a "Marcona Crumble and Candied Bacon" biscuit. She says the recipe was "thrown together" using ingredients left over in a local commercial kitchen by chefs Erik Neil and Peter Barlow.

"Crumble is basically blitzed nut brittle made with Spanish almonds and candied bacon -- a crispy sweet and salty simple indulgent," she says, noting that the flavored biscuit is now served at The Farmer's Daughter restaurant on Hixson Pike, where Thacker is a baker .

"I had never baked competitively and decided to enter the competition with recipes developed in the kitchens I basically lived in," she says. "Since then I've been hooked on pastry and bread-related gatherings."

Thacker says she grew up eating a "fusion" of typical American fare and simple Korean foods.

"Every weekend we tried to have a breakfast of eggs, sausage, and biscuits. My family did not do much baking from scratch and, while I wouldn't choose to eat a biscuit from a can, those family meals of my childhood were made with love and joy from my mother," she recalls. "It's the same need to nurture and love my community through the goods I bake at 'The Farmers Daughter' that adds a special gratification that keeps me baking hundreds of biscuits each week by hand and from scratch."

She acknowledges, though, that it took some time for her to perfect her biscuits.

"When I decided to bake at The Farmer's Daughter, my first few batches were not great," she says. "With practice, patience, and gleaning from cookbooks, I've been able to refine the biscuits that most often sandwich sausage and eggs.

"While fresh, fluffy tender biscuits are amazing on their own, I see most breads as an accompaniment best shared with honey and jam in the afternoon or sausage, egg and cheese in the morning," she says. "Really, biscuits are best shared with great company."

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at 423-757-6396 or khill@timesfreepress.com.