Saturday, January 30, 2010

Breakfast and Biscuits

Happy Saturday morning! As you may have noticed, I love making big breakfasts on the weekends. Usually its fluffy pancakes one morning, eggs the next. I think weekend breakfasts should be hearty and a little indulgent. Usually they end up being more like brunch for us, holding us over through Saturday errands and Sunday football. One of our favorite breakfasts - and one of the few meals my husband actually taught me how to cook perfectly - is egg sandwiches, preferably on a good buttermilk biscuit. But, I must admit, my biscuits usually come from the bakery section of the grocery store. For years, my mother and I have been searching for the perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe. But no matter what combination of flours, fats and techniques we've tried, we always ended up with dry, tough, hockey pucks. Until now! Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you...

The Best Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

From who else but Martha Stewart? And surprisingly, this recipe is very easy. The key steps seem to be very cold fat, in this case a mixture of butter and vegetable shortening.

And well sifted dry ingredients.  This recipe uses all purpose flour and cake flour, which keeps the biscuits light and fluffy.

A good floured biscuit cutter is also important. You need to cut straight down the edges of the dough, so the biscuits will rise properly.

My mother and I both happened to give each other biscuit cutters for Christmas, so I was covered here.

Its amazing what a difference these little tweaks made. The biscuits were golden, flaky perfection. And way better than store bought.

Best Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 12

3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1 cup cake flour
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbl plus 1 tsp sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces plus 2 Tbl melted butter for brushing tops
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated, trans fat free vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 400ยบ
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Sift again.
  • Using a pastry cutter or 2 forks, cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Make a well in center, and pour in buttermilk. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough just holds together.
  • Turn dough onto a well floured work surface, and need into itself 3 or 4 times. Pat dough into 1" disc. Using a well floured 3" biscuit cutter, cut round from dough. Place rounds 2" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gather scraps, pat back into disc, and continue cutting rounds until all dough is used. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter.
  • Bake until puffed and golden brown, and 15 - 18 minutes. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days, or freeze.
The biscuits pulled apart easily to fill with a fried egg, Gruyere, and a perfect slice of tomato.

This is obviously a particularly indulgent breakfast that should be saved for the weekends. During the week, I prefer breakfasts that are filling but not too heavy, and packed with as many healthy ingredients as I can cram in to kick start my brain and body for my busy work days. My breakfasts also need to be portable and easily eaten at my desk. Green Monsters are perfect for this, a smoothie packed with kale, almond milk, banana and flax seeds. I also frequently include yogurt with fruit and granola or oatmeal cooked with banana and topped with yogurt, nuts and fruit in my routine. Oatmeal is a traditional breakfast cereal, but there are so many other grains out there that make a great morning meal. This week I made a big batch of breakfast quinoa, which I kept in the fridge at work and heated up a serving every morning. Quinoa is the highest protein grain out there, so it makes an ideal breakfast. And its delicious, nutty flavor pairs well with fruit and nuts. Just like oatmeal, you can experiment with a huge variety of mix-ins.

This recipe makes a week-long batch. To re-heat, I scoop a single serving into a bowl with sliced bananas, and pop in the microwave at work for 1 minute, 30 seconds. The bananas melt into the quinoa, making it sweeter and bulking it up a bit. I then top it with a little milk and some dried fruit. But thrown in whatever you like!

Breakfast Quinoa
makes 5 servings
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbl sucanat, or honey or agave nectar to taste

  • Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer on low until liquid is mostly absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and sucanat. Enjoy warm or chill and reheat later.

And because I'm always thinking about my next meal, I'd also like to share with you my lunches this week - a Delicious and colorful Udon Soup with Mushroom Broth, Cabbage, and Yams.

Bon Appetit!


  1. good job girl. keep the posts coming. Definitely going to make the quinoa for this week!

  2. Hi Gretchen! I made the breakfast quinoa this morning...YUM!