January 2008: Cream biscuits

Here is a great and really versatile recipe from Linda Parsons of Bartimaeus Cohousing (Seattle, WA). It is so simple to make and easy to increase or decrease for different-sized groups. The recipe eliminates the need to cut butter into the flour mixture; the heavy cream provides the butterfat. Biscuit dough can be cut with a knife to form square biscuit shapes to save time.

The biscuits are light and fluffy. You can vary the recipe by using fresh herbs, grated cheese, crystallized ginger, or use your imagination. The only drawback to making these is that it is hard to keep the kids from taking too many!

Serve them with stews, chicken, soups and breakfasts.

Cream Biscuits
32 Biscuits

INGREDIENTS
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons table salt
6 cups heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack(s) to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 425 Degrees F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in one or more bowls. Add 5 cups of cream and stir with a wooden spoon about 30 seconds until dough forms. Transfer dough from bowl to countertop, leaving all dry, floury bits in the bowl. One tablespoon at a time, add up to 1 cup of cream to dry bits in the bowl, mixing with a wooden spoon after each addition, until moistened. Add these moistened bits to the rest of the dough, and knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Note: Kneading can be difficult when working with large amounts.

3. Shape the dough into large rounds, 3/4-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to make traditional rounds or cut into shapes with a knife. Place biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking.

It is important to bake the biscuits immediately after cutting them. Letting the dough stand for any length of time can decrease the leavening power and thus prevent the biscuits from rising properly in the oven.

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