Delicious biscuits require an excellent recipe. This particular recipe turns out light, fluffy biscuits that can be slathered with jam or butter or dipped in your soup for dinner.
Gluten free breakfasts are a thorn in my side. My whole-grain loving self cannot stomach gluten free cereals and John only likes eggs for about two weeks a year. So for the last couple of months we’ve been eating a lot of pancakes, biscuits, and grits, and I and my scale are ready for a change.
The last straw was a batch of biscuits on Friday morning. Monday is a big tax deadline so I was trying to get to work early on Friday to finish up one of my client’s extensions. I couldn’t think of anything quick for breakfast, so I started a batch of drop biscuits. (called”drop” biscuits because you drop them into the pan, rather than rolling them out). I didn’t have any of my gluten free flour mixed up, so I just started scooping out of various flour canisters to get the right ratio.
As I mixed the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients I realized something was terribly wrong. A bit of quick math revealed the problem. Eight scoops with a 1/2 cup measure does not equal two cups. (If you think accountants are good with numbers, you’re wrong. We’re heavily dependent on calculators, especially at 6:00 AM.)
Now that I had invested 4 c. of gluten free flour in this batch of biscuits I was not turning back. I added more baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum and then reached for the soy milk. Soy Milk. Snap! I had just poured the last of it into David’s breakfast and lunch cups. So I went with water.
I also realized that I had already put the last of the shortening into the biscuits. There was no way that I was going to waste Smart Balance on biscuits, so I just left it out. We’ve had too much fat in our diet lately anyway.
After these additions/alterations the biscuit dough seemed to be about the right consistency. I scooped big spoonfuls out onto a cookie sheet, popped them in the oven, and in about 15 minutes, we had huge, yummy, golden biscuits.
Here are some points to keep in mind in case you ever goof in the kitchen.
1. Figure out what you did wrong Hopefully, you will realize that something is amiss before you’re finished cooking. If so, take a minute to consult the recipe and compare it against what you’ve done thus far. Did you measure something incorrectly? Did you do something out of order? In my case, I had put in twice the amount of flour that the recipe called for.
2. Anticipate what will happen Now, try to anticipate the effect of the error. Sometimes, the goof will not have a big effect at all. In that case you may proceed with the recipe. For instance, if I add 1/2 c. of diced onion to a dish that only calls for 1/4 c., it’s not going to ruin the recipe so I can just keep going.
With the biscuits, I guessed that the extra flour would yield a very dry, flat biscuit due to a skewed ration of liquids and leavening agents to flour.
3. Consult a cooking reference, if needed If you’re not sure how your goof will affect the end product, consult a good cooking text such as Joy of Cooking. Besides recipes, Joy of Cooking has textbook type articles in each section that explain why recipes work a certain way. In the section on biscuits, I learned that the amount of fat in a biscuit recipe can vary greatly. This is why I chose to not add any additional shortening/butter to my dough.
4. Decide on a plan of action. Once you know what you’ve done wrong and what affect it may have, try to counter that affect. Some potential solutions are increasing or decreasing the remaining ingredients, increasing or decreasing another ingredient that serves the same function, or adding a completely new ingredient to the mix. This step is probably the most difficult, but your ability will improve the more that you cook, read, and experiment with new ingredients.
5. Write down what you’ve done Every now and then you’ll come up with a great new recipe when you’re just trying to fix a goof. I try to write my corrections down as I go, or quickly thereafter, just in case I’ve had a moment of brilliance =)
So, now that you’ve read all that here’s my new recipe for big batches of biscuits. It has less fat and doesn’t use a mix, and, therefore, may be more appealing to some of you. Enjoy!
P.S. I made a new breakfast menu for this coming week. Once I’ve tried it out and tweaked a few recipes I plan to make the whole menu and shopping list available for download.
(Yield: 16 large biscuits)
1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1 1/2 c. corn starch
1 c. soy flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1tsp. xanthan gum
5 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 c soy milk
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 c. water
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl thoroughly combine the flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum. Cut the shortening into the flour (see "Gluten Free Drop Biscuits Recipe"for further instructions). Add the soy milk, water, vinegar and beaten egg to the flour and stir until the dry and liquid ingredients are combined. Using a large spoon, drop the dough onto a greased pan to make 16 biscuits. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
(If you’re not vegan or casein free, feel free to use 1 c. buttermilk in place of the soy milk and vinegar.)