Multigrain Rolls

As long as I can remember, my favorite dishes at the Thanksgiving table have been rolls and mashed potatoes.  Forget the turkey, I really just want the carbs.  These honey yeast rolls will probably always hold the number one spot in my heart for perfect dinner roll, but for the sake of variety I like to serve another option at Thanksgiving as well.  Enter these multigrain rolls.  With wheat flour, oatmeal, oat bran and flax seeds in the dough, they certainly earn their title – but not in a bad way.  All these ingredients plus the seed-salt sprinkle on top combine to make these hearty rolls taste great and provide some nutritional value.  I made them this weekend in preparation for the holiday.  We taste-tested one on its own and enjoyed it, but I felt it was missing something.  Then I tried it with a dab of honey butter and my oh my, it was just the thing.  The slightly sweet and rich honey butter is an ideal compliment to this soft, earthy roll.  I am glad both the rolls and butter are already wrapped up and stored for Thanksgiving, otherwise I might be in trouble.

Note: I know because I mentioned it that someone will ask for my honey butter recipe.  Truth is, I don’t use one.  I just mix room temperature, unsalted butter with honey and a pinch of salt until it tastes delicious.  Fancy!

Multigrain Rolls
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Yield: about 16 rolls
For the dough:
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup flax seeds
½ cup boiling water
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
2¼ tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
2/3 cup old-fashioned (not instant) oats
7 oz. (1¼ cups) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
15 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
Oil, for greasing the bowl

For the topping:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. mixed seeds (poppy, sesame, fennel, etc.)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling

Combine the oat bran and flax seeds in a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl and mix to moisten.  Let sit until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and honey; mix briefly to blend.  With the dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs, oats, wheat flour, pepper, salt and oat bran mixture until combined.  Slowly add enough all-purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.  Continue to knead on medium-low speed, about 3 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½-2 hours.

Brush a baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 10-inch round baking dish).  On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and divide into 16 equal pieces, about 2½ ounces each.  Form each portion into a ball and place the dough balls in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart so they have room to grow together.   Cover and let rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Brush lightly over the proofed rolls.  Sprinkle the unbaked rolls with the seed mixture and coarse salt.  Bake until the tops are golden, about 26 minutes.  Let cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Source: slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

As soon as I feel that fall chill in the air, I get a major urge to bake bread.  All kinds of bread.  Rolls, loaves, baguettes, etc.  I love the smell of the yeast as the dough rises, the wonderful aromas that fill the house as the bread bakes and of course, getting to enjoy the finished product warm from the oven.  At least for me, cinnamon raisin swirl bread is one of those foods that immediately brings me back to my childhood.  Despite the fact that it always came from a store bought loaf, a piece of cinnamon raisin toast spread with a thin layer of butter was a special breakfast treat.

I’ve made a few different versions of this recipe in the past, but this one finally has everything I’ve been hoping for.  A tender, lightly spiced dough with a sprinkling of plump raisins, and a cinnamon sugar filling that oozes out of the swirls while the bread is still warm.  I only made one loaf, but this recipe can be easily doubled to make an extra loaf for freezing or gifting to a friend.  If you still feel intimidated by working with yeast, this is another recipe that would be good for a beginner.  Remember, there is nothing to be scared of, it just like following any other recipe.  Hopefully the step-by-step photos will also help you feel more confident.  Let’s get cozy and bake some bread!

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
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Yield: 1 9 x 5-inch loaf
For the dough:
1 1/8 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
17 oz. (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup raisins
Vegetable oil

For the filling:
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. water
1 egg, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, warm milk, flour, butter, sugar, egg, salt and cinnamon.  Mix briefly until a dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is mostly smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.  Add in the raisins and allow to continue kneading about 3 minutes more, until the dough is smooth and supple and the raisins are evenly incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.

Pat into a round.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up and fold the top third down, in business-letter fashion.

Then fold the right and left sides into the center in thirds, forming a rectangle. Press down to seal.  Return to the bowl, cover and let rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.  To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon and water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.  Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface.

Roll the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle.  Brush lightly with the beaten egg.

Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a thin border around the edges.

Fold in the edges of the long sides of the dough about 1 inch.

Beginning with one of the short ends, roll the dough up into a tight spiral log, gently pressing as you go.

Pinch the seam shut, and place the loaf seam side-down in the prepared baking pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise until the dough rises just above the edge of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  When the loaf has risen, brush the top of the loaf lightly with the remaining beaten egg.  Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the loaf is golden brown, about 45 minutes.  If the surface seems to be browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil (I did this halfway through baking).  Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

*This dough can be made by hand and a stand mixer is not required.  Mix the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and once the dough comes together, knead on a lightly floured surface until the desired texture is achieved.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Oh yes, I went there.  After playing around with the idea of blueberry cinnamon rolls, I realized that regular cinnamon rolls are a bit like a blank canvas.  Sure, they are wonderful all on their own but they also lend themselves well to showcasing other flavors.  The idea of caramel apple cinnamon rolls popped into my head and it wasn’t long before I just had to make them.

I added a touch of fall spices to a basic cinnamon roll dough, rolled them with caramelized apples and cinnamon sugar filling the swirls, and drizzled with a caramel cream cheese glaze.  The result was exactly what I was hoping for.  A tender lightly spiced dough with big chunks of apple, and the glaze was positively to die for.  Ben doesn’t normally get overly effusive about the things I bake, but he called these his other true love.  They are definitely sweet enough to be a dessert, but I’m sure they would be the hit of any fall brunch.  After adding the filling, rolling and slicing the dough log, the filling may seem to be overwhelming the dough but don’t worry.  After the rolls proof the dough and filling will be nicely proportioned.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
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Yield: 8-12 large cinnamon rolls or 12-16 smaller rolls
For the cinnamon rolls:
6½ tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
5½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon zest
3½ cups bread flour
2 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp. whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling:
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. caramel sauce
1 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  Mix in the egg and lemon zest until incorporated.  Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 8 minutes until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.  (You may need to add a little extra flour or liquid to achieve this texture.)  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  To make the caramelized apples, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Mix until the apples are evenly coated.  Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool.  In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon to blend; set aside.

Mist a work surface with spray oil.  Roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls).  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough.  Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough.  Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll.  Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls.  Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size.  At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

To make the glaze, combine the cream cheese and butter in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 15-20 second intervals until it is warm enough to whisk together.  Whisk in the caramel sauce, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.  Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.   Swirl the glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls.  Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Soft Garlic Knots

Now that fall is upon us, my favorite type of meal to make is a big pot of soup with some homemade bread.  So comforting, and it makes the house smell amazing.  These garlic knots are one of my two favorite dinner rolls (the other being these honey yeast rolls), but I’m afraid they have gotten lost in the archives or overlooked because of the old (read: ugly) photo.  I also thought a step-by-step guide on shaping these rolls might be helpful.  Baking with yeast may be intimidating to those who have never tried it but it really is just following a recipe.  The dough for these rolls is easy to work with and I think a good project for yeast bread beginners.

The more you bake with yeast, the more comfortable you will feel with it until eventually it becomes second nature.  Though the recipe calls for a stand mixer, this dough (as with most bread doughs) can be kneaded by hand.  It may take a few minutes longer, but the resulting dough should be the same either way.  Gauging the texture of the dough is one of the things that comes with practice.  Many recipes say the dough should be “tacky, but not sticky”.  My own interpretation of this is that if I lightly touch the dough with a fingertip and dough sticks to my finger when I pull away, it is still too sticky and I need to add a little more flour.  If I touch the dough and it adheres just for a moment before my finger pulls away clean, that’s the texture I am aiming for.  Tying the knots of the dough is easiest if you do it in one fluid motion, and don’t stop to take pictures along the way 🙂

Soft Garlic Knots
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For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. Italian seasoning

To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients.  Add the olive oil, milk and water.  Mix until ingredients have formed a dough.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot.

Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center.

Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center.

Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press.  Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls.  Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Source: Amber’s Delectable Delights originally from King Arthur Flour

French Baguettes

I am so, so incredibly excited to share this recipe with you.  This, my friends, is the answer to getting fabulous, perfect baguettes without having to buy them from the store.  You see, I’ve made French bread at home plenty of times before but I think the old version was somewhat lacking.  Maybe too tough, too dense, just something that made me still prefer the kind I could purchase.  But this – this is just the type of bread I was hoping for.  With a crisp, crackly exterior and a light, chewy interior that is full of flavor, I have found the one.

This was actually my second attempt at this recipe, and I’ll tell you two important things I learned during the first go-round.  First, timing is key.  You will be taking the finished baguettes out of the oven approximately 24 hours after you start the sponge.  Due to the timing of the various steps, you’ll want to start these sometime between 8 am-12 pm unless you want to be staying up really late or getting up in the night to knead and shape dough (no!)  Second, the sponge is supposed to rise and then collapse.  Both times I have made this sponge, I have never witnessed the collapse.  The first attempt I even waited extra long and eventually left it out overnight, but still, the collapse never occurred.  So, I guess if you see the collapse great but if not, no worries.  I just went ahead and used the sponge, and everything worked out wonderfully.  Though I like to make a lot of my bread doughs in the stand mixer, I made this entirely by hand and let me tell you, it is FUN crashing the dough into the kitchen counter!  These may seem like a lot of work but most of the time is inactive while the sponge and dough rise, and they are totally worth the effort.  Ooh la la!

French Baguettes
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For the sponge:
1/8 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
¾ cup warm water (105-110˚ F)
6 oz. (1 cup plus 3 tbsp.) lower protein all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury

For the dough:
½ tsp. instant yeast
½ cup water (75˚ F), divided, plus 2 tsp. additional water if needed
10 oz. (2 cups) lower protein all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tsp. salt

For the glaze:
1 large egg white
1 tbsp. water

To make the sponge, combine the yeast, warm water and flour in a medium bowl.  Stir with a wooden spoon until thick and smooth.  Scrape down the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cut a couple of small holes in the plastic wrap with a paring knife.  Let stand at room temperature.  After 4-5 hours, the sponge should be about doubled in size and have tiny bubbles on the surface.  Continue to let stand at room temperature until the surface shows a slight depression in the center, about 2-3 hours longer (this never happened for me.)

To make the dough, add the yeast and 6 tablespoons of the water to the sponge.  Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the water is incorporated.  Stir in the flour and continue mixing with the wooden spoon until a scrappy ball forms.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead by hand, adding drops of water as needed, until the dry bits are absorbed into the dough, about 2 minutes.  Stretch the dough into an 8 x 6-inch rectangle.  Make indentations in the surface of the dough with your fingertips; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the water.  Fold the edges of the dough up toward the center and pinch to seal in the water.  Knead lightly, about 30 seconds (the dough will feel slippery).  Begin crashing the dough by flinging it against the work surface several times.  (This helps the dough absorb the water.)  Continue to knead and crash the dough alternately until it is soft and supple, and the surface is almost powdery smooth, about 7 minutes.

Again, stretch the dough into an 8 x 6-inch rectangle and make indentations with your fingertips.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and the salt.  Fold and seal the edges once again, and knead and crash as before, about 7 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and powdery.  If the dough still feels tough, knead in the additional 2 teaspoons of water.

Stretch a small piece of dough out thin (the windowpane test).  If the dough does not tear and you can see light through the dough, it is adequately kneaded.  (If the dough tears, knead a bit more and test again.)  Form the dough into a ball, transfer to a large lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Remove the dough, knead gently to deflate for about 10 seconds.  Return to the bowl, replace the plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.

Gently punch down the dough in the bowl, and turn it out onto a work surface.  Divide the dough into two 12-ounce pieces.  Working with one piece at a time and keeping the second piece covered, drag the dough to the edge of the work surface, forming the dough into a rough torpedo shape, about 6½ inches long.  Repeat with the second piece of dough.  Drape the dough pieces with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover an inverted baking sheet with parchment paper.  Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the other covered, shape the dough.  Make an indentation along the length of the dough with an outstretched hand.  Press the thumb of one hand along the indentation while pulling the upper edge of the dough down over the hand to enclose the thumb.  Repeat this process along the length of the dough.  Press the seam with your fingertips to seal closed.  Roll the cylinder of dough seam-side down, rolling and stretching until it measures 15 inches long by 2½ inches wide.  Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the second piece of dough.  Space the shaped dough pieces 6 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Drape with a clean, dry kitchen towel and cover the sheet loosely with plastic wrap (or seal in a very large plastic bag).  Refrigerate until the dough has risen moderately, 12-16 hours (no longer).

To bake the bread, place one oven rack in the lower middle position with a baking stone on the rack.  Adjust the other to the lower middle position and place a small empty metal baking pan on it.  Preheat the oven to 500˚ F.  Remove the baking sheet with the baguettes and let stand covered at room temperature for 45 minutes.  Remove the plastic wrap and towel and let stand an additional 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to simmer in a small saucepan on the stovetop.  Make the glaze by beating the egg white and water together.

With a single-edge razor blade or very sharp knife, make five ¼-inch deep diagonal slashes on each baguette.  Brush with the glaze and mist with water in a spray bottle.  Bring the baking stone out of the oven and line up the edge with that of the baking sheet.  Quickly slide the parchment paper with the baguettes off of the baking sheet and onto the hot baking stone.  Pour the simmering water into the baking pan on the bottom oven rack (be careful to avoid the steam!)  Bake, rotating the baking stone after 10 minutes, until the surface is a deep golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 205-210˚ F, about 5 minutes longer.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool 30 minutes.

Source: Baking Illustrated

Banana Bread

Everyone needs a great recipe for banana bread, right?  Most people have one they turn to and mostly, they are good.  But I have to say, Cook’s Illustrated has worked their magic once again and taken this classic quick bread up a few notches.  Of course, as I joked to Ben, they also took the “quick” out of quick bread, but spending the few extra minutes and completing a few extra steps was well worth it in the end.

The unique step here that you won’t find in most banana bread recipes is removing the excess liquid from the bananas.  As I have found in the past with making tzatziki sauce, shredded zucchini, and eggplant parmesan, I find removing excess liquid from produce strangely gratifying.  This instance was no exception.  Bananas have a lot of juice!  I also think it was exactly the thing needed to take this classic from good to perfect.  Most quick breads with fruit, such as banana bread, may have a nice moist texture initially but seem to get almost soggy after a day or two.  This method ensures a perfect texture straight from the oven and every day after – tender, fluffy and moist but not stick-to-your-fingers wet.  For breakfast or an afternoon snack, this banana bread is a winner with us.

Banana Bread
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1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
6 large, very ripe bananas (about 2¼ lbs.), peeled
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Lightly spray a loaf pan (about 9 x 5 inches) with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; whisk together and set aside.

Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and make several slits in the wrap to act as steam vents.  Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the bananas to a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and let drain, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes (you should have ½-¾ cup liquid).

Transfer the reserved banana liquid to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook until reduced to about ¼ cup, 5-10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  In a large bowl, combine the bananas and the reduced banana liquid.  Mash with a potato masher or whisk until fairly smooth.  Whisk in the melted butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the banana mixture.  Fold together gently, just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.

Slice the remaining banana diagonally into ¼-inch thick slices.  Layer the banana slices along both sides of the top of the batter, leaving a couple of inches in the center to allow an even rise.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the assembled loaf.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55-75 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan before removing.  Continue to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, July & August 2010

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

I may be from Indiana, but it’s not often that I eat what would probably be considered classic midwestern fare.  Recently I decided to make an exception, splurge, and make a classic Sunday dinner for some friends.  With fresh sweet corn on the cob, green beans, fried chicken and buttermilk chive biscuits, this was quite a fantastic Sunday meal.  And of course, the perfect ending – chocolate sheet cake.  Ben loved this dinner so much that he declared I could make it all over again later this month for his birthday dinner.

I really loved all the components of the meal, but I think these biscuits were my favorite part.  Warm, tender and flaky buttermilk biscuits are very hard to resist, especially with the flavor of fresh chives added to the mix.  These are great for entertaining because the dough can be mixed, shaped and frozen in advance, and then they can be baked directly from the freezer by simply adding a few minutes to the baking time.  My only mistake was not making a larger quantity.  I certainly won’t do that again!

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits
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Yield: 12 biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1½ tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk (optional)
Scant 1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup snipped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together to blend.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and, using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas.  (This can also be done in a food processor or stand mixer.)

Place the egg and egg yolk in a liquid measuring cup.  Add enough buttermilk to measure a full 1 cup.  Whisk in the snipped chives.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix together gently just until the dough comes together and all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a disc that is ½-inch thick.  Use a well-floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter and cut out dough rounds.  Place finished rounds on the prepared baking sheets.  Gently re-roll the excess dough and cut out additional biscuits.  Bake until golden brown and fluffy, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Source: adapted from Williams Sonoma