Brunch is my favorite meal. It's the one meal of the week where you have complete permission to be lazy. Brunch for me usually means a gathering of old friends, or a time to connect new people together. Every season it seems there are more kids running around under foot, new friends joining to eat good food.
Today we had a jam taste-testing brunch. Thanks to inspiration from @foodinjars new book Preserving by the Pint, I have been experimenting with new small-batch jam varieties. On the docket for today's sampler session were: honey apricot rosemary, yellow plum, "alley" blackberry, blueberry ginger, apricot thyme, vanilla honey peach, raspberry and strawberry rhubarb. What better way to try out new seasonal jam combinations than by gathering together and whipping up a batch of buttermilk biscuits.
After much experimentation, Alena has discovered the perfect combination of ingredients to make fluffy, flaky drop biscuits. While I sometimes bake off the cuff, this is one place where some basic proportions and amounts can be really useful. Biscuits are flaky when large chunks of butter melt during the baking process, creating thin layers of dough. They are fluffy thanks to the help of baking powder, a leavening agent that reacts when it encounters moisture and again when it's heated, causing the dough to puff up. Adding baking soda to the biscuits gives them even more leavening power, creating a fluffy deliciousness just waiting to be slathered in jam.
Alena's Sunday brunch buttermilk biscuits:
(adapted from epicurious.com)
3 c. flour (mixture of white/ww if you want)
1.5 sticks butter (salted or unsalted, just adjust the salt)
2 t. sugar (optional... adds a little sweetness)
1/4 t. salt (see butter note above)
3 t. baking powder (to make them rise)
1 t. baking soda (turbo boost the fluffiness)
1 c. buttermilk (holds it all together and adds that 'biscuit-y' taste)
Like any baking project, mix all the dry stuff together first. Cut in the butter (use a pastry cutter, two knives, or just your fingers). Leave pea size "chunks" to help with the flakiness. Pour in the buttermilk. Mix as little is possible to get the dough to stick together. Drop onto a pan. Bake at 425 'til just slightly golden brown. Serve warm with as many homemade jams as you can get your hands on.