Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!
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So, I’m not going to lie: I completely forgot about the December 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge. It literally slipped my mind. Usually, I check the Daring Bakers forum at the start of every new month and then plan my weekend baking extravaganzas accordingly. But December was crazy.
My December was a whirlwind of gray mornings, rain, and last minute assignments that had to be completed before school broke for the holidays. In between that huge English essay I had to write about Oryx and Crake, chemistry tests, French tests, history assignments, accounting quizzes, dragonboat practices, and baking/cooking club sessions, blogging and baking were relegated to the back burner.
It’s January now, and although life is busier than ever, I feel as though I’ve learned to prioritize better (minus all those afternoons that I decided to pleasure read instead of doing homework). Thanks to my compulsive list-making habits, I write down everything I need to do in my Moleskine agenda (a Christmas present from my lovely brother Kyle) and plan for the upcoming weeks and months.
But, of course, there’s never enough time. There’s never enough time to bake, there’s never enough time to blog, there’s never enough time to hang out with friends. But I do it anyways. I make time to do these things because they are important me.
Making these Cheese Biscuits? Definitely something important to me. I haven’t made biscuits in ages and this Daring Baker’s challenge was a kick in the right direction. Audax’s recipe is really easy to work with and produces light, airy biscuits in less than half an hour, including cooking and dish-washing time. I have to admit that I prefer a slightly heavier, richer biscuit, but these Cheese Biscuits were lovely eaten with a slice of ham.
Click below for the recipe.
Barely adapted from: http://audaxartifex.blogspot.com/
Yield: about 16 3-inch biscuits
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup soft unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup cold butter
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or cheese
- 1 cup cold milk
- Optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of biscuits
Preheat oven to 475°F/240°C. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces (for flaky scones) or until it resembles coarse beach sand (for tender scones). Add the cheese and toss to combine.
Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the flour mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough, adding the remaining liquid if needed. The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. Using a plastic scraper, fold the dough on itself and pat down, repeating 3 or 4 times for flaky biscuits.
Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Use a cutter to form rounds, or a knife to cut out squares or wedges. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and glaze the tops with milk. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Bake in the preheated hot oven for about 10 minutes, checking for doneness at 8 minutes, until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process and serve while still warm.