Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

I know I shouldn’t mess with something great. Take Grandmama’s Biscuits, for instance. What kind of fool would dare to fiddle with this level of perfection. Well, I did. I turned beautiful buttermilk biscuits in to a slightly sweet cinnamon-y breakfast (or afternoon, or whenever) little confection.

This is just a simple variation on basic biscuits. All I did was add the classic combination of cinnamon and raisins, lightly sweetened with just a bit of sugar, to my favorite biscuit recipe. They’re as simple to make as any biscuits and benefit from the same kind of care, such as gentle handling of the dough (you don’t need to really knead), and baking until just a bit golden.

We ate these for breakfast all on their own, but you could slather them with butter (especially while they’re still warm) or top them with jam or honey. They might not even be bad split in half and served with some kind of apple compote, shortcake style. Like any other biscuit, these are best eaten fresh, even still warm from the oven, but I’ve found these to be just dandy out of the freezer and re-warmed in the microwave.

Maybe it is foolish to mess around with a practically perfect recipe, but, since I wasn’t trying to improve, just expand, I granted myself justification to add a little flavor to my buttermilk biscuits. And I didn’t let myself down. These gently spiced and sweetened biscuits are delicious and just different enough to provide a little weekend breakfast novelty. Of course, if I hadn’t had such a good recipe to build on, who knows what might have happened. I shudder to even think about it.

Cinnamon Raisin Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cold butter
1 cup raisins
1 ½ cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Sift or whisk together to combine.

2. Cut the butter into small chunks. With a pastry blender or knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is well-distributed and the butter pieces are smaller than peas and coated with flour. (I usually end up using my hands to work in the butter satisfactorily.)

3. Stir in the raisins. Add the buttermilk and stir gently until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Gently knead in the bowl a few times to get the dough to come together and incorporate all the buttermilk. Add a little more buttermilk if the mixture is too dry to come together.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat it out to about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into about 12 to 15 biscuits with a round cutter or an inverted glass. (I used a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter.) Place the cut biscuits on a baking sheet. (I line my baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.)

5. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Serve as soon as they are cool enough to eat. Leftovers are nice when warmed in the microwave. The biscuits also freeze well.

Makes about 12-15 biscuits.

One year ago: Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Scones (probably not a coincidence)

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