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Corny Love Affair

April 11, 2011
Done biscuits

I found this recipe on the show Cook’s Country Kitchen on PBS…  I tweaked with it slightly, and fell absolutely in love.  These cornmeal biscuits taste like cornbread while they have a more biscuit-like consistency, and hold gravy and drippings extremely well.

Ingredients

The Ingredients

Let’s get our ingredients ready:

  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk: if you don’t have buttermilk at home, you can make “fake buttermilk” by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk, stirring it and letting it sit on room temperature for 5-10 minutes to sour.
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (in the picture, I mixed these last 3 ingredients together already in the middle small bowl; I also added slightly more salt for taste)
  • 12 Tablespoons butter, chilled (I used butter-flavored shortening)

The objects in the picture may seem smaller – I only made a half batch at the time of the pictures.

First, turn your oven on to 450 degrees so it has time to preheat; the rack should be in the middle position.  Put the cornmeal in a large bowl and whisk in the honey and the buttermilk.  Let it soak for at least 10 minutes, so the texture of the biscuits will be less grainy.  I actually let them fraternize in the bowl for more than 15 minutes as my cornmeal was really dry.  Stir it every now and then, to make sure all the cornmeal gets its share of the buttermilk.

Soaking the cornmeal

Soak the cornmeal for at least 10 minutes

Meanwhile, in another galaxy bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then add the butter.  With a pastry cutter or fork, mix it until the butter resembles tiny crumbs and all flour is mixed in.  Alternately, if you have a large enough food processor, you can just pour it all in and pulse everything together until you reach the same consistency.

Flour and Butter

Mix the flour and butter...

Small crumbs

... to form small crumbs

Now, add the crumbled butter-flour mixture to the cornmeal bowl, and mix them together to form a dough – a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula are the best candidates for the job.  When there are no more dry spots in the mixture, drop it out on a floured pastry board.

Dough is ready

The ready dough

Knead it a little bit, just enough to make the dough really stick together, then pat it out into a circle, 9 inches in diameter, and about 3/4″ thick.  I left mine a little thicker – I prefer HUGE biscuits.

Ready to cut

Ready, set, cut

Now, to cut it!  The original recipe calls for a 2-1/2 inch biscuit cutter – which I lack, so I just used a similar-sized drinking glass.  Make sure you dip your cutter or glass in flour before each and every biscuit, so the dough won’t stick and will be easier to remove.  When you can’t make another whole biscuit, gather all the “edges” that remained on the board, knead them together, pat them out again and keep cutting.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.  Some recipes specify which one you should use – in my experience, it doesn’t matter all that much.  Both for the greater versatility and the price factor (available at dollar stores), I usually keep wax paper at home.

Place your biscuits on the cookie sheet, keeping a little distance between them, then in the oven they go.

Ready to bake

In the oven with them!

Keep an eye on your biscuits – when they start to rise, turn the temperature down to 400.  This should take them about 5 minutes, then it’s another 10-12 minutes on 400 degrees until they turn golden brown and cook all the way through.

Done biscuits

Cornmeal Biscuits

And now they’re ready to be smothered in butter and served with your favorite roast, chicken or even turkey!

Enjoy your meal!

Original recipe © Cook’s Country Kitchen

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