Tag Archives: Butter

Biscuits and Gravy

Southerners may hold the title on the best biscuits and gravy.  Cracker Barrel roadside restaurants were famous for buttermilk biscuits ‘n gravy with sausage – before they added multigrain pancakes to their menu.

The New York Times has a recipe for biscuits and sausage gravy that’s worth a try.

All-Purpose Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 scant tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 425. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times in a food processor until mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Or cut butter into flour with fork or pastry cutter(. Add milk and stir with fork until it forms a rough ball.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and pat down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 1 inches by 6 inches.  Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter.  Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Sausage Gravy
  • 1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • salt, ground sage, ground fennel and ground red pepper to taste
Heat and cook sausage until loose and no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon – about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasonings – add sage and fennel.
Sprinkle the flour and pepper over the sausage, stirring constantly, until flour is absorbed by the fat – 5 minutes.  Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a bare simmer until the gravy gets thick and the roux covers the back of a spoon.  If it’s to thick, add more milk and stir.  Check seasonings, and serve over split hot biscuits.

Julia Child’s Queen of Sheba Cake

This rich chocolate and almond cake reminds me of a volcano cake – soft and gooey in the center.  I usually skip the icing and sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top.  It never lasts very long when I make it.

Queen of Sheba Cake

from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, plus 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond (pulverized in blender or food processor with 2  tablespoons granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour

Melt the chocolate in microwave; add rum to warm chocolate.  Cream butter with ½ cup sugar; beat in egg yolks. Blend melted chocolate and rum into yolk mixture, then add crushed almonds and almond extract.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until soft peaks are formed. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until you see stiff, shiny peaks. Gently mix a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a rubber spatula. Scoop the rest of the whites over  the chocolate and, alternating with sprinkles of flour, rapidly and gently fold in the rest of egg whites.

Turn batter into buttered and floured 8 inch round cake pan, tilting it in all directions up to the rim all around. Set in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 25 minutes.  Cake is done when puffed to the top and a toothpick inserted 2 to 3 inches from edge comes out clean. The center should move slightly when the pan is gently shaken.  Do not overcook. Remove pan to a rack and let cool 15 minutes. Wait another half hour before trying to remove from the pan, or serve it in the pan (easier).

Add a little ice cream on the side of the dish, if you like, but it’s really great all by itself. You can eat it with a spoon.

Chocolate Cookies from Melrose Avenue

You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much chocolate.  The chocolate mocha cookies from the Gourmet Cookie Book are supposed to be from an LA bakery on Melrose, but they taste just like my Aunt Dolly’s, who never got further West than Vegas.

Easy and fast to make, with lots of chocolate, and if you are a frappuccino fan, there’s some coffee in there too.

Mocha Chocolate Cookies from Gourmet

1.  The chocolate – use the best you can find – it does make a difference, even if you have to taste some first to be sure…

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Scharffen Berger or Ghiradelli are great, but Hershey will do in a pinch)
  • 3 cups (1 bag, if you are using Nestle, but you’ll need more if you are springing for Guittard Classic Semi-

    Guittard chips

    Sweet Chocolate Chips)

The rest is generic and you probably already have it in your kitchen:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, the unsweetened chocolate, and butter (faster if cut into pieces) in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  Better if all the chocolate does not melt; then stir to melt the rest and cool the mixture a little.

Beat the eggs with the sugar; add the coffee and vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate; add the dry ingredients and the rest of the chocolate chips (1 ½ cups).

Let the batter rest for five minutes while you line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Then, drop by tablespoons, spread the batter a little to form rounds, and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8- 10 minutes.

Check after 7 minutes; cookies are done when puffed and cracked on top.  Do not overcook.  Let cookies cool on sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Yum…

Lemon Thins from 1976

I bought The Gourmet Cookie Book for a present, but decided to keep it after thumbing through the pages. Cookies published in Gourmet – from 1941-2009 – from birth to death of the magazine – with full-page pictures.

The older the recipe, the easier. None are really healthy, but this is the season to indulge, so why worry.  I made the first batch of lemon thins for a gift, but ate them – all of them – my rationalization: they are very thin…

For fellow lemon (and butter) lovers…

Lemon Thins from the Gourmet Cookie book:
“In a bowl, beat 2 eggs with 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted, and add 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind.   In a bowl, beat 6 tablespoons butter, softened, until it is light and fluffy and add it to the egg mixture alternately with 2/3 cup flour.

Drop the batter by teaspoons 2 1/2 inches apart on well buttered baking sheet; flatten the mounds into 2 inch rounds with a spoon dipped in water, and bake in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool cookies on wire rack.

What to do with the rindless lemons? Gourmet has a recipe for lemon sandwich cookies, but for now I think sliced into glasses of water will be fine.