Applesauce Biscuits

I am going to let you in on a secret:  I have a super power.

As super powers go, it’s not that impressive.  I can’t read minds, or fly, or see through people’s clothes (for which I am really, really grateful).

My super power is biscuits.

Let’s not speculate about what my super hero name would be and move right along, shall we?

I love biscuits.  I love the simplicity, the versatility, the comfort.  I love that I can walk into my kitchen and emerge 1/2 an hour later with a plate of these fluffy little quick breads fresh from my oven and completely from scratch.  I love that my husband can eat up to 6 in one sitting and still hasn’t changed pants sizes since I’ve known him (because there’s been A LOT of biscuits in that time).

I have made so many biscuits that the proportions for each recipe are laid out like a road map in my brain, and they never disappoint.  Some of our favourites: Whole Grain Cranberry & Cinnamon, Oatmeal & Date, Cheddar and Paprika, Cornmeal & Thyme (recast as dumplings in stew), Pumpkin Sunflower & Spice.

On Wednesday, the kid was in a grump.  The reason why is his own highly guarded secret.  He was JUST. NOT. HAPPY. and therefore driving his mother completely batshit insane, as is his god-given right as a baby.  By the middle of the day I had exhausted all other ideas, so I plunked him in his high chair in the middle of the kitchen, threw down some cheerios to maybe keep the whining to a minimum, and pulled out the stand mixer.  And here is what I did:

Applesauce Biscuits

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup demerara sugar
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
generous pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

In large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt and nutmeg.  Using pastry blender (or flat beater on low) cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Add gradually to dry mixture, stirring just until it comes together in a sticky dough – don’t over do it, it doesn’t need to be uniform.

Turn it out onto a floured surface, flour your hands and need the dough a couple of times, just to smooth it out – if you feel it’s smooth enough already, skip the kneading, if it feels a bit too moist, knead a little extra flour into the dough.  With your hands pat the dough into a round, about 3/4″ thick.  Cut into 8 wedges, or use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds, squares, whatever.

Place evenly on a parchment paper lined, or ungreased rimless baking sheet, and bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until golden all over.

When these came out of the oven, lovely and fragrant with delicate apple and ginger, I quickly set about breaking one up into little pieces so it would cool faster.  I brought a plate of little biscuit bits into the living room and Connor and I sat on his mat together, and yanged at his toys until the biscuit was cool.  Then I handed him a piece.  He looked at it for a moment, grabbed it in his little hand and brought it to his mouth.  After his first taste he looked up at me, with his chunk of biscuit still clutched in his hand, and grinned.  It might have been the first smile I’d gotten all day.  The biscuits didn’t cure his bad mood by any means, but they certainly did give me a measure of calm in the middle of that horrible day, and that alone – as any mother will tell you – is reason enough to celebrate them.

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