Daring Bakers’ January 2012 Challenge: Biscuits

 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!

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. 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). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
Wholemeal – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

Coffee Crunch Banana Bread

Now, this is not your everyday banana bread. Coffee granules add an interesting twist to the usual.

First, mix the brown sugar, cooking oats, walnuts, butter, and coffee granules together.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. IN another bowl, add sugar and butter, then eggs. Add bananas, vanilla and yogurt. Then slowly add the flour mixture.

Pour into pan and sprinkle with crunch topping.

Bake!

 

Recipe

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 tbsp. butter

1 tesp. instant coffee granules

2 cups flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups bananas, about 3

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp. milk

Hat oven to 350 F. For the coffee crunch topping, mix the first 5 ingredients with fingers until teh mixture holds together in clumps. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Then add bananas, yogurt, vanilla extract. Slowly add flour mixture, pour into pan and sprinkle with coffee-crunch topping. Bake 60-65 minutes. Cool completely. For glaze, mix powdered sugar and milk until thin enough to drizzle over loaf.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Don’t shoot me, yes, it’s another banana bread. But it’s good, honest, and I can’t resist anything with this amount of cinnamon-y goodness.

Mash the bananas first.

 

Mix it with the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla (I used orange zest instead). Then sprinkle the baking powder and the salt. Add the flour.

In another bowl mix in the rest of the sugar and cinnamon. Now, spread half the batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon mix on top, then spread the rest of the batter. USe the rest of cinnamon sugar on top and bake.

Recipe from Lovin’ from the Oven

For the bread:

  • 3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

For the swirl:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan. Mine was 9 x 5, but you could use any sort, I suppose. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon.
  4. Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, but remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eyeball on it!

Banana Bread with Almonds

Yes, I know, another banana bread clogging the web. but this one is a good one. Honest. Plus, I had way too many slowly decaying bananas that would have gone to waste.

Ok, first mash 2 or 3 bananas like so:

I love my potato masher. Then add the eggs, the sugar, the flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and almonds. I always sneak in a pinch of ginger, just because i can.

And that’s it. tell me that is not simplicity itself. Bake it an hour and you’re done.

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup almonds

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

 In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. . In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

 Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Add almonds.

 Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour , until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

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