Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Biscuits

Cream Cheese Biscuits - made August 13, 2012, recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

The original recipe was titled "Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits" but I didn't have chives. Since I don't cook, there's no reason for chives to be in my possession.  I do, however, have cinnamon so I added a teaspoon of that to the dough to see how that would go with the cream cheese. This made for a very sticky dough and I'm always paranoid about adding too much flour when I roll it out in case the biscuits turn out dry so I lived with the difficulty of working with a sticky dough rather than risk over-flouring it.  I like the concept of how to make this because the turning and rolling was reminiscent of a laminated dough (think Danishes and croissants) so I was hoping for something flaky.  Added bonus that it uses buttermilk.

This turned out pretty well, maybe because it's hard to go wrong with eating warm biscuit(s) with butter melting over it them.  The cinnamon wasn't as pronounced as I would've thought so it might be better to go with more than 1 teaspoon. They weren't flaky in the sense that croissants are flaky but they weren't too dense either.  The outside was crunchy and the inside was "mealy" if that's a good word for it.  Despite the cream cheese in the dough, I didn't get much of a tang from the cream cheese which for me was good since I don't actually like a strong cream cheese flavor.  It would probably be more interesting with chives, should I ever actually buy chives for any reason.

2 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cold, cut into pieces
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining.
  2. Pour in the buttermilk; using a fork, mix in the buttermilk until incorporated and the dough just comes together.  The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  With floured fingertips, gently knead about four times, until all the crumbs are incorporated and the dough is smooth.  With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll out the dough to an 11 by 8-inch rectangle, about 1 inch thick.  Using a bench scraper or long offset spatula to lift the ends of the dough, fold the rectangle into thirds (like a business letter).  Give the dough a quarter turn.  Roll out the dough again to the same dimensions and repeat the folding process.  Wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  4. Return the dough to the work surface.  Roll out as before, and repeat the folding process. Give the dough another quarter turn, roll out the dough one more time, again in a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, trim and discard ¼ inch from all sides; divide the rectangle into 12 equal squares or rectangles.  Place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 ½ inches apart.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 15 to 18 minutes.  Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

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