Friday, December 14, 2007

Chicken Fat Biscuits

For once, I had prepared my work area ahead of time. I dusted a clean board with flour, set out my ingredients, assembled all my measuring spoons, and only then embarked on a new recipe. I had a bunch of chicken fat to use up, so I was trying a new way of making biscuits: a recipe that calls for liquid fat. I usually just abuse my regular recipe for cold-butter-biscuits, but I figured I should try something new, and maybe I'd learn something. So I measured, mixed, and only made one change: I substituted whole wheat flour for half the white flour. Well, two changes: I also doubled the recipe in my head as I went. Never a good idea.

And once I added the liquid and fat, the mix resembled no biscuits I'd ever seen. The only way that nicely floured board would come in handy would be for making the real biscuits I'd hanker for after these strange objects were done. The dough looked like greasy oatmeal: not an attractive look. But I persevered, dropping the dough by big spoonsful onto the baking sheet, and banishing the whole catastrophe into the oven. We'll see what it looks like in ten minutes...

Hmm. Looks: not good. Taste: not bad. They didn't brown on top, so now they just look like flat, slightly swollen, dried out lumps of oatmeal. They taste good, though, and they don't seem wrong enough for me to blame their looks on my inability to do math in my head. The outside is crisp, insides are tender and steamy, and they have a nice flavor from the whole wheat and chicken fat. Maybe they're so flat and the dough was so wet because whole wheat flour absorbs less liquid than white. Sounds plausible, right? So next time, less liquid and maybe a little sugar or molasses for browning. Actually, with molasses and fennel seeds and orange juice (instead of some of the milk), these would be very nice tea biscuits. And I can call them Chicken Fat Tea Cakes. Not appetizing? Heh. More for me.

Next Morning Update: Apparently they were not only Not Bad, they were quite good. Between the two of us, we ate seven of them with dinner. I won't disclose which of us ate a sensible, restrained two and which of us had five (hey, they're half whole wheat, so they must be healthy, right?).

Next Week Update: They freeze well, and they turned out to be just flat enough that they can be thawed and warmed in the toaster. So a big batch can get you weeks of last-minute, no-fuss, fresh hot biscuits. That's worth a little flatness and ugliness in a biscuit.

Ugly Chicken Fat Biscuits

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups white flour
3 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups milk
2/3 cup chicken fat, melted

Mix dry ingredients, add milk, mix briefly. Add fat, mix until dough just holds together in a horrible glob, about 20 seconds. Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for ten to fifteen minutes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tried these and thought they were great! I dropped them as mounds but then flattened them with a fork to equal heights. They actually browned up a little and weren't that ugly, lol! Also added parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes. The kids were happy. :0)