Saturday, January 28, 2012

Biscuits and Buffalo Smashed Chickpeas

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! He studied 288 websites' scone/biscuit recipes and the bakers' comments, then made 16 batches to perfect his recipe all  with the goal of "[us being] able to make a good if not great scone (biscuit)."

I don't really need words to tell you he achieved his goal - just look at my biscuits. They were golden, fluffy, and tender. I followed his basic recipe and tips to achieve success that had my Dad on cloud nine on the first try. The directions below tell you what I did for that first batch but I highly recommend checking out the full details of the challenge (and trying it right away). The next batch, also below, involved blue cheese, dill and a bit of whole wheat flour with the white.

I chose those flavors as I wanted to make a variation on Buffalo Chicken Wings with the biscuit toning down the spiciness of the Buffalo-style Smashed Chickpeas. The biscuit tasted pretty good, in spite of being precariously close to burnt, but I'm not giving proportions as it wasn't quite right. The filling, however, was awesomely tangy and addictive so the recipe for that is below. I expect to eat it for lunch often move forward with or without perfected Blue Cheese and Dill biscuits.

I also look forward to making more biscuits in the future...and my Dad looks forward to eating them.

Basic Biscuits (as made in the aforementioned first batch)
Servings: Eight 2-inch scones or five 3-inch scones

1 cup Self Rising Flour (Spoon into your measuring cup and level. Do not pack it.)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 tablespoons Frozen, Grated Butter
1/4 cup Skim Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream (I didn't have whole milk, but I'm sure that would work instead of this 50/50 mix.)

1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse sand.
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).
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then lightly flour the top of the dough. Knead very gently 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth.
6. Pat the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for ~10 minutes. Then using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out without twisting six rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ~1/2 inch layer and cut two more scones.
7. Place the rounds spaced widely apart on a baking sheet. (At this point you can chill them in the fridge for several hours if you aren't ready to bake yet.)
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes) 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.

Buffalo Smashed Chickpeas
Servings: 3-4 ... it really depends on how much you eat ... I ate a lot. :x

Inspired by Buffalo Chickpea Lettuce Wraps by Jenn at Jenn's Lifestyle and Menu Blog featured at Kath Eats here and created with reference to Chef Dennis, Food & Wine, Gourmet via Epicurious, and's Buffalo Chicken wing recipes.

My family doesn't brave the heat too well, so this recipe caters more to the tangy, vinegar flavor of Buffalo Chicken wings and doesn't really need blue cheese to tone down its spice. Feel free to alter the spices to suit your taste. I may give into my urge to add some Sriracha next time.

1 14.5 ounce can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, minced (~1 heaping teaspoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons Red Pepper Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
large pinch Cayenne Pepper
3/4 cup diced Celery

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook stirring occasionally until it begins to turn golden brown.
2. Add chickpeas and stir.
3. Add vinegar, hot sauce, tomato paste and cayenne. Stir until combined. Using the back of the spatula or spoon to press down the chickpeas to smash some of them.
4. Remove from heat. Stir in the diced celery.

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