Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

A good biscuit should be flakey, buttery, and easy to get on the table. These biscuits use a fun folding technique to build-up those important layers and is, in my opinion, easier than rolling them out. If you're quick (i.e. you don't have a four-year-old helping with every step) you can get these in the oven quicker than you can pre-heat it. 

Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes approximately 12 biscuits

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour (plus more for shaping)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold (if you don't have buttermilk, add 2 Tbl lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. With a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture, until it resembles slightly damp sand. Add milk and mix about 15 times, until mixture is combined, but dough is still loose.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and pat into a 8 inch by 8 inch square about a 1/2 inch thick. Fold dough in half once, and then in half again, then pat back out to square. Repeat folding and patting another three times.

With a floured biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, making sure not to twist as you push the cutter down or pull it up. Reshape remaining dough and cut out remaining biscuits.

Place biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

Serve warm with gravy, butter, jam, or, my personal favorite, honey. 

Flakey Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes Approx 12 Biscuits Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tbl baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 cup buttermilk 6 Tbl salted butter
Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Prize Coffee Cake with Blueberries

Do you feel that family recipes are sacred? I used to. I would stick to the recipes passed to me not daring to deviate in the slightest. But the longer I've been baking, the more I feel open to tweaking. Same goes with recipes from other sources. Perhaps its more about confidence than anything else.

This recipe, listed in my book as "Prize Coffee Cake" due to its history winning ribbons at the LA Country Fair, was a staple in my house growing up. My dad would make it on weekend mornings and I'd always go for a corner piece, because extra topping seemed to collect there.  Over time, I've made a few changes. A bit of wheat flour here, a little less cinnamon there, some blueberries because I live in Maine and have a ton in my freezer. 

In the end, I don't think Dad would mind. Maybe he'd even go for a second slice. :) 

Prize Coffee Cake

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (or 1/2 stick) butter, softened 
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¾ all-purpose flour
  • ¾ wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl melted butter
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1-2 Tbl cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9"x9" pan, line with parchment as desired. 

Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until fully combined. 

In a separate bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Alternating with the milk, add flour mix to butter cream. Pour into pan.

If using, sprinkle blueberries across top of cake, distributing them evenly, then push them down slightly into the thick batter.

Mix together topping ingredients. If necessary add a little more melted butter until it clumps, but we wary- too much butter will cause the topping to turn molten and sink into the batter instead of staying nice and crispy on top.  Sprinkle topping on top of the batter.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting and serve warm, with butter as desired.

Recipe doubles well, just add 5-10 minutes cooking time for a 9"x18" pan. 

Prize Coffee Cake with Blueberries

Serves 8 Ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 egg, 3/4 cup wheat flour, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 Tbl melted butter 2 Tbl flour 2 Tbl cinnamon
Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Grandma Batt's Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma Batt's Cinnamon Rolls
Grandma Batt's Cinnamon Rolls via Ms. Cleaver
Grandma Batt's Cinnamon Rolls via Ms. Cleaver

My grandmother, former home-ec. teacher and enthusiastic chef and baker, had file of cabinets of recipes,  cabinets of dishes, and an addition built to house a formal dining room. All of which is to say, Grandma loved to entertain and provide food for those she loved.

It is somewhat strange then, that while I have several family recipes I inherited from my Dad, I have only one directly from my Grandmother.

But if I was only going to have one, I'm glad it's this one. There are a handful of dishes that say "Grandma" to me: jello salad, bananas in milk with sugar, oyster stuffing, and these cinnamon rolls.

She would make them in huge batches and freeze them uncooked, then pull them out for company. They were always amazing in my book, so it was the one recipe I requested. The result: a hand-typed recipe card, with a few typos here and there, is a especially precious bit of my baking book.

But for all that, I made the recipe for only the second time this weekend, and I more fully understand the large batch/freezing practice, because with a yeast dough base they literally took all day to complete. Most of it was rising time and very little was hands-on time, but still - not something I'm going to bang out every weekend.

That said, if you have the time, these are well worth the effort for a special meal and way better than those things in a can.

Grandma Batt's Cinnamon Rolls

makes 18 rolls

Sweet Roll Dough

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening or (softened unsalted butter)
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups flour

Cinnamon Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Quick White Icing

  • 1 cup confectioner's/powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Few drops of vanilla extract (optional)

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and half of flour to the yeast. MIx with spoon until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to handle easily.

Turn onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth (5 min.). Round up in greased bowl, bring greased side up. Cover with cloth. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees F) until double, about 1 1/2 hours. PUnch down; let rise again until almost double, about 30 min. Shape.

Roll dough into oblong, 15" x 9". Spread with a the Cinnamon Filling mixture. Roll up tightly, beginning at wide side. Seal well by pinches edges of roll together. Even up roll by stretching slightly. Cut roll into 1" slices. Place in greased 13"x 9" pan or 18 greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until double, 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes in 375 degree F oven. Frost while warm with Quick White Icing as desired.

To make icing, shift powdered sugar into bowl...moisten with cream or milk to spreading consistency. Add flavoring.


Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I have a love/hate relationship with blueberries that falls directly on the low bush/high bush divide. I'll admit it, before I moved to Maine I didn't know there were different kinds, but boy is there a big difference. The low-bush or wild blueberry is a thing of beauty, small, tart and delicious. The high bush blueberry on the other hand, I feel is gritty, heavy, and lacking in flavor. In short  - I am not a fan.

I wish I could say the berries in the recipe came from wild blueberries we hand picked somewhere in a distant field (and if you know a good place to pick wild blueberries in Southern Maine, let me know - please!!), but they didn't - but they are wild Maine blueberries, and those are tasty enough for me.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

(adapted from Whipped's Cranberry Orange Muffins)

Makes 12-16 muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest
 of one washed lemon
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1  to 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F.

If making buttermilk, mix milk and lemon juice and set aside until needed.

Grease  or line muffin cups. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.

Whisk together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and buttermilk in a separate mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Toss blueberries in a small amount of flour until coated and fold into batter. Fill each muffin cup about three-quarters full. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (20-24 minutes). Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and eat warm with butter.

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Little Things

Some things I've been making lately:

Andersonville Socks
Basil Rosemary, Mint and Camomille
New Lunchbag

Maple Walnut Granola:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choosing)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbl warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250°F.

In a large bowl, mix together syrup, sugar, oil, water and salt until throughly combined. Add in oats and nuts and and mix until coated.  Pour oat mixture unto a  lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet or pan.

Bake from 1½ to 2 hours or until oats are dry and brown. Remove from oven and cool. Stir in fruit and place in a sealed container.

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

One Bowl Banana Bread

Banana Bread

If the only reason we had alcohol in the house was to bake Sherry Nut Bundt Cake, then the only reason my mother owned a Cuisinart was to make banana bread.

Okay, that's not entirely true - occasionally my dad would use it to make really tasty hashbrowns, but for the most part the Cuisinart was a one-hit wonder. But like Don McLean's American Pie, it was a good hit. Whenever I feel like I'm in a breakfast rut I like to make a loaf - it also travels really well, so I'll often make some for road trips.

The recipe below is an adaptation of the banana bread recipe from an old Cuisinart cookbook that always fell open to this page, because again, it was the only thing it was used for.

I don't own a Cuisinart and while you can do the recipe in a blender for the most part, it's easier to make and clean if you do it one-bowl style.

Banana Bread Ingredients

One Bowl Banana Bread

Makes 1 medium-sized loaf

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350° F

Break up the bananas and butter into a large mixing bowl. With a sturdy whisk, mash together the butter and bananas until mixed well - the butter will still be a little chunky, but should be about pea-sized.

Butter/Banana Mix

Add flour, sugar, soda and salt. Whisk around on top of the bowl before using a spoon to combine with butter/banana goop. Add eggs, milk and lemon juice, adding the juice last. Mixture may bubble slightly when the lemon juice is added. Mix in walnuts and pour into a greased loaf pan.

Bake 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Slightly overbaked loaf...

Serve warm with butter. Makes a great breakfast treat.

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly

Booze Cake

Friday afternoon I received a call asking me to provide treats for this Sunday's coffee hour at my local Methodist Church. Now I'm not actually a Methodist, but I never turn down an excuse to bake, so naturally upon acceptance my first thought of what to make for the Methodists was "booze cake," specifically Sherry Nut Bundt Cake, henceforth known as SNBC.

My mother is a complete teetotaler and as a result there the only alcohol that ever made it into my mother's house was an occasional and random light beer that came home with my dad after a night out with some college friends and the cooking sherry for this cake.

The SNBC is a hand me-down from my Grandmother Leota and is a classic 50's recipe. The base of this almost-coffee cake/ rather bread like dessert is yellow cake mix and Jello pudding in a Bundt® Pan. If that doesn't scream post-war packaged food frenzy I don't know what does.

SNBC Ingredients

(an ingredient still life inspired by Pioneer Woman Cooks)

Sherry Nut Bundt Cake

Cake on Plate

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (no pudding in the mix!) 2 small packs of instant vanilla pudding 4 eggs 1 cup cream sherry ¾ cup oil ¼ cup sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt® pan. Mix first five ingredients, adding oil last. In a separate bowl - mix sugar, cinnnamon and nuts together.

Pour about ¼ of the batter in the pan and sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter (I find this is easier to do uniformly if you use a spoon and not your fingers).

SNBC Layer 1

Top with 1/2 of the remaining batter and the remaining nut mixture.

SNBC Layer 2

Add the remainder of the batter.

SNBC Layer 3

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester (I like to use a piece of spaghetti) comes out clean. Allow to cool before inverting. No need to frost, just give to your favorite Methodist as is and enjoy!

Print Friendly and PDF Follow
follow us in feedly