Today a quick CHUsday update. Remember CHU or Cookbook Hoarders Unlimited? Last year we had fun sharing recipes from cookbooks we hadn’t used in years or even possibly, never. When the giveaway that went with it ended I promised occasional CHU updates if I found something to share, and today I’m as good as my word.
I’m a fan of the King Arthur Flour catalog. I love the wonderful flours and food products, and since I bake all our bread, I’m always looking for new things to add to my pantry. Among other products I’ve tried and approved their Harvest Grains blend, the Ancient Grains flour, and the Vital Wheat Gluten (great to add a tablespoon or two if you use all whole grain flour, which I do.) I routinely use their white whole wheat flour when I make my weekly oatmeal bread and was successful keeping their sourdough alive until I just didn’t care to anymore
Every time I looked through their catalog, though, I came across a product called Original Bakewell Cream. Now, call me a biscuit snob, but the catalog swore that the best biscuits come from New Englanders who use this product, and, of course, having grown up in the South, I knew for certain the best biscuits came from cooks on the lower side of the Mason-Dixon line.
I wasn’t always a biscuit snob. I grew up in Florida, but I never had a “real” biscuit until 7th grade, when a friend invited me for dinner and her mother made fried chicken, homemade biscuits and chicken gravy. I was pretty sure I’d walked through a portal to heaven. While we never ate this meal at home, the moment I began to cook for myself, this was my “special meal” the one I made any time anyone in my family needed cheering up.
As the years progressed and I learned about things like “cholesterol” I reluctantly stopped frying chicken and making gravy. Sadly the biscuit part of the equation wasn’t hard to stop, in fact it was a relief. The problem was that my biscuits themselves were “hard” and always had been. It never seemed to matter what recipe I used. Whether I tried step-by-step cookbook biscuits carefully rolled and cut, or beaten biscuits like I learned to make as a VISTA volunteer in the rural Ozarks. My biscuits were tough or mealy. Only rarely was I proud of what I’d accomplished.
Then last month I finally broke down and bought Bakewell Cream. Despite its New England origins. Despite my prejudices. I followed the recipe on the can and only substituted butter for shortening, to avoid trans-fats and go straight for the artery-cloggers. Every time the biscuits have risen high and been light and fluffy. Even after they’re frozen, they’re a delight.
My apologies to all the fabulous cooks of New England who’ve been using this product for generations. I can’t believe I ever doubted you.
So if you’re a biscuit snob, but your biscuits are less than perfect, give this product and the recipe that comes with it a try. CHU won’t be sorry that you did.