4 • May 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

Redwing, MN. ~ The history of the biscuit coincides with that of sugar. The first biscuits were probably baked in Persia during

“TWICE BAKED” Eat Well & Prosper FOOD & Recipes by Executive Chef Ron Skaar ~

at the local market for a steep price. Medieval bakers began to add sugar to pieces of left- over bread dough and finish them off on the hearth. Shortbread originally


the 7th century BCE. But- ter, cream and honey also began to be add- ed to their

biscuit mix around this time. Arabic culinary practices European

transformed eat-

ing habits thru the Moorish conquest of Spain in the 8th century. Four centuries later the Crusaders returning home brought back many new ingre- dients, and techniques on their return from the Middle East. An Armenian monk, living in Europe, began making ginger- bread in 992. It was peddled

out as “biscuit bread”, back in the 12th cen- tury. Left over bread dough was sweet- ened and dried in the oven to form the hard, dry rusk. Over time the leveling was exchanged for butter which created a fancy treat, only bought for special occasions. A substantial

amount of butter is what makes short- bread short. When

applied to biscuits or pastry the term short signifies crumbly. This is the reason why the fat added to these pastries prepa- ration is called shortening. Modern biscuits are a French

and pastries dry and hard. The biscuit was a cake removed from its tin and re-inserted into the oven. These became popular among soldiers and navigators of the time for sus-


invention. Little fruit filled wa- fers were sold on the streets of Paris during the the 14th cen- tury. The term biscuit comes from the French for “twice- cooked” and referred to breads

tainable nourishment on their long journeys. Their popular- ity spread throughout Europe and were called “stone bread” during the reign of King Louis XIV. By the 19th century, trav- elers carried biscuits that were cakes in the hard form. Later

on, light

and crunchy biscuits were invented to allow for easier chewing and consumption.


biscuits were long keep- ing treats, small cookies made from egg whites, flour and sugar. Biscuits became some-

thing completely differ- ent in America. Feathery, light biscuits originated in the southern planta- kitchen. Rolled biscuits

were a stable at most meals but beaten biscuits became another southern favorite.

Female slaves would wack

the dough with a heavy mal- let or the side of a rolling pin for some thirty minutes, usu- ally outside in the humid heat of the summer! This created a blistered, dry dough with an elastic, smooth middle without the use of any chemical leav- ening agents. The tender, flaky buttermilk biscuits are omni- present. There are two styles: one with a crispy irregular top and tender inside or another with flat top and flaky interior. The first is made with minimal handling to prevent the devel- opment of gluten.

The second proceeds with

just enough folding and knead- ing to incorporate supple layers of dough and fat. True butter- milk is the low-fat portion of milk or cream after it has been churned to make butter, which continued to thicken and devel- oped flavor. Our cultured but- termilk is produced by giving low-fat milk a yogurt like heat treatment to produce a finer protein gel which continues to ferment with cream cultures until it gels. May 14th is our national day to celebrate the buttermilk bis- cuit. My baker friend Jenni- fer turned me on to chocolate

4 • May 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

EW & P Recipe May 2018

Chocolate Buttermilk Biscuits Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-pur- pose flour

1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder

2 tablespoons white granu- lated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt

6 ounces unsalted butter, cold

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cool 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 large egg


Preheat oven to 450 de- grees. In a large bowl mix the first six ingredients. Use a box grater to grate the but- ter into the flour mixture. Put bowl in freezer for 5 minutes and them mix in butter with flour until it becomes pea sized clumps.In blender mix cooled chocolate, buttermilk and egg until it resembles chocolate milk. Blend with flour until barely combined, lightly knead in bowl, dough will be sticky. Sprinkle your rolling surface with flour, and knead dough a few times (4-5 times) before pressing or rolling out dough into a 1” thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter, 4” will make 6 biscuits and 3” will make 8 biscuits. Repeat with scrapes. Transfer to lined baking sheet, brush tops with egg wash, dust with sugar and bake for 15-17 minutes. Best when still a little warm.

buttermilk biscuits, but never coughed up the recipe. I in- clude this one.

“I like flaws. I think they make things interesting.” ~ Sarah Dessen

Chef Ron

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