Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Anniversary Present: Maple Bacon Biscuits & A Giveaway
Can you believe it's been two! whole! years! since I started this little blog? Holy man, where does the time go? 163 posts later and I'm still in awe that people other than my sister and a handful of close friends read these pages on a fairly regular basis. Many of you, okay, most of you are complete strangers and you've welcomed my words, recipes and photographs into your world. It's humbling, let me tell you. Never in a million years would I be here unless you guys were too, so thank you so very very much for hanging out with me through the joys and sorrows; the cat talk and mom talk; the cake and the kale. Thank you for every kind comment and encouraging word - they go straight to the heart. Thanks also for letting me know when I goof up (it happens! - I'm not a robot!). Lately I've been trying to surround myself with things that make me happy (tea, chocolate, cats, books, food mags, Bruce Springsteen, Downton Abbey, Bradley Cooper - oh to be surrounded by Bradley Cooper!) and you know what? This little blog makes me really, really happy. It's a joy to sit down in my den, with slippers on the feet and a cat on the lap, and share a little piece of my world with you. Thank you for two wonderful years. Let's rock the heck out of year three, shall we?
So it's not really an anniversary unless there are prezzies involved. And my anniversary present to you is my very first giveaway. And it's a good one - The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook! Funny story: so I bought two copies of the book before Christmas, giving one away to a good pal and the other intended for one of you. Even after I flipped through it and fell in love with it, I was like "No Renee, you cannot keep this book - it's intended for one of your readers." Self talk. It's a good thing to have around. Then, just a couple of days before Christmas, The Food Bloggers of Canada had a giveaway on their site, giving away - you guessed it - a signed copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. And guess what - I won that book! Crazy joy happened. I'm going to keep the book with Deb Perelman's autograph, I'm sure you'll understand, but one of you lucky readers will win the other one! I'll have details at the end of the post, so stay tuned for that. So exciting! I'm so fortunate to have such lovely, loyal fans and I kind of love that I'm able to give something back to one of you.
What better way to celebrate an anniversary than with eating things I hold near and dear to my heart - yes bacon and maple syrup I'm talking to you. Bacon is no stranger around these parts, and maple syrup is an absolute necessity in my kitchen. Deb's cookbook is full of so many awesome recipes I can't wait to try them all - but these biscuits popped out at me immediately - mainly for their inclusion of bacon fat, which is genius. There are other fine scones and biscuits kicking around in my recipe index, but these biscuits, oh man, these biscuits are supreme. Think sweet and salty, flaky and terribly tender. It's what you dream the perfect biscuit will be like. That good.
Let's get started! Cook some bacon - in the oven is the best. No mess!
Drain off that bacon fat into a small dish and put it in the fridge right away - you need it to solidify cuz it's going in the biscuits. Chop a few slices of cooked bacon and stir it into the maple syrup. Awesomeness. Know what else makes these biscuits so darn light? Buttermilk. Always buttermilk. Careful not to overwork the dough cuz that just toughens it up - and you don't want that, do you? The recipe makes 6 large biscuits, so feel free to double the recipe for larger crowds. They freeze like a dream too - either by placing them raw on a cookie sheet and then straight to the freezer, or baking them first then freeze any leftovers. Gently rewarmed, they are almost as good as the morning you first baked them.
These biscuits are the perfect addition to any brunch table, preferably served with a side order of eggs. I slid a perfectly fried egg, complete with golden frilly edges, between two halves of a warm maple bacon biscuit and it made me very happy. Then I proceeded to eat another. Oh dear. Afterwards I curled up with the Sunday paper, a cup of good tea and a fat cat, and plotted other creations to share with you very soon. Here's to more cake and kale and everything in between. xoxo Renée
Maple Bacon Biscuits
I followed Deb's recipe almost to the T, adding another slice of bacon and more buttermilk.
4 slices bacon - about 3 ounces or 85 grams (save the fat - you want about 2 tbsp)
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp (55 grams or 1/2 stick) chilled butter, chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup buttermilk (shake it first!)
Cook bacon until crisp, remove it from pan and drain on paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into small dish and put into fridge to solidify. You want about two tbsp of solid fat. If you don't get two tbsp, just increase the amount of butter by whatever amount you are short. Chop the bacon quite small and place in small bowl, pour in the maple syrup and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425*F. Line a bake sheet with parchment. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the chilled bacon fat and butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the maple/bacon mixture and the buttermilk, stirring gently to combine, so everything is evenly moistened. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times until it just comes together into a dough. Pat into a one inch thick circle, and using a two-inch cutter, cut into 6 biscuits. Arrange biscuits on bake sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes, until golden and puffed. Serve warm. Do ahead: freeze them raw on a bake sheet until solid, then place in a freezer bag. Add a couple of minutes to baking time. Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
Now to the good part! To enter the contest leave a comment below, saying anything really - like what you're making for dinner tonight, or what your favourite post of mine was, or just tell me what the weather is like where you are. For another entry, "Like" Sweetsugarbean on Facebook and leave a comment on the post there. Be sure to leave some sort of way I can get a hold of you when you win - email is great! If you'd rather send me an email privately, you can do that too. Contest is open to Canadian and US residents, and closes Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. Winner will be drawn randomly. Good luck to all of you!