Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Angel Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

Back when I began learning to cook, which was way before I developed an addiction to cookbooks, I realized that I needed a basic baking book. I wanted a handy guide for making muffins, pie dough, cookies, and cakes. I wanted a greatest hits of general baking recipes with straightforward instructions that didn’t overcomplicate the process. If Rose's Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos had existed then, it would have been exactly what I needed. This new book, of which I received a review copy, is perfect for a beginner baker. It’s also an excellent reference for experienced bakers who want a book with all these classics in one place along with troubleshooting tips and “Baking Pearls” for each recipe. Each chapter begins with helpful solutions for common baking issues. For instance, I didn’t know that if your cupcakes turn out too flat, you should try resting the batter for 20 minutes before baking. The “Baking Pearls” give you specific information like the importance of weighing egg yolks and whites to be sure you are using the correct amount since their size can vary more than you might think. There are also all those step-by-step photos so you can see just what each step should look like along the way. This book gives you all the tools you need to succeed with baking projects. The yellow, white, and chocolate cake recipes are each offered in sheet cake and layer cake form and then in cupcake form. The leavening differs slightly for the cupcake versions. To top it off, there are some very tempting recipes to try. The Apple Cider Cake Doughnuts baked in a doughnut pan, The Glazed Mocha Chiffon Cake, and the Chocolate Cream Pie with a chocolate crumb crust are all on my to-try list. But when I read about the Butter Biscuits, I had to start there. They’re made with hard-cooked egg yolks which was a biscuit recipe secret from James Beard. I've heard this before, and I've made cookie dough before with sieved hard-cooked egg yolks. But oddly, none of the biscuits in his Beard on Bread book are made with eggs so I don't know where the idea was first published. In the head note for this biscuit recipe, there’s a suggestion for using the biscuits for breakfast sandwiches, and I love breakfast sandwiches. If all of that wasn’t reason enough to try this recipe, there’s a side note for turning these into Angel Biscuits by adding some yeast to the dough. That was all I needed to form a plan. 

The unbaked biscuits can be stored in the freezer and baked just when needed. Or, if going the Angel Biscuit route, after the dough rises it’s then stored in the refrigerator for up to three days before being flattened, cut, and baked. Flour, baking powder, and salt were combined, and cold butter pieces were worked into the flour by hand. Hard-cooked egg yolks were pushed through a sieve and added to the flour mixture. The cooked yolks contribute to a more tender result since they mix into the dough without causing it to become gummy or possibly overworked. Cream was added next, and I added yeast as well. The dough was stirred together and left to rise for an hour and a half. Then, the covered bowl was placed in the refrigerator until ready to bake. I always get greedy when I make biscuits. I cut them into squares with a knife rather than using a biscuit cutter. I don’t want to waste any dough or have to handle it more for re-rolling. In this case, I got extra greedy because I wanted the biscuits to be wide enough to make a good breakfast sandwich. I rolled the dough a little thinner than I normally would and ended up with slightly shorter biscuits. I brushed the tops with extra cream and sprinkled on some flaky sea salt. To make the breakfast sandwiches, I made a vegetable frittata with local sun gold tomatoes and squash. I cut the frittata into squares and topped the squares with basil pesto and arugula in each biscuit. 

I loved the texture of these biscuits with the lift from the yeast and the tenderness from the hard-cooked egg yolks, and I’d love to keep trying new and different fillings in them for breakfast sandwiches. Although I started by saying this would have been the perfect book for me when I first started baking, I also think there’s always more to learn—especially with all the information packed into this book. And next, I’d really like to learn more about the Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart. 

Butter Biscuits 
BUTTER BISCUITS is excerpted from Rose's Baking Basics ©2018 by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography © 2018 by Matthew Septimus. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. 

These biscuits are exceptionally soft, tender, and velvety. The secret ingredient is from James Beard, with whom I studied fifty years ago: hard cooked egg yolk. These are the biscuits I choose when I make strawberry shortcake or cobblers (page 250). They are also wonderful for breakfast, especially sandwiched with sausage patties. They are great to have on hand in the freezer, unbaked, because they can be ready for breakfast in under a half hour.


37 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, lightly packed 3 large eggs, hard cooked, yolks only
85 grams or 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
182 grams or 1 1/2 cups (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) bleached all-purpose flour 
86 grams or 3/4 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) bleached cake flour 
13.5 grams or 3 teaspoons baking powder, only an aluminum free variety
6 grams or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
50 grams or 1/4 cup sugar
174 grams or 3/4 cup (177 ml) heavy cream OR 181 grams or 3/4 cup (177 ml) buttermilk OR a combination of the two
Topping (optional):14 grams or 1 tablespoon/15 ml melted butter, cooled 
about 1 teaspoon sugar for sprinkling

-Into a small bowl, press the egg yolks through a medium-mesh strainer and cover.
- Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
- Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 375ºF/190ºC.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and, with your fingertips, press the cubes into small pieces until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (Alternatively, use a stand mixer, fitted with the flat beater, on low speed to blend the butter into the flour mixture, and then proceed by hand.)
2.Add the sieved egg yolks and whisk them in to distribute evenly.
3.Stir in the cream just until the flour is moistened, the dough starts to come together, and you can form a ball with your hands. For angel biscuits, add 2 teaspoons (6.4 grams) instant yeast to the flour mixture.
4.Empty the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead it a few times until it develops a little elasticity and feels smooth. Dust the dough lightly with flour if it feels a little sticky. Pat or roll the dough into a 3/4 inch high rectangle. For angel biscuits, place the dough in a bow and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 1 1/2 hours. Then, refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 3 days.
- Have ready a small dish of flour for dipping the cutter.
5.Dip the cutter into flour before each cut. Cut cleanly through the dough, lifting out the cutter without twisting it so that the edges will be free for the maximum rise; twisting the cutter compresses the edges, which keeps the biscuits from rising as high. Use up the remaining dough by re-kneading it only briefly, so it won’t become tough, and cut out more biscuits.
6.For soft sides, place the biscuits almost touching (about ¼ inch apart) on the cookie sheet. For crisp sides, place the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush off any excess flour and, if an extra crisp top is desired, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle lightly with the sugar.
7.Place the biscuits in the oven and raise the temperature to 400ºF/200ºC for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375ºF/190ºC and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a biscuit should read 200ºF/93ºC. If baking frozen biscuits, bake them at 375ºF/190ºC for the entire time for a total of 20 to 25 minutes.
8.Remove the biscuits from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool until just warm, top side up.
9.Split the biscuits in half, preferably using a 3-tined fork.
STORE: Biscuits are at their best when baked shortly before eating. They can be stored, tightly covered, for up to 1 day. To reheat, it works well to cover them with a lightly moistened paper towel and heat for a few seconds in the microwave. The unbaked biscuits can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 3 months. Bake them without thawing.

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  1. Oh Lisa, these angel biscuit sounds amazing...and yes, yeast can make them lighter...beautiful and delicious breakfast. Thanks for the sharing the cookbook. Have a wonderful week!

  2. These biscuits remind me of a cooked egg yolk cookies that I really adore..A fantastic sandwich!

  3. Lisa, absolutely love these biscuits look amazing and delicious!

  4. Mmmm, biscuits! Love 'em. I'm not familiar with the Beard egg yolk thing, and I've read most (although certainly not all) of his cookbooks. Although maybe I overlooked that. Anyway, sounds like a terrific recipe and excellent book. Thanks!

  5. I'd love to try these biscuits - they sound heavenly :) And that breakfast sandwich looks really good Lisa. Thanks for a couple of great ideas.

  6. I have never heard of using cooked egg yolks in a biscuit batter, but I can imagine they would produce a nice velvety texture. You studied with James Beard- what a great experience that must have been!

    1. That's a note from the book--the author studied with James Beard. I just wish I could have met him!

  7. Love this book! I used egg yolks recently in a tart, it's amazing the texture it gives to the dough...

    I have a file with selected recipes from each of m kindle version books, and went to check, I bookmarked 13 recipes, but not this one, somehow it escaped me, and now I must include it in my list

  8. i can't believe i've never made angel biscuits, but it's true. an egg sandwich would be my preferred way to consume one. :)


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