Buttermilk Biscuits and small batch Blackberry Jam

My little Seth is a biscuit fiend. He loves a good biscuit, and quite frankly who doesn’t ??  I had some leftover buttermilk from the cake I made earlier in the week and I always try to use it up when I can before it goes bad, so I decided to treat him and make some biscuits.  I’m making chicken noodle soup today for dinner, so these biscuits will be a nice treat with the soup and for a quick breakfast with jam.

This blackberry jam is stress free jam. No sterilizing, no canning, no pectin; just a few simple ingredients and some time on the stove stirring, and voila you’ve got something scrumptious to slather on a fresh biscuit. Blackberries can be quite pricey, so when I saw them on sale I grabbed a couple of containers which is just enough to make this lovely jam. The jam will last about a month in the fridge if it’s stored in an airtight container.

Buttermilk Biscuits and Blackberry Jam

Biscuits: (yield: 8 biscuits)

1 Cup cake flour

3 Cups all-purpose flour

1  1/4 tsp.  sugar

3  1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. kosher salt

1  1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inches pieces, (kept cold until ready to use)

1  1/3 Cup buttermilk (kept cold until ready to use)

half-n-half  (to brush on top)

kosher salt (optional) for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 400 º  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Place both the flours, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chilled cubes of butter and with a pastry blender combine until the mixture resembles coarse peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the cold buttermilk and with a fork combine until it comes together.

3. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and gently knead the dough a few times and pat into a thickness that is about 1-1 1/4 inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet and brush with the half and half. Bake for about 20- 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

4. Remove the tray from the oven and brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

5. Serve warm.

Small Batch Blackberry Jam (yield: 1 generous cup)

2 Cups fresh Blackberries; washed

1 Cup sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients and with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon; bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick. Let the mixture cool slightly and strain through a strainer to remove seeds (or not if you don’t mind the seeds). Refrigerate any leftover jam in an airtight sealed container. It will keep about a month in the fridge.

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Happy Baking,


Spiced Blood Orange Marmalade

Spiced Blood Orange Marmalade

Blood oranges are one of those things when they are good, they are really good and when they are bad, well…. they are not that great.

I’ve been stalking the markets lately  in hopes of finding some and yesterday I found some a the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. I was so excited the moment I saw them. If you have never had a blood orange, you must try one if you get the chance!  When picking a good one, look for the reddish blush of color on the outside skin, if you don’t see any reddish hue; seek out another one. When they are ripe, they are really sweet. They are great sectioned into salads and when juiced, they yield a pretty ruby red color. One of the great ways to enjoy one is juice one and add to a glass with ice and fill with either sparkling soda, lemon-lime soda or skip the ice and replace with chilled champagne.

I was in the mood for making marmalade but not the conventional way that takes a while and is a lengthy process. I found this recipe in the cookbook Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma. Her recipe uses pink peppercorn and coriander seeds but I decided to go a different route and used cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon. The beauty of this recipe is that it is a small batch and it does not require too much effort. I like to call it “Lazy man’s marmalade”.

Spiced Blood Orange Marmalade (recipe adapted from cookbook: Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma)

yield: About 2 cups

3 Medium blood oranges

2 Cups sugar

1/2 Cup blood orange juice

1/2 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ( I used one meyer lemon and 3 small lemons to equal 1/2 cup)

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cardamom

Wash the oranges well. Slice the oranges with their skin into rounds, then cut the slices into small, even dice.

Notice the orange on the left side of the board; this one is a good example that is not that sweet; the skin on the outside did not have hardly any red hue to it and you can see the flesh inside is not red.

Place the diced oranges in a large saucepan, then add the sugar, blood orange juice, and lemon juice. Stir well. Add in the vanilla bean paste, cinnamon and cardamom. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the marmalade to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from scorching.

Cook the marmalade until the peel of the oranges is tender and translucent and the liquid is thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool before storing in an airtight container. Keep refrigerated.

p.s. I think this would be amazing spread on biscuits the next time you serve fried chicken, pull this out!



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