Biscuits remain something of an edible enigma to me, defying definition; as elusive as the fleeting aroma released from the oven as they spring forth, from raw dough to fluffy golden cakes. Growing up far from the southern border, I can’t claim any “authenticity” in my own attempts at biscuit fabrication, but there’s no way I’d let a lack of experience stop me from treading forth into such savory waters. I may not know exactly when to serve them, what to top them with, or how to pair them with your average meal, but if I have to build my entire menu around this simple side dish, so be it. Through trial and a whole lot of error, I’ve found my perfectly nontraditional biscuit formula that’s worth all the fuss.
Crisp, with a crackling amber-brown crust on the outside, but tender and soft on the inside, these coarse little breads bear far more flavor than your average wheat flour rolls. A harmonious marriage of cornbread and scone, these particular quick breads burst with the summery essence of corn, all bundled into a tidy handheld package. Enriched with the exotic taste of coconut milk, there’s a certain depth and buttery flavor to the crumb that no stick of congealed dairy products could ever hope to impart. They may have been inspired by the typical cream biscuit construction, hailing from the northernmost reaches of the country in Maine, but the end results transcend all boundaries. Something about the bright corn flavor makes me think of summer and backyard cookouts, although they would make just as fetching accompaniments to a cozy winter stew.
There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy these unconventional biscuits- The only key is that you enjoy them as soon as you can. Hot out of the oven, still steaming when you split them in half, and with a modest pat of buttery spread melting into every nook and cranny, the experience is of pure, freshly baked bliss.
- 1 1/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2/3 Cup Medium-Grind Yellow Cornmeal
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
- 6 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, Chilled
- 1 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk, Plus More to Finish
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with either a piece of parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking
powder, salt, and pepper until thoroughly blended. Cut the cold
butter into 1/2-inch pieces before tossing them in as well, mixing to
coat with the dry goods. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the
butter in, stirring and mashing so that you achieve a coarse, crumbly
consistency. You don’t want the butter to become completely
incorporated, but there should be no pieces remaining that are any
larger than petite peas.
- Shake the coconut milk well before opening to ensure that it’s
properly mixed. Pour it into the bowl and stir with a wide spatula, just
until the mixture comes together. Never mind an errant lump or two;
they’ll bake out just fine!
- Once you have a slightly shaggy, sticky dough, transfer it to a
well-floured surface and pat it into a rough rectangle about 1-inch
thick. Take a very sharp knife and cut it in half lengthwise, and then
into either thirds or fourths crosswise, depending on how large you want
your biscuits. This will result in 6 or 8 neat little squares. Gently
transfer the cut biscuits to your prepared sheet pan, reshaping slightly
if necessary, and brush the tops lightly with additional coconut milk
to promote browning.
- Bake for 18 – 22 minutes until golden brown all over. Let cool for at
least 5 minutes before digging in. To save the biscuits for later, let
cool completely and store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
The finished biscuits will keep for up to 4 days.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 330mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g