5.24.17 Lemon Blackberry Drop Biscuits + Homemade Butter
Pretty much as soon as my son was born, I started imagining the day when we could cook together. Since cooking plays such a big role in my life, it only seemed natural to want to share this with Leo, never mind the fact that he couldn’t even hold his head up, or eat solid food when this vision started to occupy my thoughts. I started keeping Leo’s bassinet in the kitchen with me while I cooked, explaining the cooking process and letting him chew on whisks and wooden spoons while he watched.
Flash forward to today. What we have on our hands these days is an extremely active 18 month old, and while we’re still not really at the point where he can do much more in the kitchen than make a mess, we’ve definitely made progress. He’s helped me make cookies a couple of times, and he loves to help wash things in the sink. He has a couple of cookbooks, and while he’s yet to cook much out of them, he loves looking at the pictures. He knows the stove is “hot” and to keep well away from it. He’s great at stirring things. We’ve only had one incident where he dumped an entire box of baking soda out on the counter. Things are looking good.
So I was especially excited when I recently received a copy of The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids from the Wisconsin Historical Society. As someone who has long owned the original The Flavor of Wisconsin book, I was so excited to get into the kids version, and I figured Leo would be too. The book is packed with information, photos, and recipes showcasing the history of food in Wisconsin. It tells where our food comes from with different chapters examining different food sources. From forests, to lakes, to gardens and communities, it’s a really interesting book that explores what makes food in Wisconsin unique. Plus it has some really great looking recipes.
Now, when selecting the first recipe from this book together, I knew we had some limitations. One day, Leo will be able to help cook most if not all of the recipes in this book, but for now, I knew we needed to stick to the simplest of recipes. The obvious choice to start with was homemade butter. Not only is watching liquid cream turn into solid butter a really cool learning experience, but it also involves a lot of energy to make, something my son has more than enough of. I poured some cream into jars, and we got shaking. A little while later, we had our butter, as well as fresh buttermilk, and most importantly, a tired toddler. Great success.
We obviously needed something to spread our freshly made butter on, so Leo helped* me whip up a quick batch of drop biscuits, made with some of our fresh butter and buttermilk, and plenty of fresh blackberries and lemon zest. They were the perfect butter vehicle. After cleaning up the kitchen and the boy, we sat down to an afternoon snack of warm biscuits and homemade butter. Here’s to many more cooking sessions with this kid. He’s kindof the best.
*helping in this case consisted mostly of watching me make the biscuits while filling up various cups in the sink with water and dumping only one or two of them on his shirt.
Lemon Blackberry Drop Biscuits
Makes 9 biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz cold homemade butter (recipe follows) or 1 stick butter if you don’t want to make your own
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
- 1 cup blackberries (if they’re huge, cut them in half, otherwise leave them whole)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder until well mixed.
3. Cut the butter into very small pieces and add to the bowl. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour until the pieces are small and the mixture has a grainy texture.
4. Stir in the buttermilk, lemon zest, and blackberries and mix until a cohesive dough has formed.
5. Using two spoons, drop dough into approximately 2” diameter mounds on the prepared baking sheet - you should end up with about 9 biscuits total.
6. Bake biscuits until they are just starting to brown on the tops, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with plenty of butter.
From The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids
Makes about ¾ cup butter + about ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 pint organic heavy cream at room temperature
- Salt (optional)
1. Pour the cream into a deep bowl and whip it with a handheld electric mixer. Or, if you’re trying to tire out a toddler or get a good arm workout, pour cream into a large jar and tightly screw on the lid*. Beat or shake the cream - if using beaters, carefully move the beaters up and down all through the cream as you are whipping. If you are shaking in a jar, the cream will get plenty of agitation. It will be several minutes before the cream begins to turn to butter. At first, it will look like a creamy liquid. Then after a couple of minutes the cream will begin to thicken. Next it will form soft mounds and after that it will form stiff peaks. Keep whipping, because now is when little bits of butter will begin to form. You’ll also see a milky-looking liquid - that is the buttermilk that the butter is throwing off. Keep going until larger blobs of butter appear and begin to stick together. Eventually, the butter blob will no longer throw off any liquid.
2. Drain off liquid into a bowl or glass and save - you will use it to make the biscuits!
3. Now rinse the butter in the bowl with cold water, drain it, and squeeze out more liquid with your hands.
4. Pat the butter dry with paper towels to dry it off. If you’d like salted butter, you can add a little at this point and work it into the butter.
5. Wrap butter well and refrigerate until it’s very cold and solid before making it into biscuits.
* If you can find a very clean marble, add it to the jar with the cream. It will help provide additional agitation for the cream which will make the shaking go faster. Also, if you go with the shaking/jar method, you will reach a point when the cream has whipped and it will seem like nothing is happening when you shake the jar - don’t worry! This means you’re almost there. Just keep shaking and before long, you’ll end up with butter!