Category Archives: Breakfast

Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning BunsIf I could change one thing about myself, I think I’d like to be a morning person. I really like mornings (especially the lazy variety), but I have such difficulty getting myself out of bed that I rarely enjoy them. It’s a whole horrible, eight-alarm ordeal on weekdays and I almost always sleep past 11 on the weekends, so I’m either a bleary-eyed mess or out like a light for the start of most days. But, on extremely rare occasions, I wake up early of my own volition—usually with the aid of jackhammers outside my window or the sun shining in my eyes—and I get to enjoy the morning, starting with making myself a nice breakfast.Nutella Morning BunsSometimes mixing flour, sugar, and butter is an act of self-care.

Exhibit A: An unfortunately-timed 6am wake-up call last Saturday was turned around when I realized I had time to make myself a Puff Pancake, my childhood favorite weekend breakfast.

Exhibit B: These Nutella Morning Buns, which I made the previous Saturday when my roommate’s cute pup had to air some early morning grievances. They helped change the trajectory of my day: I got to treat myself, and the batch is large enough that I got to share with eleven of my closest acquaintances! Most everyone loves a fresh pastry swirled with warm Nutella ❤Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsFor something so rustic and beautiful, Nutella Morning Buns are surprisingly simple to make and come together in a pretty reasonable amount of time. It takes me about two hours to make a batch from the time I decide that a soft, warm bun full of chocolate-hazelnut spread might be nice to the time I dust them with confectioner’s sugar and dig in.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsThe dough is very straightforward. It’s got all the usual suspects: flour, a little sugar, butter, milk, and an egg. It requires yeast, of course, but I use the instant stuff here, which simplifies the already simple process, making these buns incredibly approachable.

I’m not the sort of person who bestows wishes or blessings on people, but if I were, I think I’d say “May all your yeast doughs be approachable.” Is that weird? It’s probably weird. 🙂 Nutella Morning BunsIf there’s anything that’s intimidating about making Nutella Morning Buns, it’s probably shaping. Never fear though—it’s really simple and satisfying. Once your dough has risen for 40 minutes, punch it down and roll it into a large rectangle. Spread it with a thin layer of Nutella and then fold it like a letter, so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off the ends and slice the rest into a dozen 8×1” strips.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsWorking with one strip at a time, twist it up. Then cross the two ends over each other and tuck them into the hole that forms in the center. BOOM! Dough shaped!Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsRepeat with the rest of your strips and then let them rise a little longer. If some ends come untucked, just nudge ‘em back with your fingers before baking. Or don’t. These are the sort of buns that can take all sorts of manipulation and still look gorgeous when all is said and done. And even if they don’t, a swipe of melted butter and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar can cure all manner of ugly pastry.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsBut is there such a thing as ugly pastry when Nutella is involved? I don’t think so. Or if there is, nobody who tried one of these buns during testing found the time to tell me. Oh, and all the test batches were gone (GONE!) within 45 minutes of coming out of the oven, so I’ll just let that speak for itself.Nutella Morning BunsI’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have anything but a beautiful morning when these are around.Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
2/3 cup Nutella

For finishing:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with Nutella, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches. You may lose a bit of filling. This is normal.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place overnight racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brush warm buns with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving.

Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so. I’ve never had them last longer than 45 minutes out of the oven though.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning Buns

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Polenta Breakfast Bake

I rarely post on days that aren’t Wednesday or Friday, but I really wanted to get this recipe on here in time for Christmas. Consider this extra post a little gift from me to you.Polenta Breakfast BakeWe may not have done any holiday baking when I was a kid, but we still had plenty of Christmas food traditions. When I was growing up, my mom used to make a breakfast casserole every Christmas morning. While I was (and, honestly, continue to be) wary of any dish with “casserole” in the name, I made an exception for that one. Paired with Mom’s traditional all-citrus fruit salad,* it was impossible for even the pickiest of us to resist. It was so good that we didn’t complain when we were told we had to eat breakfast before opening our gifts. It was magic, I tell you.

*This is not a recipe—it’s literally just bite-sized pieces of navel orange and ruby red grapefruit with their membranes removed. Mix ‘em together in a bowl and chill overnight. Polenta Breakfast BakeNow, you may have noticed that I am speaking about my mom’s breakfast casserole in the past tense. That’s because she stopped making it about ten years ago, right about the time that my sisters and I started wanting more input in our holiday menu.

Another reason? Mom’s casserole was made with Bisquick. I have nothing personal against that mix—it’s responsible for every homemade pancake I ate as a child and I am forever grateful for its convenience—but I don’t use mixes these days.Polenta Breakfast BakeLong story short: today’s Polenta Breakfast Bake is an homage to the Christmas Morning Casserole of my childhood, minus the Bisquick, plus a creamy polenta base and some extra greens. It’s not my mom’s recipe, but it’s damn good.Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast BakeAlso, it’s naturally gluten-free (thanks, coarse ground cornmeal!). And people think you’re fancy when you say you made polenta anything, so there’s that.Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast BakeMy favorite thing about this recipe is that, like my mom’s, it doesn’t require any specific timetable. Flexibility is important when it comes to any holiday meal planning, but I am particularly opposed to any recipe that might require me to get up and start puttering around the kitchen when it’s still dark outside. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sleep > baking (and, um, cooking too).Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast BakeThis Polenta Breakfast Bake can be prepared morning-of, if you are an early bird, but I love that I can assemble it a day or two ahead and then just bake it for 25 minutes before serving. I have a hard time doing anything in the morning without the aid of coffee, but I can absolutely turn on the oven and bake a breakfast casserole for 25 minutes.Polenta Breakfast BakeHot from the oven, this Polenta Breakfast Bake will be a little hard to slice cleanly, so feel free to scoop it instead. I was able to slice the casserole pictured after letting it cool for about half an hour, but I’d be happy to eat this stuff in any shape (or lack thereof). Leftovers keep very well in the refrigerator and will slice & reheat like a freaking dream.Polenta Breakfast BakeOne last thing before I get to the recipe. Like all recipes on this site, I’ve made this Polenta Breakfast Bake to suit my own flavor preferences. I used breakfast sausage and cheddar cheese because those were prominent flavors in my mom’s recipe, but you can swap them for any meat and/or cheese you like in weights equal to those in the recipe. My only word of advice here is that if you choose to use bacon, remove it from the pan while you sauté the onion, garlic, and greens so that it doesn’t burn. Oh, and speaking of greens, feel free to leave ‘em out if you have picky eaters (or if breakfast vegetables just aren’t your thing).

That’s all a very long way of saying that you should take my favorite and make it yours ❤ Polenta Breakfast Bake
Looking for more holiday breakfasts? Check out these overnight Cinnamon Rolls, this Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}, and this whole round-up of breakfast time favorites!

Polenta Breakfast Bake
makes 8-12 servings

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk (preferably whole)
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
1 1/2 cups polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
8 ounces freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups), divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces raw breakfast sausage, removed from casings
1 medium white onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 ounces fresh greens, roughly chopped (I used a mix of baby spinach and baby kale)
4 large eggs
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (based on preference)

Grease a 9×13-inch pan or other large casserole dish (a broiler-safe one, if possible).

Make polenta. Bring water and milk to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, as milk can boil over dramatically without much notice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking very frequently for 25-30 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in 6 ounces (~1 1/2 cups) cheese, cayenne and dijon, followed by butter. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let sit 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add breakfast sausage and cook, breaking it up with the edge of a spatula, until browned (about 8-10 minutes). Add diced onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add about half the greens and let wilt. Add remaining greens and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Stir mixture into polenta.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Stir eggs into polenta mixture. Transfer everything to prepared pan. It may be covered and refrigerated at this point for up to 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 425F. Scatter remaining 2 ounces (~1/2 cup) of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until golden at the edges, and slightly puffed and a little jiggly in the center. For an extra golden top, broil for 1-2 minutes. If your dish is not broiler-safe, you can heat the oven to 475F with the casserole on the top rack. Watching it closely, let it cook 5-10 minutes, turning as needed, until cheese has browned in places.

Let casserole cool for a few minutes. Scoop or slice and serve. Casserole will slice like a dream once cooled.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cold slices reheat well in the microwave.

Leftovers may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Polenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast BakePolenta Breakfast Bake

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic Cinnamon RollsI have put a lot of sweet rolls on this blog, but have somehow never posted a recipe for classic cinnamon rolls. Consider that oversight rectified. And in time for holiday breakfast season, no less.Classic Cinnamon RollsNow, I know there are a gazillion cinnamon roll recipes out there. You probably have one you love. Why take a chance and switch it up? What makes these cinnamon rolls special?Classic Cinnamon RollsWell, I like to think *all* cinnamon rolls are special. I have never been disappointed to be offered a cinnamon roll in all my 33.5 years. Not once. Not even by the one I ate at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut at 8am that one time eleven years ago.

(Don’t ask me why I remember what I ordered at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut eleven years ago because I honestly don’t know. It’s just garbage taking up space in my brain and now it’s taking up space in yours.)Classic Cinnamon RollsBut, um, back to these cinnamon rolls, which are infinitely better than anything you could possibly find at a fast food restaurant in New England. They’re made with the same dough I use for my kolaches. It’s enriched with eggs, whole milk, butter, and sour cream, so you know it’s good. It produces cinnamon rolls that are super soft, tender, and rich.Classic Cinnamon RollsThis dough works best with an overnight chill in the fridge. Immediately after mixing, it’s very soft and sticky—very frustrating to roll. After a chill however, the butter has set up enough that the dough rolls without sticking, making it ideal for slathering with brown sugar-cinnamon filling. This overnight method is also the ideal way to get scratch-made cinnamon rolls on the breakfast table without having to get up and start baking when it’s still dark outside. Sleep > baking.Classic Cinnamon RollsOnce the dough has been filled, roll it into a cylinder and slice it into pieces.Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsLet them rise and bake them until they’re brown.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnd then slather them with a thin coat of cream cheese frosting. Or double the recipe for a thick coat. Whatever floats your cinnamon roll boat. <—hey, that rhymes.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnyway, you don’t need me to talk you into wanting fresh cinnamon rolls (unless you hate them like my sister…weirdo). Take some time to make a batch this holiday season, and you might be surprised to find they are as pleasurable to bake as they are to eat.Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

In the morning, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, line the bottom with foil, and butter again. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use an offset icing spatula to spread filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let rolls cool 5-10 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and lighter in color. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the frosting over the tops of the rolls and use an offset icing spatula to spread it into a thin layer over all the rolls.

Slice and serve.

Cinnamon Rolls are best the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
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Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet RollsYou won’t believe the intense pineapple flavor of these Pineapple Sweet Rolls! Or maybe you will—I mean, they have four doses of the stuff.

These are for serious pineapple lovers only. I absolutely count myself as one and yet, somehow, these rolls were something I didn’t know I wanted.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsBut then a grocery store display of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls caught my eye and I had a craving for pineapple sweet bread. Instead of purchasing a package of rolls though, my “baker brain” took over and I went home to make a buttery, sweet pastry dough with pineapple juice.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThat went so well that I wrapped it around a layer of soft crushed pineapple filling…Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet Rollssliced it into rolls and let them rise…Pineapple Sweet Rollsbefore baking them until golden.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsThen I topped them with a simple pineapple icing…Pineapple Sweet Rollsand sprinkled them with sparkly, sugar-coated dried pineapple.Pineapple Sweet RollsPineapple Sweet RollsAnd then I had the gall to put them on the internet in the middle of a work day so you’d have a craving, too.Pineapple Sweet RollsSorry, not sorry.Pineapple Sweet Rolls

Pineapple Sweet Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Filling:
16 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Icing:
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice (reserved from making filling)

Sparkling Pineapple Garnish:
1/3 cup chopped unsweetened dried pineapple (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I use turbinado)

Make the filling. Set a sieve over a mixing bowl. Pour canned crushed pineapple into the sieve and use a spoon to press out excess juice. Set juice aside.

Combine pineapple, sugar, ginger, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour). Filling may be made up to a day in advance.

Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until they reach 115F and are hot to the touch. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by pineapple juice and beaten eggs. Stir in remaining flour in 2 tablespoon installments, just until a smooth, soft dough forms. Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-6 minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the pan with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let rolls cool for 10 minutes while you make the icing and garnish. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. Add more pineapple juice by the teaspoon, up to 3 teaspoons (aka 1 tablespoon) until desired texture is achieved.

For the garnish, toss chopped dried pineapple with coarse sugar until well-combined and sparkly.

Pour/spread icing over warm rolls. Top with garnish. Serve immediately. Leftover rolls will keep for about a day, covered at room temperature. Icing will sink in over time.
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Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate GravyI know what you’re thinking. “Chocolate…gravy? GROSS.”

But hear me out. I have hated almost every gravy I’ve ever encountered, if I was even willing to take a bite in the first place. I’m not generally opposed to sauces, but the…gloppiness…of the cream gravies of my Texan childhood pretty much ruined them for me, with one notable exception: Chocolate Gravy.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

If you’ve never heard of such a thing, imagine a thin, flour-thickened chocolate pudding that you spoon over Buttermilk Biscuits, preferably made by your old Texan grandma. You know, the one who lets you stay up late watching The Golden Girls and always has chocolate cake on the counter (and lets you slice it without supervision, so you’re really sugared-up when you go back to your parents’ house).Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

I had one of those grandmas. Her name was Dorothy, but I called her Nonnie, and she was the very best. She let my little sister and I eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch and frozen pizza for dinner on Friday nights (followed up by the aforementioned chocolate cake), but Sunday mornings were sacred.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

You see, my dad went to her house for breakfast on Sundays, so she’d pull out all the stops. Even when she was very old and had arthritic hands, she would make sausage patties, eggs fried in bacon grease, sliced tomatoes, and biscuits & gravy. They’d eat breakfast and she’d play with our dog, Lily, while my dad took one of his signature twenty-minute snoozes in the recliner. On the rare occasion that my sisters and I were allowed to skip church and join in on Sunday breakfast at Nonnie’s, she’d add Chocolate Gravy to the menu, just because she loved us.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

I’ve been thinking about Nonnie a lot lately. Maybe it’s because what would have been her 100th birthday is coming soon or because she was an amazing improvisational baker or because today marks eleven years living in NYC. Or maybe just because she was a badass lady. Whatever the reason, I’ve been craving Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy lately. And so, here we are.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate GravyButtermilk Biscuits & Chocolate GravyButtermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

This is not Nonnie’s recipe—as far as I know, she never wrote anything down. Instead, it’s the product of a little trial and error and some taste memory from twenty years ago. I do know that the chocolate gravy I ate as a child was made with the Hershey’s cocoa that came in a can, but as I have never seen that in NYC, I recommend using whatever unsweetened cocoa you like. Dutch process cocoa will make for a deeper chocolate flavor, but natural unsweetened yields the lighter flavor I remember.Buttermilk BiscuitsButtermilk BiscuitsButtermilk Biscuits

As for the biscuits, this recipe is a slight departure from my previous all-time best biscuit recipe. Both are delicious, but I am currently partial to this fluffier, slightly more tender version. Buttermilk BiscuitsButtermilk BiscuitsButtermilk BiscuitsButtermilk BiscuitsThese buttermilk biscuits are made with a touch of cornstarch to mimic the tenderness of cake flour. I also added a smidge more flour and buttermilk, yielding a slightly softer dough. In addition, I’ve taken out the beat-with-a-rolling-pin step, and chosen to bake the biscuits close together on a parchment-lined baking sheet instead of packed into a casserole dish. Regardless of which biscuit recipe you choose though, you’re going to love them drizzled (or smothered) with Chocolate Gravy.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

This weekend, do like Nonnie. Make some Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy for someone you love.Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

Buttermilk Biscuits
makes about 12 biscuits

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4-1 cup buttermilk,* very cold
Chocolate Gravy, for serving (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Cut your stick of butter into two 4 tablespoon pieces. Cut one piece into four batons, and cut the other into very thin pats. Refrigerate until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add chilled butter. Using your fingertips (not your palms!) or a pastry blender, cut cold butter into flour mixture until it is roughly the size of peas.

Pour in 3/4 cup cold buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. If it seems dry, add more buttermilk by the tablespoon.

Turn dough (and any unincorporated flour bits) out onto a floured surface. Flour your fingertips and pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold dough in half, and turn one quarter turn. Pat out until it is 1/2-inch thick again. Repeat folding/quarter-turning/patting out until you have done it four times total. Re-flour your surface as necessary.

Cut dough with a biscuit cutter or sharp knife (not serrated). Cut directly down—do not twist. Place biscuits close together in your prepared pan. Pat biscuit dough scraps into a cohesive piece, and cut until you have used all your dough.

Brush biscuits with extra buttermilk.

Bake biscuits for 14-15 minutes, until they have risen and are starting to brown. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Serve with Chocolate Gravy, if desired.

Biscuits are best the day they are made, but can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Note:

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, use this alternative. Pour 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) in a liquid measuring cup. Pour regular milk up to the 1-cup mark. Let sit 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Stir mixture before proceeding with the recipe.

Chocolate Gravy
makes about 2 cups

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, and salt into a 4-quart pot. Gradually whisk in milk. Place pot over medium heat and whisk continuously until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer to a gravy boat or other serving vessel. Serve over split Buttermilk Biscuits. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat before serving.

Buttermilk Biscuits & Chocolate GravyButtermilk Biscuits