Welcome to my brand-new blog series wherein I will combine my two favorite activities: cooking and reading. First up: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
I had the great good fortune to be able to travel to New York for SCBWI's (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) annual Winter conference this year. New York was amazing. I ate incredible food (momofuku noodle bar, Otto, and PRUNE, where I met one of my writing/life heroes, Gabrielle Hamilton, and ate the best meal of my life), spent time in some of the best museums in the world, and got to hang out with my best friend. And that's even before the conference!
Kami Garcia's keynote speech inspired me to go back and re-read Beautiful Creatures. I really liked nice-guy hero Ethan Wate, but I fell in love with the town of Gatlin. Gatlin's a character in and of itself, with secrets and details that make it come alive. I was also struck by the enormous role food plays in the book. I mean Ethan is ALWAYS eating. And when the boy eats, he eats biscuits.
So, in honor of Amma's biscuits, I made some of my own this morning. Now to be fair, Kami Garcia and her characters might not approve of my use of sprouted whole wheat flour, but I woke up to an icy driveway this morning and had to make due with what was in the pantry. These biscuits turned out flaky and delicious, as tender as a hot summer day or a boy's first kiss from a Caster.
Beautiful Creatures Buttermilk Biscuits adapted from Alton Brown
- 2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, frozen
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Working quickly, grate the frozen butter directly into the bowl. Add the shortening and rub the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients using your hands, just like Amma, until the mixtures looks like crumbs. The colder the butter and shortening stay, the fluffier your biscuits will be.
Make a well in the center of the dough and pour in the buttermilk. Use your hands to stir together the dough. It will be very sticky. At this point, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and fold it over itself, adding more flour as needed, three or four times. Quickly and gently shape the dough into palm-sized mounds, taking care not to overwork the dough.
Place biscuits on a baking sheet, almost touching, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown. Serve with jam or gravy while reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.