Category Archives: Bread & Rolls

Buttermilk biscuits


Here are my biscuits, made with the first real buttermilk I’ve ever had.

My friend Jenn gave me buttermilk the other day. It’s the first real buttermilk I’ve ever had. I confess, I didn’t know what to do with it, so I did the obvious: I made biscuits.

They were amazing.

When Greg tasted them, all he said was, “They taste like butter.” Then he entered them into his diet app on his iPad and started pressuring me to give the rest away. So, they are filled with calories. But so, so, so delicious.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Put all the ingredients except the buttermilk into a food processor. Process until the butter is cut into the flour, creating a sand-like consistency. Add the buttermilk and stir.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until very lightly browned.


Pumpkin dinner rolls

I found this recipe (more or less) in Taste of Home magazine. It’s easy and great for the fall and winter, when we have a lot of pumpkin on our hands. The original recipe made twice as much, but there’s no reason for me to make 2 dozen rolls for G. and I. If you want to double it, double all the ingredients except the egg.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

1/4 ounce active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup honey
6 ounces mashed, cooked pumpkin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
poppy seeds or pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) to decorate

I combine all the ingredients in a bread machine on the dough cycle and then go to step 3. If you don’t have a bread machine:

  1. In a bowl, mix yeast, salt, nutmeg and 3 cups flour. In a saucepan, heat milk, butter and honey to 120-130 degrees. Add to the dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Add squash; beat on high 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 24 balls.
  4. Divide between two greased 9-in. round baking pans.
  5. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Brush roll tops with beaten egg; sprinkle with seeds. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil during the last 5-7 minutes if needed to prevent over-browning. Remove from pans to wire racks.

Applesauce muffins

I made applesauce muffins with a great recipe from Homestead Cook.

I made applesauce muffins with a great recipe from Farmstead Chef.

Lisa Kivirist, who runs Inn Serendipity in Wisconsin, is a great baker. Her zucchini cake is legend in our family, and I’ve been working my way through her latest cookbook and have loved almost everything I’ve tried. The pumpkin peanut butter bread wasn’t as delightful as some of the other recipes, but overall, I’d say it’s a five-star effort.

I made batch of applesauce muffins a few weeks ago and then made a second batch as soon as the first was gone. In the second one, I substituted bits of dried apple for the raisins, and it was equally as delicious. If you stick with raisins, I suggest soaking them for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water before you use them to plump them up and make them tender. I like the texture better that way, although it’s completely a personal preference.

Applesauce Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (or chopped, dried apples)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, allspice and baking soda. Stir in the raisins or chopped apple.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. It will nearly fill them.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes.

Turkey and cheese biscuits

These biscuits are quick and easy to make with leftover turkey and cheese.

These biscuits are quick and easy to make with leftover turkey and cheese.

I have been lax about posting lately, in part because I am dancing more and cooking less. Dancing more is a good thing. Cooking less is … not ideal. But then again, I’m cooking enough that G. and I aren’t going hungry.

The recipe in this post is one that you can make even when you are very busy, as long as you have some leftover turkey. For me, it was a way of using a last bit of turkey after I tired of sandwiches. The biscuits are kind of like a turkey and cheese sandwich, but with the bread all around. They feel like a treat. After all, who doesn’t love biscuits? They are complete comfort food.

I was inspired by this month’s edition of Taste of Home, which has a nice array of both cut and drop biscuits. If you are wondering which way to go, drop biscuits are faster.

Turkey and Asiago Cheese Biscuits

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut in lumps
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
1 cup turkey, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

Put the flour and butter in a food processor and run chop until the butter is cut into small grains. Pour the flour and butter mixture into a bowl. Add the milk, baking powder, salt and herbs and stir until a dough starts to form. Add the turkey and cheese and continue to stir until all the ingredients are incorporated into the dough.

Drop the dough onto the baking sheet in 1/4-cup balls. The dough will make about 15 biscuits.

Bake the biscuits for about 25 minutes. They are great when they are warm, but you can store them in the refrigerator and reheat them (briefly) in the microwave. They are good for every meal and snacks.

Winter squash spice muffins from one of my favorite bakers


These spiced winter squash muffins from Lisa Kivirist’s “Farmstead Chef” are the best I’ve made in a while.

Every once in a while, being a journalist is really cool. About two months ago, I got to interview Lisa Kivirist, who owns an inn in Wisconsin. She was helping lobby for legislation that would allow home cooks and farmers to sell small amounts of baked goods without jumping through the hoops to get a commercial food preparation license.

I got her name from a farm organization, started talking to her and realized that she was THE Lisa Kivirist, who invented my beloved (and G.’s beloved) zucchini cake.

Here’s how much we love that cake: I had just spent a day covering first lady Michelle Obama during her visit to Wisconsin. G. was not impressed. I told him I had talked to Lisa, and he was so excited.

“Did you tell her Jeffrey has made three of them?” he asked.

Jeffrey is G.’s nephew, and a new convert to the zucchini cake brotherhood. I failed to tell Lisa about him. I will rectify that next time.

Anyway, we got talking, and it turns out that Lisa recently published a new cookbook. I bought a copy. (Of course I did; I’m a cookbook addict.)

It took me a while to get around to sending my check, so the book only arrived recently. I dove right in and made Lisa’s winter squash spice muffins, which are one of the most popular things she serves at her bed and breakfast.

G. was in heaven! I made them right before we took off for a dance event, so we’d dance for a few hours, eat a muffin and then go back and dance more. We figured the calories don’t count that way. But even if they did, we’d still eat the muffins. A lot of them.


This is a breakfast that makes G. very happy.

Lisa Kivirist’s Winter Squash Spice Muffins
2 eggs
1 cup winter squash puree (I use fresh pumpkin.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Grease 12 standard muffin cups. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs, squash and butter in a big bowl.

Add spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and flour. Stir well.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups until they are almost full. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cranberry and Grand Marnier muffins

This will be my last blog post from Chicago. We are unhooking my Internet connection today and returning the equipment. The movers come this week.

I made muffins this morning to use the last of my butter and sugar. As you know, I’ve been trying for weeks to use up the food in my freezer and cabinets so that I would have less to move. I’ve gotten the volume down a lot, but I still have an interesting array of supplies. This morning, I found frozen cranberries, dried orange peel and Grand Marnier to use in my moving muffins.

Cranberry and Grand Marnier Muffins

6 ounces all-purpose flour
2 ounces whole wheat flour
4 ounces sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick butter (4 ounces)
2 eggs
8 ounces milk
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 cup frozen cranberries

Combine the dried orange peel and milk in a microwave-safe cup. Heat the milk for about one minute so that it is warm. Let the milk sit for 10 minutes or so, so that the orange peel steeps.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl.

Melt the butter. Beat in the eggs. Pour the milk through a strainer to remove the orange peel. Beat the milk into the butter and eggs. Add the Grand Marnier.

Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is smooth and not lumpy. I do this by hand to avoid over-mixing. Add the cranberries and stir them in.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes. My oven in Chicago runs hot, so you might have to go a bit longer.

This makes a dozen muffins.


Oatmeal and cranberry muffins

Oatmeal muffin

This oatmeal muffin is amazing coming out of the oven. It begins to stiffen quickly though, so eat it fast.

I’m still wrapped up in my latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated. I recently made oatmeal and cranberry muffins, which are basically Cook’s muffins, minus a crumb topping and with dried cranberries. We have lots of dried cranberries at our house. I think G. bought 10 pounds at the cranberry festival this year.

The most significant thing about this muffin recipe is that you make your own oat flour. Don’t fret, it’s not hard, and it ensures freshness and a richer flavor than you’d get with preprocessed flour.

One word before I pass on the recipe: These muffins were amazing when they came out of the oven. G. and I could barely contain ourselves. But, they start to go stale rapidly. So make them when you have a crowd or freeze the ones you don’t eat and thaw them as needed.

Oatmeal and Cranberry Muffins

2 tablespoons butter, plus 6 tablespoons melted
6 ounces rolled oats
8 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 1/3 ounces brown sugar
1 3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup dried cranberries

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Put the oats in the pan, stir and toast them. When they are ready, they will smell like popcorn. This takes about 5 to 8 minutes.

Put the oats in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. You will end up with a fine oat flour. Combine it with the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Stir the 6 tablespoons of butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Do not over beat or you will get air pockets in your muffins.

Fold half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Make sure there are no lumps. Then fold in the second half of the flour mixture. Set the batter aside for 20 minutes. This is important because it allows the oat flour to absorb moisture and the batter to thicken.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour your muffin tin.

Stir the dried cranberries into the batter. Then scoop the batter into the muffin tin. Cook’s said the recipe makes 12 muffins. It made 18 for me, but mine were small.

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted in them should come out clean. Eat them soon. Not that this is a chore. You’ll want to.