By Bread Alone

Five of our favorite recipes for biscuits, muffins and more.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter in freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Mix dry ingredients and blend well. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients. Toss to coat evenly. Add buttermilk and mix until the dough just begins to come together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll ½ thick into a rectangle. Fold sides toward the center, so that the dough is divided into thirds. Repeat three more times.

Cut into rounds or squares. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Makes one dozen biscuits. Click here to top with sausage gravy.

Sausage and Pecan Shortbread Muffins

1 package high-quality cornbread mix
1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped
4 breakfast sausage links, cooked and crumbled or chopped

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pecans until golden. Fry sausage, and chop when slightly cooled. Prepare mix according to instructions, fold in sausage and pecans, and pour into a greased muffin tin. Bake according to mix instructions.

Walnut, Golden Raisin and Pistachio Bread

1 1⁄2 ounces yeast
1 1⁄2 ounces sugar
1 1⁄4 pint skim milk
1 ounce butter
1 pound white flour
2 pounds whole-wheat flour
6 ounces raisins
6 ounces walnuts
6 ounces pistachios
2 ounces salt

Warm the milk and add to the yeast and sugar. Let rest for 10 minutes, until proofed. Melt the butter with the salt. Mix the flour in a mixer with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture and butter, and mix in the mixer until a dough forms. Place in a covered bowl in a warm spot for one hour—the dough won’t rise so much as it will lighten. Separate the dough into three dough balls, and gently fold in the raisins and nuts . Shape into loaves. Place on a lightly greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with Stilton cheese.

Croissant Bread Pudding with Brandy Crème Anglaise

6 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ cups milk
¾ cup cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 croissants (1-2 days old)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Prepare a water bath by filling a larger baking pan halfway with water and placing it in the oven to preheat. 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, salt and sugar until combined. Add remaining ingredients except the croissants and whisk until combined. 

Slice croissants in half lengthwise. Fill pan with croissants up to the edge. Fill in any gaps with partial pieces. Pour egg mixture over the bread and let stand for one hour, occasionally pressing the bread down into the mixture. Add more croissants if necessary. 

Loosely cover pan with foil; do not let the foil touch the top of the pudding. Set pan in the water bath and bake for about 1 hour 45 minutes, or until set. Remove foil for last 10 minutes of baking to brown the top. 

For the brandy crème anglaise: 
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brandy

Pour the milk into a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of water. Cut open the

vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the insides into the pan, then add the bean pod. Scald the milk by heating the water over medium high heat just until the milk begins to boil. Let milk cool to room temperature. 

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract until combined. Pour scalded milk into yolk mixture and whisk to combine. 

Pour mixture back into double boiler and heat to 185 degrees (test temperature with a candy or meat thermometer). Remove from heat, remove vanilla bean pod and mix in the brandy. Let cool briefly, and serve over the bread pudding.

Serves 6-8

Jalapeño Jack Cornbread

¾  cup cornmeal
1 ¼ cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ cup butter
1 cup shredded jalapeño jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients (except for the butter). Melt the butter. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, then add the melted butter. Fold in the cheese. Bake at 400 degrees in your favorite pan (cast iron skillet, loaf pan, muffin tin) for 10 to12 minutes. 

Serves 5

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