Such a lovely prelude to summer weather today. My kids cheeks were as red as the summer cherries and seeing them able to run around with one layer of clothing while puffing away trying to catch their breath and sweat droplets on their little noses made it a very good and active day.
I used to hate the heat in Malaysia but after almost 8 years in the USA, I find myself complaining less and less of the scorching sun when summer comes and for my hometown visits of one or two months every 2 years in Malaysia, I gladly accept the heat there. Despite being hot, we are free to roam around in light clothing with the occasional enjoyment of the nearby beaches and plenty of shopping areas with air conditioning. Even the toxin contents in my body is lesser due to the sweat!
I made these biscuits early this morning for the monthly dinner potluck cum meeting at Missy E's school. Nothing difficult about it and the ingredients are very simple. When I first came to USA, I always got mixed up with the difference of names and spellings for words used in the American vocabulary as compared to the English system, of which most Malaysians are brought up learning. Till today, I still occasionally fumble on what is chips and biscuits. Chips and biscuits in England are called fries and cookies in USA. I think this type of biscuit is similar to the English scones.
I only know the pairing of biscuits with fried chicken in the melting pot character of the American cooking. And so I assume that most of the time, they are made plain or savory in taste. I added dried oregano and grated Monterey Jack cheese with a little sugar added to the dough itself, giving it a slight sweetness to the overall aromatic and crispy crust with dry and light texture in the inside. Any types of dried herbs or spices can be substituted and the sugar may be omitted wholly. I left it out for the whole day and they still tasted crispy and of course, more nicer to eat if it is warm. I made them particularly smaller than the usual biscuit sizes as I wasn't sure how much this recipe yields in the first attempt. The golden brown on the top crust was egg wash only, of which I applied twice, before and during the baking and if a lighter version is preferred, add some milk to the egg wash. A fluted round cutter makes a nicer shape and make sure that the dough is at least 1/2 inch thick before the cutting so that the biscuits puff up nicely in the oven.
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold but malleable
2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
3/4 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup grated cheese
1)Preheat oven to 400F. Line large cookie pan with parchment paper.
2)Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Whisk in the sugar. Sprinkle the oregano into the flour mixture.
3)Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter them onto the flour mixture. Using your fingers as in making short crust pastry, coat the butter into the flour till resembles soft crumbs. Work fast and the crumbs must always be cold and not mushy.
4)Pour the milk into the flour and butter mixture. Sprinkle the grated cheese all over. Using a spatula, gather the flour and mix roughly with the milk to make a rough dough.
5)Take the dough out onto a floured surface and push it down with your knuckles into a disk, around 1/2 inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter with size of your choice and I used a 2 inch size. Use up all the dough and place the cut out biscuit dough onto the pan, 1 inch apart.
6)Brush with egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 mins, when the top starts to brown. Remove and cool on rack.
Makes : 14 to 16 (2inch sizes)