As a child I was never a fan of peanut butter; my three siblings and I often slathered our jellies and jams, (me raspberry, the others preferred grape), atop softened cream cheese, yum! We never had much desire for white bread, as I recall. Most often we ate Jewish rye with poppy seeds, a dark pumpernickel or various crusty breads, fresh breads with character, with warm crusts that cracked when you bit down, not any kind of puffy, weak, sponge-like breads sold at grocery stories today! But, cream cheese was the glue, instead of peanut butter.
maybe too, our pantry was not stocked with peanut butter because of its high fat content. (Although, cream cheese is just a bit lower.) Calories mattered a lot in our household, although we never talked about it. My mother was endlessly on a diet, since thin was king. 200 calories for two tablespoon of peanut butter, she might have wanted to ingest those calories from another direction. She just about said something like that when she talked ( in a letter I discovered after she passed) about how much, after going to a diet camp, and eating cottage cheese, jello and black coffee, that she wished she could gobble down a yummy steak! (More about my childhood, mother, and cooking adventures in my new book–Nourished: A Memoir of Cooking and the Arts.)
But back to my main recipe — buttery peanut butter biscuits. Still, cream cheese rocks for me because these crumbly tasty biscuits rise another notch of deliciousness when they are coated with that tangy white spread. And warmed slightly they taste marvelous, with additional butter on them or just plain. Their crumbly nature makes you want to eat several of them in one sitting. I believe they are unique to both categories– savory and sweet; their crumbs fall on both sides of the aisle!
Share with me what kind of biscuits you prefer– plain, simple with cheese, herbs, or what other ingredients do you favor for a unique biscuit? And, let me know if you’re a fan of peanut butter? A question: have you used lard, yes lard, in biscuits or pie crusts or any of your baking adventures? I haven’t yet, but I’m planning to since I just purchased a pack! Maybe these biscuits might favor a sprinkling of sea salt on top? Or really, to go over-the-top, try one or two chocolate bits pressed atop each biscuit after they bake! This creative idea I will certainly try!
BUTTERY PEANUT BUTTER BISCUITS 9 Biscuits
1/2 cup melted butter – salted or unsalted – I prefer salted butter, but use whatever you have on hand. If using salted butter, stay with 1/4 tsp salt. If unsalted, use 1/2 tsp salt.
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream or whole milk, plus 1 Tbsp – room temperature
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon ( optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Preheat oven to 450. In a 8 x 8 inch baking pan, line with aluminum foil, pressing well into all corners, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl which you are able to use in a microwave, melt the butter on high for about 50 seconds. Add the peanut butter and heat for 10 seconds. Stir and cool slightly for a few minutes until the mixture is well-combined and smooth. Pour into the prepared square pan and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, if using. Add the cream or milk slowly, and the vanilla until a slightly sticky dough forms. It will be rather loose, which is good. Knead this blob for only 30 seconds or so. If very sticky, pat your hands with a bit of flour. Since milk is thinner than cream you may need a bit less than one cup of milk, if using. Maybe leave out the last tablespoon.
In a gingerly manner, with your finger tips, pat medium size globs of dough evenly and rather flat, on top of the melted butter and peanut butter. Get into all the corners, and don’t worry if bits of the buttery liquid on the bottom pops through the dough! This step will take a few minutes.
With a pizza cutter or a slightly dull knife, gently cut or slide through the dough with either cutting instrument into 9 squares. Don’t go through to the aluminum foil. Do this process once or twice. The markings need not be too strong; it will be just enough so you can do more once they are baked.
Bake 16-17 minutes until the biscuits are just lightly brown, and watch them closely since in such a hot oven, they may easily burn.
Let the biscuits cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle on a tiny amount of salt, if desired. Remove to a cooling rack, and let the biscuits cool til warm. Now, use a knife with more pressure to separate each biscuit, or just pull them gently apart with your fingers. Serve plain, or with jam or cream cheese,or both! Honey is an excellent topping too! The biscuits reheat very well in a microwave. Fresh is best, but they freeze well for several weeks, or a month or two.
TIPS AND TWEAKS:
for the sugar, try half light brown sugar and half white sugar, packed down.
Five- ten minutes after you remove the biscuits from the oven, baste them with an additional 2 Tbsp of melted butter.
To make your biscuits lean more toward the sweet side, poke 2-3 chocolate chips on top of the 9 biscuits, or for a less sweet addition, but quite unique, try raisins, nuts, or dried cranberries cut in half. Or still leaning to a sweeter taste, sprinkle on top of the chocolate covered biscuits, a hefty tablespoon or two of sugar, divided among the nine pieces.
If you want a more savory taste to the biscuits, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with a half teaspoon or more of smoked paprika. Sprinkle this mixture on top before you bake them! yum.
Furthermore, if you wish to see a picture of the finished biscuits, check out my Facebook page!
I welcome your comments!