Having friends over for brunch is one of my favorite ways to entertain. I don't feel pressured to make fancy food and I don't fall asleep during the party. And if brunch is followed by a rocking game of Guitar Hero III, well, even better! In case you're wondering, I ROCK!
Ahem. Back to brunch food.
I like to keep it simple, so we had pretty standard fare: eggs baked with gruyere and onion fresh chives from our CSA, fried green tomatoes also from our CSA, upside down cranberry ginger cake made using this recipe, biscuits, cooked apples, and what we affectionately call "half-eaten" banana bread (a lovely chocolate-chip banana bread that our guests brought and apologized for taste-testing--who can blame them?).
Two recipes are classics: cooked apples from Slenderella and biscuits from Kitchen Tested Recipes. The apple recipe was simple and just okay, so I won't bore you with the details. But I am providing the biscuit recipe below because they're worth making. I made no ingredient substitutions in this recipe but because I don't have a stand mixer (someday, someday) I just beat everything by hand and it turned out just fine. As a matter of fact, I imagine the only reason this includes mixer instructions is because it's in a Mixmaster cookbook because I've always read that one should be careful not to overmix biscuits.
Baking Powder Biscuits
Adapted from Kitchen Tested Recipes: By the Home Economists of the Famous Sunbeam Mixmaster, 1933. The one reason I hesitated to post this is because it calls for 4 teaspoons of baking powder. If you use the standard stuff you buy in the grocery store the flavor might be off because you will taste the aluminum in it. I highly recommend for your tastebuds and your health that you buy non-aluminum baking powder like this one. I'm placing my preparing-for-holiday-baking order with King Arthur soon so if you know me in real life and want me to order some for you, I will.
I think you could use butter instead of shortening, or try a shortening without trans-fats like this one.
Also, I suggest sifting the flour before measuring. I prefer recipes that list ingredients by weight but since most of them don't I've found that sifting, or at least stirring the flour and lightly scooping it into the measuring cup, is more likely to get you the right amount of flour.
2 cups flour (sift before measuring)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs shortening
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl. Mix on low for one minute or whisk together. Cut shortening to small pieces, then mix on medium for 3 minutes (or blend by hand with a pastry blender). Add 1/2 of the milk, working only enough to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the milk and mix.
Turn out on a floured board, pat or roll about 3/4 inch thick, and cut with biscuit cutter.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450.