Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freezer Biscuits

I'm always looking for ideas to help speed up dinner preparation, and have started experimenting with make ahead (or freeze and bake) recipes. On a recent trip home to visit my parents, I discovered my mom's copy of The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, from Cook's Illustrated. All the Cook's Illustrated recipes I've tried have turned out very well (not surprising, with all the testing they do), so I asked to borrow the cookbook and give some of the recipes a try. She also loaned me her Oprah Magazine Cookbook (thanks, Mom!).

These biscuits are very easy to prepare, especially if you use my tip for cutting them into squares (see below). I baked some right away and froze the rest. I have to be honest -I wasn't wowed by the batch I baked right away. The batch I froze and baked tonight turned out much, much better. I had a pot roast in the crockpot and put these in the oven when I got home from work - a wonderful, fast, and easy dinner for the first cold evening of fall. Keep in mind - these are cream biscuits, not the flaky type, but they are much better than purchased freezer biscuits!

Freezer Biscuits
6 cups (30 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups heavy cream

Line baking sheet with parchment paper (may need 2 baking sheets); set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until a dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead dough briefly until smooth, about 1 minute, adding extra flour if necessary (if dough is too sticky).

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle (or square). Cut biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter. (Note: I like to form the dough into a square and cut square biscuits using a butter knife or pizza cutter - this eliminates scraps and the need to re-work the dough). Lay biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart. If using a round cutter, gather scraps and re-knead them briefly to combine, then pat dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle and cut more biscuits; process can be repeated a third time. Yield: about 24 biscuits, depending on size and shape.

To bake and serve immediately: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After cutting biscuits, spread them out over 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake biscuits one sheet at a time, 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

- OR -

To freeze: Wrap the baking sheet tightly with greased plastic wrap (or ungreased press-n-seal) and freeze until biscuits are solid, about 6 hours. Transfer frozen biscuits to a large ziplock freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month.

When ready to bake biscuits, do not thaw. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes: You may bake as few or as many biscuits at a time as you wish. Regardless of how many you bake, make sure they are spaced 2 inches apart, and if using more than one baking sheet, bake only one sheet at a time.

Guidelines for additions:
mild herbs - add 6 tbsp. (cilantro, parsley, chives, dill, etc.)
hearty herbs - add 3 tbsp. (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc. )
cheese - 6 oz. shredded or cubed (no larger than 1/4-inch pieces)
Add additions to the flour mixture, if using.

- Adapted from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe


Jaime said...

you should try dorie's apple cheddar scones from TWD :) i loved them and they freeze well. i've added a new tag in my blog if you're interested.... for things that "freeze well" (probably not as good as the cook's illustrated book though)

McKenzie said...


I'll definitely try dorie's apple cheddar scones - that is a great idea! I like the new "freeze well" tag idea, too. When I get enough freezer-friendly recipes, I'll create a tag for that too!

Bethany said...

I have a challenge for you. Actually it is a challenge for me daily since having Brody. I am avoiding dairy products as Brody seems to have an allergy to them for the time being. I need some meal ideas that avoid dairy products. Let me know if you come up with something. Right now I am eating salads (watch the type of dressing), fruit, and meat. Thanks!!

McKenzie said...

Oh no, sorry to hear you can't eat dairy right now! I created a new "dairy free" tag - but until today, I didn't realize how many things I make that include dairy products! I'll definitely get to work on some ideas and links for you. I hope Brody outgrows the dairy allergy!

Megan said...


Have you tried substituting soy milk or rice milk for regular milk? It is dairy free and can replace milk in any recipe and tastes great on cereal. There are also MANY dairy-free cheeses, yogurts, and puddings made with soy instead of dairy. You can also substitute soft tofu for eggs in baking recipes. If you do eat eggs or butter, I would recommend re-introducing it slowly into your diet and I would try cage free, grass fed, organic eggs and organic butter. These products have not been pasteurized or homogenized thus they do not contain free radicals that will irritate you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, people who have allergies to dairy often have an enzyme deficiency. You can buy a supplement online or in a health food store that contains LACTASE. Lactase is the enzyme that digests dairy. Take one or two with a meal that contains dairy and see if you notice a significant difference. I'm sure you will!

Hope this helped. I can't wait to see McKenzie's new dairy free or substituted recipes!

Erin said...

Oh, these look very yummy!

McKenzie said...

Thank you Erin!