It seems to me that winter gives you the space to be melancholy. More than any other season. Maybe it's all the darkness, these short days. The sadness moves in and sits under the surface, underneath those bare branches. I think it also brings a certain kind of mindfulness. It's easy to find beauty in other seasons. Winter forces you to pay attention. To look for good things. Firewood, all piled up. Smoke scented air. Walks in the chill. These two - the sadness and the mindfulness, they seem to temper each other.
It's a season of baking, too. That pull to be in the kitchen, the warmest part of the house. It has me baking a lot of biscuits. Biscuit making is all about technique. Grating your butter is the easiest way to make sure it stays cold. I like it a lot better than cutting it in with a knife and fork. I've learned to knead the dough a few more times that I think I should - I was scared of tough biscuits, but you need to work the gluten a bit so they hold together well, and the folding gives you the layers everyone wants in a biscuit. Be sure to bake until your tops are well golden. Eat em' warm, and enjoy some of that winter beauty.
Black Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups all purpose flour, (white lily if you can get it.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cold salted butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400.
Grate butter into a small bowl with large side of a cheese grater. Stick in the freezer.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Add in butter and cut it in with a fork. Pour in buttermilk and stir until dough comes together in a shaggy dough. Knead a 5-7 times in the bowl, then turn out on a floured work surface. Pat dough down to 1/4 inch thick, then fold over and pat down again. Fold over once again, then cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter or floured glass.
Place biscuits side by side in a cast iron skillet. Top with more black pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.