I recently gifted myself this book about apples. Now, I suppose there are a kazillion books about apples out there in Biblioland, but this one struck me as really interesting, as most of the orchards and the places that the author writes about are within spitting distance of our little grey cottage. Amy Traverso writes a book ABOUT apples and then hits us with recipes that have apples, cider, cider vinegar, dried apples, apple juice as main ingredients or as complements to other mains. It's an awesome book with a lot of interesting tidbits about heritage apples, apple genetics and cultivation, stories about regional orchardists and the apples they grow, interviews with horticulturists, brewers, bakers, and backyard hobbyists. It was such a fun read for me that I passed it over to SB. He enjoyed it also ... which says something because SB doesn't usually give a hoot about cookbooks. Well, after SB had his way with the book, I grabbed it back and took second and third looks through it. The book rested on the floor by the bedside table for a few days, which is probably a bad place for a cookbook to be - visions of sugarplums and all that. However, it may explain the overwhelming urge this morning for these sticky apple biscuit buns...
I read through the recipe last evening before bed and was determined to have them with my morning coffee this AM, so before the coffee was even perked this morning, I was busy with an unGodly amount of butter, brown sugar, and flour. These biscuits are lightly kneaded and rolled on parchment paper (and it's a good thing, too) into a fat roll that is jam packed with brown sugar and butter and tiny apple bits. The jelly roll is cut into thick rounds and nine biscuits are snuggled into an 8-inch pan.
Hot from the oven with my morning coffee, I was sitting pretty ... holy smokes, the smell of the kitchen alone was a gift from above! The photo shows just how flaky these biscuits are ... amazingly crumbly and full of buttery decadence. These would be awesome on Christmas morning ... just sayin'. Make/assemble them the night before and set them in the oven after you've torn through a few presents and watched the kids go after the stockings ... they'd make a sweet gift from your kitchen! The book would be a good one to find under the tree too ... just sayin'!
Some of the upcoming recipes that I marked ? Apple Cheddar Welsh Rarebit, Potato-Apple Latkes, Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kasha and Apple, Chicken Waldorf Salad, Apple-Apricot Kuchen ... can you STAND it? So many cool combinations and ideas ... so much yum just waiting inside this book. To boot, the short vignettes include visits to Farnum Hill Cider's farm, Preservation Orchards in Palermo, Maine, a primer on apple varieties and how they are matched to different recipes, a calendar of apple festivals that are annual events, visits to Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, Massachusetts, Dixon's Apple Farm in New Mexico, and Poverty Lane Orchard in Lebanon, New Hampshire. For novice bakers, there are extensive tips on picking and storing apples, making pie crusts, and peeling and coring apples.
Okay, I've gushed enough. I'm headed for a second biscuit and another cuppa Joe ... no apologies. I'm on a mission for some rich sweetness.
Here's the recipe ....
Apple Stuffed Biscuit Buns
Amy Traverso’s fix on a recipe served at River Run Café in
Makes 9 biscuits
1 ¼ c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
5 tbsp. cold salted butter, cut into small chunks
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 large firm-sweet apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ inch bits
½ c. buttermilk
1 large egg
3 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. Kosher salt
12 tbsp. cold salted butter, cut into small chunks
Making the Goodness:
- Place the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and whiz to make a mixture that resembles wet sand. Turn the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Prepare the apple bits and place them in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in the clean food processor bowl and whiz to combine.
- With the food processor running, begin dropping the butter chunks down the feed tube a few at a time until all the butter is added and the mixture looks like fine ground polenta.
- Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk the buttermilk and egg together in a measuring cup and add all at once to the dry biscuit mix. Stir to make a shaggy dough. The dough will be dry-ish looking. Don't be fooled ... the butter will hold things together when you knead it so don't add more liquid!
- Place a large piece (at least 18 inches long) of parchment paper on a large clean rolling surface.
- Dump the shaggy dough onto the parchment paper and use your hands to gather all the bits into a ball. Knead the dough until it forms a ball. This is kind of awkward, but DO use the parchment paper.
- Once the dough is formed into a ball, pat it down and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a rectangle that is 9 x 15 inches. You can use your hands to shove the edges into a nice rectangular form.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
- Dump the brown sugar filling onto the dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a 1 inch edge along one of the long sides of the rectangle free of any sugar.
- Next drop the apple bits over the sugar and press them into it gently.
- Now, starting with the long sugary edge, begin to roll the dough into a long jellyroll. Use the parchment paper to help bring up the dough and fold it over to roll and press snugly.
- When the jelly roll is almost rolled up, bring the long side that doesn’t have sugary filling on it back toward you and up and over the roll. Press the dough closed, using the parchment paper to snuggle everything together.
- Place score marks where you will cut the biscuits.
- Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Cut nine uniform biscuits and place them in the baking pan.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
- Serve warm from the oven with hot coffee or warm cider.