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What's Cooking? - Posted December 25, 2015 9:50 a.m.
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Photos by Shannon Richardson Recipes courtesy of Joni Prater of Nordic Galley Bakeri

Tastes Like Home

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Is there any greater comfort food than a fluffy, melt-in-your mouth homemade biscuit? We don’t think so. Whether served at dinner or at breakfast, whether dripping with butter or ladled with gravy, the humble southern biscuit is a staple of the American diet. “When people ask if we have biscuits at the bakery, you can just see it on their faces. It takes them back somewhere,” says contributor Joni Prater of Nordic Galley Bakeri. “You think about breakfast at home or at grandma’s house.”

Joni shared with us two of her favorite biscuit recipes. The first is a classic she’s made for years that can be modified to be sweet or savory. The second is a unique recipe using her homemade baking mix plus 7 Up and sour cream.


Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco preferred)
1 ¼ cups milk
Heavy whipping cream

Heat oven to 500 degrees (convection oven to 450 degrees). Combine dry ingredients. Add shortening with pastry blender or your fingertips, squeezing it into flour until combined. Add milk and stir until just barely combined (if you stir too much biscuits will get tough). Use dough to make drop biscuits or roll out onto flour-covered board. The easiest way to shape biscuits instead of rolling is to scoop out about ¼-cup portions with an ice cream scoop and drop into a bowl of flour to coat. Next, make a “C” shape with your right hand to hold the mound of dough, and then flatten just slightly, shaping with your left thumb on top and middle finger below. Place in greased pan. Brush tops with heavy cream. If you prefer the sides soft, arrange them close together. For crispier edges, space them apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes 12 to 15 biscuits, depending on size

Watch a step-by-step video.

Modify this recipe by adding shredded cheese, bacon, black pepper or whatever you like to the dough.


Joni’s Homemade Biscuit & Baking Mix
9 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups vegetable shortening

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or mixer. Store in airtight container.

Makes 3 recipes


7 Up Biscuits
4 cups Bisquick or homemade baking mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7 Up
1/2 cup melted butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix baking mix, sour cream and 7 Up. Melt butter in bottom of baking pan, place shaped biscuits in pan, and then bake until golden.

Makes 12 to 15 biscuits, depending on size

To use these biscuits for strawberry shortcake, add ½ cup sugar to batter and about 2 teaspoons vanilla to dough.

Meet the Cook: Joni Prater of Nordic Galley Bakeri

Joni Prater grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota in a Scandinavian family of bakers. “I started baking at 5 years old with my mom,” she says during a brief afternoon break at Nordic Galley Bakeri, where she’s finishing a cake for one of her many spring catering projects. “I was fortunate to have an incredible mom and grandma as examples to teach me how to bake.”

In 2001, Joni put that lifetime of cooking to work when she opened an Amarillo catering business called The Gathering Place. For the next four years she catered weddings, parties, and other special events until selling the business. Six years later, with her kids on the cusp of finishing school, she decided it was time to get back into the restaurant world. “I specifically wanted a bakery,” she says.

When Joni learned in early 2012 that Great Harvest Bread Company had closed its doors in the Summit Shopping Center at Southwest 34th and Coulter, she jumped at the opportunity to purchase its equipment and move into the space. She named the new bakery Nordic Galley “because many of my recipes are old family recipes” and because she’d spent a lifetime collecting Scandinavian and European cookbooks – loving the rich, butter- and cream-heavy baking tradition and its reliance on almond-based pastries.

Joni describes everything on the Nordic Galley menu as “made-from-scratch comfort food.” She’s grateful for a loyal clientele who have kept her afloat despite more than a year of road construction on 34th Avenue next to Summit Shopping Center. “We’re bending over backward thanking people for coming in,” she says. “We know it’s not convenient. Everyone says they’re avoiding that road like the plague.”

Once they finally arrive, her customers dig into Nordic Galley’s satisfying light lunches and dinners, and delicious breakfasts, which include cinnamon rolls, sugar waffles, jalapeño-and-cheese sausage “bretzels,” and Joni’s amazing biscuits topped with sausage gravy.

She says the “classic” biscuit recipe shared here can be easily adjusted. Make it savory and use it to garnish a salad by adding bacon and cheese. Or sweeten it by sprinkling sugar on top.

The 7 Up and sour cream recipe seemed, in Joni’s words, “kind of weird” when she first tried it. But the simplicity won her over. “The sour cream makes it moist and yummy,” she says. Meanwhile, the carbonation from the 7 Up introduces pockets of air that expand the dough and give it a light, fluffy texture. The result is perfect for strawberry shortcake. “It’s super easy.”

by Jason Boyett

Jason has written more than a dozen books and is the host and creator of “Hey Amarillo”, a local interview podcast. Visit heyamarillo.com and jasonboyett.com.
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