Friday, December 5, 2008

Sour Milk Potato Biscuit-Muffins

We returned from Thanksgiving travels to find nearly a half gallon of milk had gone sour in our fridge. Over the summer I wrote about using up sour milk in a chocolate zucchini cake. Remember: sour milk won't make you sick, and it's a great baking ingredient. I have shredded zucchini in the freezer, but I didn't feel like making chocolate cake yesterday morning. I was more in the mood for something savory. So I whipped up a batch of impromptu sour milk biscuit-muffins.

I'm a scavenger in the kitchen, in terms of both recipes and ingredients. Besides the sour milk, I had two items I wanted to use up: leftover mashed potatoes and an abundance of cheese in the fridge. So I looked at two different biscuit recipes, one using sour milk, the other using mashed potatoes and cheese, and combined them willy-nilly. Then I doubled the recipes since I had a lot of sour milk to use up. Here's what I came up with.

Sour Milk Potato Biscuit-Muffins

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cold butter (shortening would also work)
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) sharply flavored cheese, shredded or crumbled
2 cups soured milk (buttermilk would also work)

In a large mixing bowl I combined the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well blended. Then I worked in the cold butter with my fingertips until the pieces were very small. Next the leftover mashed potatoes and the crumbled cheese were stirred in with a spoon, and finally the sour milk was stirred in to bring the dough together. (My mashed potatoes had been made with cream and accented with scallions.)

This produced a soft dough that didn't look like it would roll out very well. One of the recipes called for cooking the biscuits in muffin tins, so that's what I decided to do. I greased two muffin tins and added scoops of dough with a large soup spoon. It was enough dough for almost two dozen biscuit-muffins. I put a few ice cubes in the one empty space of the muffin tin so that the grease in that one wouldn't burn. I think I could just as easily have scooped them with an ice cream scoop and baked them on baker's parchment on an open baking tray. I also think I could have added a good deal more cheese.

These were baked for 20 minutes in a 400F oven. Their irregularly textured tops browned up beautifully. I probably could have encouraged even better browning had I brushed the tops with a little extra sour milk before baking them.

They were very tasty just slightly cooled and eaten with an extra pat of butter! We each had to have two, and were tempted to have a third, with our morning cuppa. I now have another recipe in my arsenal to deal with sour milk, something which I simply threw out in my pre-frugality days. Incidentally, this would also be a good post-Thanksgiving recipe for using up excess leftover mashed potatoes.

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