Baking Recipes, Biscuits & scones, Christmas & holidays, The Breakfast Bin

Finding resolve + Hot Cross Biscuits

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As some of you my dear readers know, the start of this year hasn’t been particularly pleasant because of a certain “discovery” that happened. In fact I can think of several adjectives that can describe it, but let’s stick with …infuriating. Don’t get me wrong, this discovery was an important eye-opener, and in the long run a beneficial and positive one, but it’s been hard on me. I won’t deny it. And the fact that it has caused me to neglect almost all the things I love (except coffee), has been cause for why I’ve been spending my days feeling like I’m in a rut. My disposition hasn’t been the brightest because of it.

This blog is one of the things that suffered most from this period, and I hated this fact knowing I had promised myself to make this blog better than it was last year. I sure as hell couldn’t keep that promise if I could not even find the time to post. At the start of the year after the “discovery”, I had so many terrible emotions rolling through me that only added to the physical and mental exhaustion I was experiencing from work. A great deal of my time was spent hating the people responsible for this whole mess. There was too much work to be done to rectify the situation, and I was constantly beat and dispirited. I was so burnt-out in just about all aspects of my being that I spent weeks not baking at all. I’ve never been the type to spend idle days, but that was all I wanted to do then: Lie down, try to get restful sleep, forget about everything.

I had been shaken out of my character.

After a while, I had adjusted to the situation. I began baking again on Sundays, but it’s still been difficult sitting down to write. The words seemed to evade me, leaving only a black cloud in my head. I think that was when I began feeling alarmed, the moment when I decided enough was enough– when I somehow couldn’t find the heart to do the single thing I love the most

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I think a lot of people will understand how I feel– the frustration of having something you love to do at arm’s length, but then at the moment you sit down to do it there is nothing. In the last three months, all the things I love doing have diminished into some insignificant speck in my life, like some distant memory I’m constantly trying to reach. I wish I could take several days off just to have time for myself, or at least get my bearings. At the very core of me, I know that my responsibilities always have to come first. Sometimes I get so absorbed in them that I forget to leave a little something for myself. I was too angry, too tired, too unhappy, and the funny thing is, it was because I allowed myself to be this way. I allowed all the negativity to suck the life out of me that I was becoming too miserable.

Now all that has to change. I’ve been looking at this whole thing the wrong way. It shook my life and I wasn’t able to react fast enough. I allowed myself to dwell on the negative side of it too much, drowned myself in work thinking it will solve anything and ease the anger when really the only person causing this terrible disposition was myself.

Now the great thing about life, I think, is that we constantly have the prospect and the choice to start fresh, to make things better. And maybe because it’s Easter and the general feelings of hope are kind of rampant, but I’m thankful to be having this little moment of realisation at this point. Easter means new beginnings. It is the time when the Earth comes back to life and its full glory after being held in the clutches of a cold winter. If the Earth can do it, why not people? As long as we’re alive, we have unlimited chances at new beginnings. And there’s no better time to realise that than now.

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Hot Cross Biscuits
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Yields 8
These biscuits are a great alternative to yeasted hot cross buns if one is too busy to make them. They aren't too sweet which make them perfect for spreading jam on, and they have a nice tang from all the lemon zest. The crosses add a touch of sweetness and are completely optional, but then, they wouldn't be Hot Cross Biscuits without it, would they?
For the Biscuits
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  3. 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold (add 1/4 cup for brushing on the dough, if desired)
  8. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  9. 1/2 cup dried currants
For the Frosting
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  3. 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  4. dash of vanilla extract
Make the biscuits
  1. 1. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest.
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  4. 3. Add cold butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture quickly to incorporate the butter into the flour. The butter bits will be the size of small pebbles and oat flakes.
  5. 4. In a measuring glass, whisk together egg and buttermilk.
  6. 5. Toss the dried currants into the dry ingredient mixture. Create a small well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Pour in the buttermilk, all at once, and use a fork to incorporate the ingredients. Make sure that all of the flour bits are moistened by the egg and buttermilk.
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  8. 6. Dump the shaggy dough unto a lightly floured work surface. Bring together, kneading lightly, until the dough forms a 1-inch thick disk.*
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  10. 7. Use a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter and cut through the dough straight down, avoiding twisting the cookie cutters. Place rounds on the baking sheet. Gently knead the remaining dough scraps together. Form into a 1-inch thick disk and cut out more round biscuits until no dough remains.
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  12. 8. Brush biscuit tops with buttermilk, if desired and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top and slightly firm in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
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Make the frosting
  1. 9. In a medium bowl, using a firm spatula, blend butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Add just a dash of vanilla extract (and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you’d like). The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape when piped.
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  3. 10. Cut a small tip off the corner of a ziplock bag (or use a small round cake decorating tip) and scoop the frosting into the bag. Pipe crosses onto completely cooked biscuits and serve.
  4. Storage: Biscuits are best served the day they are made, but will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for one day.
  1. *I patted mine a little flatter than I intended, thus creating shorter-- perhaps less attractive as well-- biscuits. Then again I haven't learned the proper technique in cutting biscuits to ensure they rise up tall. To ensure taller biscuits, pat dough into a little over an inch before cutting into rounds. This will make about 8 biscuits.
Adapted from Joy The Baker blog
The Tummy Train
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Here’s to new beginnings, and more blog posts hopefully. Happy Easter, everyone! 🙂

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