This week we're turning away from all the holiday sweets to cook up some classic winter comfort food — food that is a little indulgent, perhaps, but nourishing nonetheless. And I couldn't let the week go by without looking back at one of my favorite biscuit-y breads from childhood: Butter dips! Have you ever made these ultra-quick, ultra-easy biscuits? They're cloudlike and fluffy, with golden bottoms from baking in a pool of butter. Heavenly!
Butter dips are an old Betty Crocker classic. They are quite similar to a traditional biscuit, and the twist is simple: Instead of working the butter into the biscuits, leave it out. Instead, melt the butter in the pan and bake the biscuits in the butter. Result? Delicate biscuits with a golden-crusted bottom.
The wet, butter-less dough produces an incredibly light and spongy biscuit; like Shirley Corriher's Touch-of-Grace biscuits, the very wet dough means that the biscuits rise fast and stay light. Also, the fact that you don't have to work the butter into the dough makes these even that much faster and easier. You can throw these together in less than 10 minutes. Just whisk together the dry ingredients, and mix the milk in quickly.
Of course, the resulting dough is quite wet; you have to roll it in a bit of flour to get it to hang together. I remember my mom making these when I was young. When I got old enough to help her, I would handle the dough gingerly, afraid the strips would distintegrate in my hands. You barely shape these biscuit strips; just cut and roll in the butter.
So here, without further ado, are butter dips. If you want a fast, easy biscuit tonight, give them a try. They might become a new comfort food for you too!
Butter DipsAdapted from Betty Crocker. Makes 12.
1/4 cup unsalted butter 1 1/4 cup flour 2 teaspoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup milk
Heat the oven to 450°F. Cut the butter into four equal pieces and place them in a 9-inch-square baking dish. Put the baking dish in the oven to melt the butter. This will take about 5 minutes; remove the baking dish once the butter has completely melted.
While the butter is melting, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk quickly, stopping as soon as a loose dough forms.
Sprinkle some flour over a large cutting board or pastry mat. Turn the dough out onto the mat and press lightly into a long, narrow rectangle. Use knife dipped in flour to cut the dough into 12 equal strips.
Take each strip and place it in the baking dish, turning each strip to cut it into butter. Repeat with all the dough and place the strips close together in the baking dish.
Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before breaking into individual strips and eating.