Bon Appetit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits

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I made Bon Appetit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits last week, and they were pretty dang good. A little tang from the buttermilk, plenty of layers, crisp tops and soft centers ready to fill with a pat of butter or a spoonful of jam.

I made a few changes to BA’s recipe. For one, I kneaded my biscuits together fully by hand, instead of using a pastry cutter, or the food processor BA suggested. You’ll find directions below for hand-kneaded biscuits, a slight adjustment from BA’s version. I did look back at BA’s video after setting my biscuits in the oven, and felt like I over-kneaded my dough. If you make these, by hand or in the food processor, be sure to leave decent-sized butter chunks in your dough, and allow the dough to stay crumbly.

I also cut back the butter a tiiiiiiny bit, removing 2 tbsp from the dough, and skipping the butter-brushed tops altogether. Some might call this heresy, but I felt there was a ridiculous amount of butter in the BA recipe and wanted to dial it back, if only a bit. I’ve written up the recipe with the full amount of butter, so you can decide for yourself how much to include.

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Plum Jam

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Here’s a simple plum jam with just three ingredients– four, if you decide to add a dash of vanilla. I love recipes like this. Simple, classic, and incredibly delicious. The plums are naturally high in pectin, and using an appropriate amount of sugar lets them gel.

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Lemon Meltaways

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Lemon meltaways are a tender cookie made from a shortbread base. They’re coated in powdered sugar, crumble easily, and are designed, as the name suggests, to melt in your mouth. Lemon meltaways can be sweet or tart– this version stays on the sweet side, getting its lemon flavor from zest, and just a teaspoonful of juice.

Lemon Meltaways

I based my recipe on this one from Stella Parks of Serious Eats. The Serious Eats version calls for tapioca starch instead of corn starch, for a more delicate, meltier cookie. I used corn starch, which is more of a pantry staple for me than tapioca. The cookies still tasted great to me, and I didn’t notice any missing melty qualities. However, if you do have tapioca starch on hand, I’d go with the Serious Eats recipe for something more tender.

Lemon Meltaways

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Classic Shortbread Cookies

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Shortbread cookies are a favorite of mine because they are so simple to make. Classic shortbread recipes contain only three ingredients– butter, sugar, and flour.

Of course, the variations are endless. You can swap the white sugar out for powdered sugar, for a finer crumb. This seems to be the standard in most modern shortbread recipes, and this is the version you’ll find in this blog post. Some recipes will use lower-gluten cake flour, or swap a little bit of flour for cornstarch or tapioca starch, which results in a crumblier, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Flavorings include vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon or orange zest, chopped nuts and even dried lavender flowers.

Classic Shortbread Cookies | Kitchen in the Hills

Shortbreads tend to be a holiday cookie in the US, but they also pair well with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee.

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Porgandipirukas (Carrot Pie) – Estonia

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This is the very first recipe in my 193 Recipes Project.

Why did I start with Estonia? I figured I would begin with one of the Baltic states because I don’t know too much about the food in this region. This challenge is about eating new foods and learning about far away places. I certainly didn’t know what Estonians ate before I started to research.

My local library didn’t have much information on Estonian cuisine, but I found the information I was looking for on Wikipedia, Estonia’s Ministry of Rural Affairs website, and several Estonian food blogs. There’s a lot of meat and fish in the national cuisine—  I saw many recipes that called for ground beef, pork, or fresh fish. There were a number of baked pastries and soups, as well as pickled vegetables and fermented foods. What I didn’t expect is how seasonal and fresh Estonian food is. There are many plant-based dishes, featuring fresh carrots, potatoes, peas, foraged berries, apples, and many varieties of local wild mushrooms.

For my recipe, I chose to make porgandipirukas, a savory carrot pie.

Estonian Carrot Pie

There are many variations on this pie, but the filling base is always boiled or sautéed carrots and onions, seasoned with salt and pepper. Sometimes a chopped boiled egg, cheese, smoked meat, fish, or chives are added to the filling. The pastry is Danish dough. Home cooks use frozen Danish dough, or make a quick yeasted enriched dough with butter and cheese. The pies are most often shaped into a long rectangle, and sliced thinly to serve— that’s what you’ll see in this post. Some cooks also make hand-pie versions, and others make open-top pies.

The version of porgandipirukas I made is filled with grated carrot, minced onion, and a  chopped boiled egg, and wrapped in a buttery yeasted dough. The filling is sweet from the carrots, savory from the bit of onion, and almost meaty from the egg. The pastry is made in two parts— first milk, yeast, and flour are whisked together to form a wet dough, then a crumbly, buttery mix is kneaded in. It’s a simple yeasted enriched dough, but the two-part process also makes it pleasantly flaky and light. (There’s also an easier shortcut variation in the recipe notes.)

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Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler + Finding Your True Style

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler from Kitchen in the Hills. This is a classic southern recipe that's simple to make and perfectly delicious! #peachcobbler #summer #dessert #baking

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Note: This is a recipe post, but it’s also a personal post. If you’re just looking for the recipe, you’ll find it at the bottom of the page.

For the first two years of this blog, I wrote cheerfully about healthy recipes with trendy ingredients. I tried to muster up enthusiasm for things I wasn’t really excited about making, but had convinced myself food blogging was all about. I tried very hard, but it didn’t always feel right.

I’ve done the quick-and-easy recipes. I’ve done the health-conscious recipes. But at heart, I’m all about old-fashioned comfort foods, homey recipes, bits of nostalgia we all grew up with.

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler from Kitchen in the Hills. This is a classic southern recipe that's simple to make and perfectly delicious!

It’s the most down-home Southern food that makes my heart leap in my chest, that has me rushing to the kitchen to make it. It’s spicy Indian stews and curries, particularly South Indian, that bring back fond memories of childhood. It’s the sweet treat or the lovingly baked yeast bread that soothes me when I’m frustrated or flustered.

Patience. Time moves more slowly in the South, and the food takes a little longer to prepare. I grew up in Florida around a lot of good food, with a family that ate home-cooked meals, together at the table, every single night. I grew up eating a lot of Indian food lovingly cooked by my Mom. I also ate a ton of hearty American fare, the stuff most American childhoods are filled with. Watermelon and french fries and Tostitos pizza rolls. And these foods I grew up eating are the ones that inspire what I cook today. Occasionally I’ll put a tropical twist on something, and that’s also deeply me– my childhood in Florida or trips overseas to visit my grandparents in the Indian tropics.

Time to reclaim my roots.

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Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

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The solstice and the 4th of July are the two big days that mark the beginning of summer.

Now we are in the thick of it. Expect barbecues, picnics, and day trips to the beach. Pool parties if you’re lucky.

These brownies are easy to pull together and they’re great for events. Take them anywhere. They’re delicious. They’re chocolatey from the cocoa, but they are also light enough that they won’t overwhelm everything else on the table. The frosting is thick enough that it won’t melt in the heat. I never thought I’d say that I liked a cakey brownie, but these have a lighter texture and I love them– something about them reminds me of childhood.

So bake these, share them, take them with you.

(Note: Don’t skip the frosting on these. The brownies alone have a dry and crumbly texture, and they don’t do well un-frosted.)

Simple Frosted Cocoa Brownies | Kitchen in the Hills | These simple cocoa brownies are a snap to make! They come together in under an hour, with 10 ingredients you probably already have. They're fudgy with rich chocolate flavor. #kitcheninthehills #brownies

Our key ingredients. Flour, sugar, cocoa.

Would you believe me if I told you this recipe only uses 10 ingredients? It’s true.

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