1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, chopped (we use generous amounts of dried basil)
1 stick of butter
two cups of flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup of yogurt (it has to be yogurt), unflavored.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the butter and put it into a large bowl with the dry ingredients. Use your pastry blender OR rub this mixture gently with your clean fingers and between your hands until the butter and flour are well mixed and coarse crumbs start to form.
Stir in the chopped basil and the yogurt. Knead this about ten times (I knead it in the bowl).
Now there are two good, fast, and waste-free ways to shape your biscuits. If you want round biscuits, then form your dough into a log. Slice the biscuits as you would a roll of refrigerator cookie dough- this recipe makes about seven large biscuits (we usually quadruple it).
You can also roll your dough out in the usual way, but don’t use a biscuit cutter or a glass to make round biscuits, and then gather the scraps and reroll. Take your pastry wheel or pizza cutter (or even kitchen shears) and cut the biscuits into squares- first make several strips about two inches wide, then cut other rows at right angles to the first set, making square and diamond shaped biscuits. This is so much faster that ever since I first figured it out we have never have had round scratch biscuits again.
Put the biscuits into a greased pan (the recipe calls for a cake pan, we’ve used a cookie sheet and just made sure the biscuits all were touching each other). Brush tops with a bit of olive oil or more melted butter. Sprinkle with a bit of extra parmesan. Bake 32 minutes.
These biscuits are divine. They made a nice addition to a tea table or luncheon as well as being quite delicious for breakfast. They are rich, flaky, and elegant.
The original recipe comes from the children’s cookbook Come to my Tea Party by Nancy Cogan Akmon. It was a gift from Granny Tea to one of our girls- I forget if it was Pip or the FYG. It’s a very nice cookbook for teaching children to cook. It includes information on kitchen safety, measurements, the types of tools that the recipes will call for, and baking tips.
There are suggested menus for serving breakfast, lunch, supper, picnics, hosting tea parties, and making boxed lunches. There are easy recipes a child can work through on her own if she can read, and there are more involved recipes that make a very nice mother-child project to work on together.
It comes with a wooden spoon attached to the front cover, and ours even came with a pocket full of extra, blank recipe cards inside the front cover so the young cook can begin collecting (or sharing) her own recipes. Granny Tea gave us this cookbook, and she included a wooden spoon and an apron with it.