American biscuit sandwich - egg, cheese and cracked pepper. Messy but tasty!
American biscuits aka scones – A multicultural recipe. Plus ranch fries!
Today, we play it multicultural – all from the same recipe! Last year, I went to America to see a few friends. It being my first time there, I had many things to learn about American food, which I sampled whenever I got my hands on it. Today, I am going to share a favourite recipe of mine: The American biscuit aka the scone. We had American biscuits at night and scones in the morning! Biscuits in America are generally served like bread alongside a savoury meal, but there are other versions. The Cookery for Young Australians book also suggests scones as a savoury dinner side.
My Iowan friends, Tammy and Ray, introduced me to a fast food meal which I never quite forgot: a Hardee’s breakfast biscuit sandwich. Hardee’s is an American restaurant mostly found in the Midwest and Southern/eastern states. Australia used to have a Hardee’s called ‘Hartee’s’. In the rest of the country (the western half), it has a sister restaurant called Carl’s Jr., which I saw in Hollywood, Los Angeles. To think all those celebrities live in the same vicinity as food with over 2 calories!
Hardee’s breakfast biscuits can contain bacon, egg, cheese, ham or bacon. Being vegetarian, I tried one without the meat and just had egg and cheese: just as satisfying! I only had a few of these biscuits while I was there; we tended to wake up in the afternoon (their work schedule is night-time based) and these are strictly breakfast menu! Of course, this year, I will be eating them as much as possible while there. I otherwise had ranch fries, which I make at home with Paul Newman Ranch Dressing and oven fries (see below for recipe). I wasn’t sure at first, but I guessed that they were just scones after a few nibbles. Bonus!
Shenanigans and Exploding Eggs
Gross! Egg exploded in the microwave!
Upset that we didn’t seem to get these breakfast biscuits here in Australia, I decided I would make some. So, the other day, I finally got around to it. Half a year later (fail)! Along with my partner in shenanigans, Kylie, I created our interpretation of Hardee’s biscuit sandwiches plus scones in the morning with honey as a bonus. This interpretation meant finding an online American biscuit recipe and using egg and American cheese. Sadly, we lack American cheese in Australia. It’s so processed that it’s probably for the better, but we really wanted it, so we bought some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and took out the tin. Check out the gross egg to the right! Make sure you prick the yolks. We did prick them, but I think the microwave has it in for me whenever I put eggs in it, no matter how closely I follow the instructions.
Link: http://www.joyofbaking.com/Biscuits.html I have paraphrased the recipe from this link. This link will take you to the demonstration video: http://www.joyofbaking.com/videos/BiscuitsVideo.html
This recipe makes 10 biscuits/scones with a 6cm diameter (2 ½ inches). We made ours bigger; we only got 8 biscuits in total, but they were very filling.
– 2 ½ cups of self raising flour or plain flour.
– If using plain flour, add 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. I used self-raising.
– 1 tablespoon of white sugar (optional; for flavour). Healthy option: leave it out.
– ½ cup (113 grams) of cold unsalted butter. Healthier option: margarine.
– ¾ cup of buttermilk. Normal milk is also fine. Skim milk is a healthy option.
– 1 egg, lightly beaten. Don’t overdo it.
– 1 large egg, lightly beaten.
– 1 tablespoon of milk or buttermilk.
American Kraft cheese - taken from a macaroni/cheese packet.
Preheat your oven to 200-205°C (400°F). Line a tray with baking/parchment paper and set it aside.
1) Sift flour into a bowl. If you used plain (all purpose) flour, you can use a whisk to thoroughly mix in the salt and baking powder. Whisk/mix the sugar in thoroughly. Sifting the flour will help to ensure the biscuits turn out light and fluffy.
2) Make sure you don’t take the butter out until you need it. Measure it out, then cut it into small chunks. I didn’t use the fancy materials the woman in the video used; rather, I used the rubbing method which is in the Cookery for Young Australians. I cut the butter into little chunks the size of peas (no need to be perfect of course unless you have no life!) then tossed them into the flour mixture.
3) Rubbing Method: Use the very tips of your fingers to ‘rub’ the butter into the flour mixture. This involves pinching the butter with the flour between your fingers until it becomes quite crumbly. Make sure it is mixed into the flour mixture – it will look yellower and crumbly and because I’m a pig, I loved the taste of it raw, so I ate some.
Scones/Biscuits fresh from the oven.
4) Make a little well in the centre of the crumbly mixture.
5) Add the milk and the slightly beaten egg (don’t over-beat it).
6) Stir until just combined. Use a spatula to mix very gently, and as it becomes doughier, I suggest using your hands to mix the rest. The idea is to mix until it sticks together and all the dry bits are mixed in.
7) Lay a sheet of baking/parchment paper on your bench, or disinfect your bench and use that. You could use flour, but I’m not sure if that would dry the dough out too much.
8) Knead the dough. Do not handle the mixture too much or it will not be soft and flaky when cooked! You want to knead it gently until it becomes a soft, smooth dough with no lumpy bits.
9) Roll the dough out until it is roughly 1.25cm (½ inch thick). I used my hands to do this rather than rolling it, and I never measure anything exactly, so I have no idea how thick ours was. As thick as I liked it!
10) I used a scone cutter, but you can also use a cookie cutter (6cm or 2 ½ inches in diameter if you want 10 exactly). Put some flour onto it to stop it sticking to the dough, but I actually had no issues which dough sticking to the cutter at all. I was too lazy to apply flour.
11) Topping: Mix the milk with the egg. Brush the tops of the biscuits/scones with the mixture. This makes them a gorgeous golden brown in the oven, which makes it easier to tell if they are ready or not. Be as generous as you like.
12) Bake them for about 10-20 minutes until they are golden brown at the top. You can also test them by putting a skewer through the middle (test a few scones as some ovens don’t cook evenly on all sides!). It should come out clean. This is the same principle used for cupcakes and bigger cakes.
– Do not add salt for the below:
– Add raisins, dates or other dried fruit for fruit scones.
– Add chocolate chips.
– Add mashed pumpkin to the mixture.
Spread the cheese on the biscuits before adding the egg.
Dinner: Jess’s version of ‘American Hardee’s Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches’
This is my own recipe, though it is based on Hardee’s breakfast biscuit sandwiches. This is still in the works; I have the feeling Hardee’s may have added some dressings to it. Ranch might be nice, I will try that next time! Ketchup is an idea, though I never did like tomato sauce with eggs, even though I eat it on everything else, including fish.
– American cheese or cheddar cheese. Australians: Use Kraft’s tinned macaroni cheese or Kraft cheese.
– A large egg.
– Cracked pepper.
1) Cook your biscuits and allow to cool down, but they are best served quite warm.
2) Fry your egg. Kylie and I used the microwave to fry ours so that it was healthier. It exploded everywhere. Prick the egg yolk if you use this method! We pricked the yolks several times, but I feel the microwave was getting revenge for some reason.
3) Spread American cheese over both sides of the egg. I do NOT recommend adding salt. Kraft cheese is disgustingly salty to me. Americans: you can buy so many types of cheese in your supermarket that you may be able to get a version without so much salt.
4) Americans and those using cheddar cheese: Mixed cheese packets with American cheese and other cheeses is nice (found in America but not Australia). Spread the cheese onto both sides of the biscuit/scone and microwave until melted. This may make your biscuit soggy.
5) Place the egg onto the cheese-slathered biscuit.
6) Add cracked pepper. Close the biscuit/scone like a burger.
7) Add sauces if you want sauces. It’s been 8 months since I ate at Hardee’s, so I will have to ask my Iowan friends what sauces they get on their burgers. I found them fantastic without any sauce!
– Warm biscuits/scones.
– Butter or margarine. Definitely don’t use salted butter. It will detract from the taste.
– Honey, jam/jelly if desired.
– Cream if desired. I generally use butter or margarine.
– Microwave scones for 20 seconds if they are from the night before. Ours tasted amazing! But if yours do not work so well warmed up, it is best to eat anything straight from the oven, of course!
– Spread butter/margarine.
– Add honey, jam/jelly, cream etc.
– This is how scones are generally eaten. You don’t have to close it like a burger, but if you want to, go ahead.
Hopefully you enjoy this recipe! I suggest checking out the video: http://www.joyofbaking.com/videos/BiscuitsVideo.html and I also suggest trying both versions and other alternatives of this recipe. For Americans, the scone recipes might be of particular interest. For Australians, other countries and Americans who don’t eat breakfast biscuits, I suggest you give these a go as well!
Then there is this recipe! ‘Ranch fries’ is another favourite of mine. I tend to make homemade versions of fast food or other restaurant food, so when I was in America, I bought oven fries and ranch dressing. Saved us going to Hardee’s! Australians love ranch dressing salad. So why not hot chips/fries too? I like to have steamed vegetables with it as well to make it healthier. Also, I’m a glutton with veggies. Not for health reasons, either; I just love the taste!
– Paul Newman’s ranch dressing. Don’t buy any fat free crap, even if watching your weight. It tastes like raw egg.
– Oven fries. Try heart healthy if you want a healthier type. The fatter the chip, the healthier, and get ones cooked in canola oil. Not palm oil!
– Steamed vegetables as a side, or salad. Ones grown in your country.
– Cook the fries/hot chips.
– Drench them in ranch dressing.
– Steam the vegetables or make the salad.
– Most people add bacon bits. You can buy these in most supermarkets in the states. Probably also in Australia, but I’ve never really looked. If not, fry your own up.
– Melted cheese instead of ranch dressing is popular in the states. Being Miss Experimental, I had already tried this before going there, and when I went there, I realised it was quite common in the US.
* Thanks to Kylie of course for daring to try these with me!
* Species thanks also to Tammy and Ray, my amazing Iowan friends who introduced me to some of these recipes!
* Also thanks to my mum: we used to make scones all the time! Yum! We’ll have to make time to make them again!
Biscuits/scones recipe: http://www.joyofbaking.com/Biscuits.html
Dawe, M. I. (1970). Cookery for Young Australians. Whitcomb and Tombs: Australia.
Hardee’s Restaurant: http://www.hardees.com/