Amaranth-Gruyére Biscuits

tender halves of biscuits

An enticing blend of New World and Old World flavors: sharply vegetable-tasting amaranth flour and hay-scented gruyére. Amazingly these two, when combined in a baked good, play together very nicely. This is one big-flavored biscuit.

Yield: 18 one-ounce biscuits

Time to make: Under 30 minutes. 24 minute oven dwell

Tools needed: Sharp knife. Cutting board. Medium bowl. Small bowl. Large zip-lock bag. Rolling pin. Biscuit cutter. Bench knife or plastic bowl scraper.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups (250 grams) amaranth flour blend (see below)
1/4 cups (55 grams) amaranth flour.
1 1/2 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp sugar.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (50 grams) coarsely grated Gruyére cheese.
8 TBLS (114 grams) unsalted butter, frozen and shaved (see procedure).
1/4 cup (70 grams) whole-milk yoghurt.
5/8 cup (135 grams) whole milk.

Amaranth blend

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2/3 cup amaranth flour
1 heaping cup rolled oats

To make blend: Place all ingredients into large zip lock bag, seal, then toss and shake bag until thoroughly blended.

Procedure:

1) Freeze 2 sticks of unsalted butter. Heat oven to 425 F. Line a sheet pan with bakers parchment. Dust a work surface lightly with the amaranth flour blend.

2) In a medium bowl, add the amaranth blend, the amaranth flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, sugar, salt and grated cheese and mix with a fork until well blended. In a separate, small bowl, mix yoghurt and milk and whisk to blend thoroughly.

3) Use a sharp knife to score each stick of butter at the half-way point and peel back the wrapper to expose half of each stick. Stand the stick of butter on its unwrapped end on a cutting board, holding the stick by its wrapper. Use a sharp knife to peel shavings from the stick, beginning at the corners of the stick and turning the stick when shavings get too large. If shavings fracture, set stick aside to warm very slightly. Shave each stick to the score line to produce a total of 8 TBLS grated butter. (You can refrigerate or re-freeze the leftovers.)

4) Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and mix with your fingertips, tossing lightly, until butter is evenly distributed. Add milk/sour cream blend and stir with a fork until mixture just barely comes together.

5) Turn dough out onto dusted work surface. Dust top of dough with amaranth blend. With a bench knife or plastic bowl scraper, maneuver dough into a rough block about 5 inches wide by 7 inches long. Using a well-dusted rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangular slab about 1/2 inch thick. You may need to occasionally lift the dough and dust beneath it with the amaranth blend. Lightly score dough into thirds and fold these thirds in upon each other, business-letter style. Re-roll dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle, fold again, then roll into a rectangle that is about 1 1/4 inches thick.

6) Using a biscuit cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into rounds or squares, each about 1-1/2  inch in diameter. Arrange on the baking pan, leaving at least half an inch around each biscuit. Bake 24 minutes or until biscuits are tan and lightly flecked with darker spots. Remove to a cooling rack.

Biscuits are best eaten slightly warm and/or within 24 hours of baking. They may be refreshed by wrapping in a paper towel and microwaving on high for 15 seconds.