I did a little prowling around the 'net and found out that there's an annual Biscuit Festival held in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the bake-off is divided into the categories of Buttermilk Biscuits, Sweet Biscuits, Savory Biscuits and Most Original Biscuits (Fat Elvis Biscuits, anyone?). Savory Biscuits beckoned my further attention, so I took a look at what supplies I had in the baking cabinet and in the pantry and thought I would tweak a standard Baking Powder Biscuit recipe into something savory and maybe even a little sassy. When my bag of chickpea flour (labeled besan since I bought it in an Indian foods market) waltzed into my orbit, I immediately thought of using its rich, beany flavor as part of my flour mix.
Then, since chickpeas usually equal hummus in my house, the idea for a hummus flavored biscuit was born. The idea was to incorporate all those heavenly hummus flavors, garlic, cumin (I used toasted cumin seeds, coarsely ground in my coffee mill for a little extra texture, but you could just use ground cumin if that's what you have on hand), parsley, lemon, olive oil, salt and a little hot pepper, because I like a spicy hummus.
I went to my kitchen cookbook shelf and plucked Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Baking Book down. This was one of my favorite baking cookbooks in my pre-GF days and I've found it to be a good starting point for preparing to convert these very detailed recipes into gluten-free versions. Marion/Fannie's Baking Powder Biscuit recipe (p. 572) proved once again to provide good background information about preparing biscuit dough and I used its' "bones" to work through my recipe.
The other starting point that GF Ratio Rally bakers use is a ratio of primary ingredients (measured by weight, not volume) and for the Biscuit Project we started out with 3 parts flour, 2 parts liquid and 1 part fat. My biscuits came out quite nicely: they held their shape, rose a little, and had a nice crumbly texture with a CRISPY outside.
I had the idea that fresh chopped parsley and lemon juice would be better in an olive oil dipping sauce, but I think that next time I would mix the parsley and some lemon zest into the biscuit dough instead.
These biscuits really smelled tempting while they were baking and we enjoyed them hot from the oven paired with their dipping oil and softened butter for a hearty winter afternoon snack. Scrumptious! The next day they were the perfect sops for a vegetable curry. Scrumptious II!
Here's a recipe for:
Hummus in a Biscuit
4 oz. chickpea flour
4 oz. white rice flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp. toasted cumin seeds, coarsely ground (or plain ground cumin)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 oz. vegetable shortening
6 oz. milk (I used almond milk cause that's all that I had on hand in my house of cereal-chomping teenagers)
Olive Oil Dipping Sauce:
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. minced Italian parsley
Stir together dry ingredients above until well mixed. Add in shortening with a pastry blender or two butter knives until mixture resembles coarse sand. You really want the fat mixed in well with the flours.
Add in milk and mix well until dough clumps together. Turn out on a sheet of plastic wrap and cover and chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to let shortening in dough harden up again.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly dust work surface with white rice flour and plop dough down. Working quickly with floured hands, pat dough down into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 16 rounds (3 inch diameter) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Baked 15 minutes or until they have puffed up and are lightly browned.
Serve immediately with Olive Oil Dipping Sauce on the side or split and spread with softened butter.
Makes 16 biscuits.
Gretchen will have all the links to the sweet, savory and other interesting gluten-free biscuit variations back at her Kumquat blog, so be sure to check back and visit!