Hi, I’m Jennifer from Bread and Putter and I was so excited when Shea asked me to do a guest post for Dixie Chik Cooks! I love her blog – her joyful personality shows through her posts and I want to make everything she makes because her enthusiasm is so infectious!
Shea and I decided to make something from each other’s regions – how lucky for me! The South has so many wonderful food traditions. I went looking specifically for something from Alabama. I checked one of my favorite cookbooks – It’s All American Food by David Rosengarten. The only recipe I found specific to Alabama was a coleslaw made with yellow mustard and I suppose that might be, um, interesting but not my cup of sweet tea, if you know what I’m saying. Okay, that actually kind of grossed me out. 🙂 I kept looking.
I ended up over at another favorite Southern lady’s website, Paula Deen. I think I gained a few pounds just browsing the butter-laden recipes, but then I hit pay dirt: Miss Laurie LeGrand’s Bacon Biscuits. Not only was Miss Laurie from Alabama, but she was a gal after my own heart. Her signature biscuits are made with bacon grease! Yay, bacon!
And as it happens, I definitely save all my bacon grease these days.The bacon I get from my meat CSA is so darn good, I can’t bear to part with the grease. I usually end up making roasted potatoes with it, but I’ve heard French toast made with bacon grease is something fabulous to try too. But these biscuits? Oh my!
I even did my research on Southern vs. Northern flours and got reminded about the lower protein percentage in Southern flour, which explains why Southern biscuits have such nice texture. I only had some Hecker’s Unbleached on hand, which is definitely Northern with lots of protein. So, I decided to combine it with a little cake flour to lower the overall protein content and hopefully get a more tender biscuit.
Fluffiness aside, the bacon flavor is the true star of these little gems. The bacon flavor was happily quite pronounced. They were fantastic straight out of the oven, but then I got a bright idea. How about an appetizer made with little bacon biscuit sandwiches? And what goes perfectly with bacon? Tomatoes and cheese, of course. So, that’s how my Tomato, Mozzarella and Bacon Biscuit sandwiches were born. I served them on a girls’ night in and my friends and I gobbled them up. We loved them and I hope you do too!
Tomato and Mozzarella Bacon Biscuit Sandwiches
Makes 12 – 16
1-1/2 cup Northern all-purpose unbleached flour
½ cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled bacon drippings
½-to-2/3 cup whole milk (or a combination of skim milk & heavy cream)
Fresh mozzarella, cut into small squares or rounds
Fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine flours, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add bacon drippings and cut into the flour with two forks or a pastry blender until crumbly.
Add ½ cup of the milk and stir until dough just comes together. Add additional milk by spoonfuls if needed until mixture is no longer crumbly.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten the dough to ½” thick. Fold the dough over and flatten again to ½” thick. Repeat twice. After last fold, flatten to ¼” thick.
Using a 1-1/2” biscuit cutter or cookie cutter (should make a clean cut without pushing or twisting), cut into 12 – 16 biscuits. Carefully gather scraps and pat & fold again before cutting. Place biscuits an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8 – 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Cut biscuits in half and layer mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil leaves between halves.