Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Biscuits

Yesterday morning, Jamie woke me up to say goodbye - he was leaving for the weekend for his annual ride to Sturgis with a few friends.  Wearing jeans and a white shirt, his black and white leather motorcycle jacket and red bandanna, he hugged me and said he loved me.  I love you.  Three words that always make my pulse quicken, even after three years.  I've never said them to any man but him, and never heard them until he whispered them one night, a few months after we'd been together, making my heart sigh with contentment.

After closing the door behind him, I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't.  Usually I'd welcome a few days to myself, but I've already had so much time at home the last few weeks that more alone time wasn't exactly what I wanted.  So I got up, put on a favorite movie, PS I Love You, made coffee, and set a pile of books and magazines on the coffee table that I'd been meaning to read.

I might even get to a sewing project I've been putting off - a few months ago I impulsively bought a pattern and some pretty black and white fabric for a summer dress.  I don't often sew clothes from scratch, since it's usually more expensive than buying something already made, but once in a while I get an urge to design and make something myself.  Maybe I can even get this one done before it gets too cool to wear it anymore.

For breakfast, I experimented with a small batch of biscuits, using my favorite baking powder biscuit recipe, to create a chocolate, cinnamon swirl biscuit.  Years ago, before I'd gotten brave enough to start using yeast, I would bake cinnamon rolls using my biscuit recipe, and they really were pretty amazing.  One of my favorite additions was almond paste, and after rolling out the biscuit dough, rubbing it with butter and sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon, I'd grate a generous amount of almond paste over the dough before rolling it up and slicing. Those cinnamon rolls were famous with my family and friends, and I'd try to make them a few times a year, especially at Christmas.

These chocolate cinnamon swirl biscuits are a lighter version of those cinnamon rolls, with less butter and sugar, and of course, no sugary frosting on top.  Although no less fantastic, with melted chocolate dripping through the swirls of flaky dough.  Perfect with coffee and a book, on a quiet morning.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Biscuits
printable recipe
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese, cold
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 450.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Drop pieces of the cream cheese and butter over the flour and cut in with a pastry cutter until coarse and crumbly, but you can still see visible chunks.

Cook's Note: All butter, or even vegetable oil, can be substituted for the cream cheese and butter.  Using all butter will yield the flakiest, most tender and decadent biscuit.

Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring with a spoon just until the dough pulls together.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, measuring a rectangle about 10x20 inches.

Whisk the egg and the water together; brush lightly over the dough.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate.  Roll the dough up, from one short end to the other, so you have a log 20 inches long.  Dip a sharp knife in flour and cut the dough into 8-10 equal pieces.

Place biscuits, cut side up, one inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or in a greased muffin tin.  Brush each with the remainder of the egg wash, and if desired, sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar so the biscuits sparkle.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve warm.

Yields 8-10 biscuits.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen