1 1/2 dozen biscuits
Adapted from "Merry Christmas, Baby" (Harper-Collins Publishers, 1996). Serve warm, with lemon curd.
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, plus extra for greasing the baking sheet
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) unbleached flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 cup shortening, chilled
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Heat oven
to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl,
sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground ginger. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the crystallized ginger.
3. In a small bowl or measuring cup,
mix together the baking soda, water and molasses. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour first the buttermilk and then the molasses mixture in the center. With a fork, gently mix until a soft dough is formed.
4. Flour your hands
and turn dough out onto a floured board and knead 10 times. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to one-half-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out the biscuits and place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Gather the scraps, pat out the dough and continue cutting until you have 18 biscuits.
5. Bake the biscuits
for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown on top.
Each of 18 biscuits: