What I sometimes love about our neighborhood is that it is predominantly a group of geographically diverse transplanted retirees. One neighbor, who moved here from the San Francisco area, actually attended the same grade school that I did (St. Patrick's in center city, Philadelphia), much to my and his surprise. Many other neighbors used to live near us in northern New Jersey. It was one of our formerly northern New Jersey neighbors who got the idea to host a Mother's Day party for all of the mothers who would not be with their children today. It turned out that was just about everyone, so she limited the party to about 35 of the closest neighbors. Naturally, we all brought something to the party. I decided to bring a tray of sausage and peppers and some angel biscuits. These are perhaps the easiest yeast rolls I've ever made. They're very light (like angel's wings, hence the name) and have a good flavor. There are numerous recipes for angel biscuits on the internet -- even Martha Stewart has a version. I went with White Lily on this one. I have a bag of self-rising flour in the pantry and figured they would know best how to use it. Their recipe is written specifically for self-rising flour. Now, I admit I am not a big fan of self-rising flour. I find it much too salty for one (maybe because I am just too used to sea salt which has a more subtle and rich flavor). So I changed up the recipe to decrease the self-rising flour a bit. These turned out wonderful and I may just use up the rest of the bag of SR flour by making another batch or two. They are great sandwich rolls, or can be used for breakfast or for a snack with just butter and jam or honey. And since they freeze well, the whole batch can be saved in the freezer until you need them. (For the original recipe, go to the White Lily website, http://www.whitelily.com.
White Lily's Angel Biscuits, adapted
1 small pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. warm water (105-120 F)
4-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups buttermilk, warmed (105-120F)
2 Tbsp. butter
DIRECTIONS: Dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside. Combine flour, sugar and baking soda in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add shortening and butter and mix on low speed until fats are in small pieces the size of peas and smaller. Mix warmed buttermilk with the yeast water. Add to flour mixture, first on low speed, then on medium until everything is well mixed. Refrigerate dough, covered, for several hours or up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F. Lightly spray a large (13 x 17 or 15 x 10) baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Turn dough out on lightly floured counter or board and roll to about 1/2" thickness. Cut into rounds with 2" cutter (I only had a 2-5/8" cutter, so I used that). Place rounds close together in prepared pan(s). Cover with clean lint-free warm, damp towel and allow to rise about one hour. (Dough will be doubled in size and will leave a small indentation when pressed lightly with your finger.) Bake 15-20 minutes, or till nicely browned and puffy. Remove rolls from oven and brush tops with melted butter. (I took a piece of butter and rubbed it over each top.) Serve while hot. Yield: with 2" cutter -- 30 rolls; with 2-5/8" cutter -- 24 rolls
NOTE: When working with yeast, use a thermometer to be sure the water is between 105 and 120 degrees. Water too hot will kill yeast and water too cold will not activate yeast.
STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: Cool biscuits completely. Store in plastic storage bags or wrap in plastic wrap. Keep in the freezer for up to one month. (Refrigeration is not recommended.) To reheat, place thawed biscuits on baking sheet in 400F oven; bake 5-10 minutes till warm.