My fondest memories of Memorial Day picnics bring me back to a time where running barefoot with friends through a neighbor’s backyard was sure bliss. I often yearn for the simple times of youth when everything could be construed as fun, even if the activity was nothing more than eating a juicy piece of homegrown watermelon and spitting out the seeds. Mundane, maybe, to an adult, hilarious to a child.
Even now, I’m sure I would look forward to and enjoy the event that was held each Memorial Day in our neighborhood. A dozen or so families would gather together in one very spacious back yard to spend an afternoon celebrating. We’d all be divided up into teams and throughout the day we’d partake in games and activities that would oftentimes have us rolling on the ground laughing. Seeing the adults, especially the men, engaged in the suitcase relay race was always a highlight. Each team would fill up their suitcase with the most outrageous clothes they could find in their closets, so when it came time to play, the racers would have to quickly dress and go running across the lawn in bright green plaid pants, daisy print bell bottoms, and the infamous double D bra. Seeing any one of the fathers running across the lawn in a bra was enough to have us laughing uncontrollably, but more often than not, these red faced men also had on high heels and a frilly scarf or hat. It was too funny. Oh, I wish I had a printable picture to share because the image in my mind is quite vivid and hilarious.
We’d all gather together around lunch time and frolic and play until dark, so there had to be lots of food. The grill would be blazing for hours while the grill master handed out burgers and hot dogs. Each of the mother’s would bring along several potluck dishes and line them up down the center of the picnic tables. Even a picky kid, like myself, could find something to eat; one of my favorite dishes was fried chicken served with biscuits.
When I was invited by Jaclyn to be included in a Virtual Memorial Day Potluck hosted by Celebrations.com, I decided to have some fun decorating Patriotic Biscuits. I think they’ll go nicely with all the amazing dishes being served up by the other guests. See the complete menu after my biscuit recipe below.
I know I’ve shared the biscuit decorating technique with my readers before, but this time, I’m making my biscuits from scratch using a simple recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated that utilizes heavy whipping cream instead of buttermilk and butter. It’s my go to biscuit recipe because I always have cream on hand to make chocolate truffles, ganache, etc. They have a wonderful flavor and nice texture. You can use any biscuit recipe you like or use store bought dough, the resulting decorated biscuits should look similar.
Transform an ordinary pile of beige biscuits into an eye catching focal point for your picnic table by using foam stamps and food coloring.
Patriotic Biscuits to celebrate Memorial Day or 4th of July (makes 9)
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more to dust work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
red and blue liquid food coloring (the grocery store variety)
patriotic foam stamps*
bench scraper, pizza wheel, or knife
two paint brushes used for food only
baking sheet lined with parchment paper
*I purchased my patriotic foam stamp set this week from Hobby Lobby. I thought I’d be able to find a link for this product on their website for those of you who don’t live near a Hobby Lobby store, but could not, so here are a few links to other places with fun patriotic foam stamps which will work also. Set of 6 stamps on Etsy or a Set of 8 on Bonanza.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and put one of your oven racks in the upper-middle position.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour in the heavy cream and stir just until combined. Dust your work surface liberally with flour. Pour the dough out onto the work surface and knead for about 30 seconds until the dough is elastic and forms a ball easily. The kneading, although an unusual technique for biscuits, will help them to rise taller and fluffier, so don’t skip it.
Flatten the dough into a square that is about 6″ x 6″ or so. Cut into 9 squares. If you prefer, you can use a biscuit cutter and cut them into circles, but the stamps worked well on the square biscuits.
Lightly brush food coloring onto your foam stamps. If you have puddles of food coloring on the stamp it will bleed once pressed onto the dough (see top picture.) So, be sure to brush off any excess coloring. Turn the foam stamp upside down and press the painted side onto the dough. Hold for a few seconds then carefully pull it straight up and away from the biscuit leaving a nice clean imprint.
The stamp set that I used allowed for two colors to be painted on most of the stamps. I used the larger biscuits to stamp USA and the smaller corner pieces were stamped with the star.
The star stamp doesn’t allow for two colors, so I just used the red food coloring to paint inside the star directly onto the biscuit dough.
If you have artistic talent, you could just use the food coloring to paint your own designs onto the dough.
Place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the baking cycle. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can make and decorate your biscuits, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours before baking if you want to bake just before serving. If taking to a potluck, allow biscuits to cool completely before arranging in a basket and wrapping in plastic wrap.
I’ve not doubled this recipe, and due to the kneading would suggest making one batch at a time, if you need more than 9 biscuits.
Be sure to stop by and see all the amazing recipes that are being featured in the Celebrations.com Virtual Memorial Day Potluck.
Jaclyn, of Celebrations, Buffalo Dip
Erin, of Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts, Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Lime/Garlic Cilantro Dressing
Rowena, of Apron and Sneakers, Speck Skewers with Herb Mayonnaise and Grilled Mediterranean Aubergine Bundles with Provola
Elle, of Elle’s New England Kitchen, Boneless Pork Ribs with Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce
Valerie, Une Gamine dans la Cuisines – White Chocolate Mint Cake
Tara, of Smells Like Home, Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Curd Filling and Lemon Buttercream
Katrina, of In Katrina’s Kitchen, Picnic Tablecloth Cookies
This sure looks like a potluck I’d love to attend. YUM!