flaky, buttery feta + chive biscuits

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Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about. ― Nicole Krauss

Can I tell you that my oven missed me? I could feel it. I live in a home where I need a blowtorch and a prayer to get my oven to ignite, so on this particularly warm morning, a day when you know spring is just itching to own it, my oven blazed hot and made a sauna of my apartment. Jubilant because it’s a fair day and I’ve got buttery biscuits rising in the oven, a small token for friends throwing an Oscar-themed soiree, come nightfall.

Candidly, it’s been a while since I’ve held dough in hands, felt the alchemy of ingredients coming together like symphony. As you can imagine I’ve been busy trying to catch up on my life. Cleaning my apartment, tossing all the things I’ve amassed over the years but don’t need, seeing old friends and making room for new ones — I haven’t been this efficient or this social in years. And while it’s at turns exhausting, it’s also exhilarating and gratifying because everything feels right. My life feels as it should: whole, because I’ve cultivated a patchwork of brilliant, beautiful people that weave in and out of my world, inspiring me beyond measure. No matter what happens after my final day at work, I know I’ll live a great, sweeping life. I know this because I dared to risk. I dared myself to leap out of my comfort zone, to be frightened of the world and everything in it, to incant all the things that could potentially go wrong {you’ll be homeless, a voice whispers and a fist shakes} and erase the tape. I’m spending time with those who open my eyes with a crowbar to let all the light in.

Let all the light in. Do it, do it now, because there is not one person whose body can house regret; our inevitable heartbreak from what might have been could drown oceans if it wanted to. We come like swallows, painting the sky black. And then we find ourselves in the dark again — boxed in, no way out — with one hand to our heart and the other on an open grave and we hear the silence of the one lone clock that stopped beating.

Here’s me, winding the clock. Here’s me, placing it gently on a blanket. Here’s me whispering, beat, beat.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker
makes about 12 small scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp cold water
3/4 cup sour cream, cold
1/3 cup chopped chives
3/4 cup big crumbles of feta cheese
1 egg beaten for egg wash
coarse sea salt, cracked black pepper, and smoky paprika for topping

DIRECTIONS
Place rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and black pepper. Cut in butter (I use a pastry cutter because I’d rather keep my warm hands away from cold dough) until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. The dough should have fat, buttery peas throughout. In another bowl, beat the egg, sour cream, and water until combined. Add the egg and sour cream mixture to the flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft and shaggy dough. Recently I learned about the “under/over” method, where I use my fork to scrape from the bottom to the top of the dough to ensure that I don’t have a pile of flour that isn’t damp or part of the butter mixture. Add the chives and feta and dump mixture on a clean counter to knead the dough together. You will think this will never come together as I did, but trust me, it does. The mixture will come together in about 10 to 15 kneads.

Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds using a biscuit cutter or cut into 2×2-inch squares. Reshape and roll dough to create more biscuits with excess scraps. Place on prepared baking sheet, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, black pepper, and smoky paprika. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve warm. These biscuits are best eaten the day they’re made, but will last up to 2 days.

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