My Emu Is Emo

I cook. I listen to music. Mayhem ensues.

Hot cross biscuits are unrelentingly upbeat

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Hot Cross BiscuitsMeet biscuit fusion.

These are the Betty Crocker butter dips rediscovered by TheKitchn, with some modifications in the direction of hot cross buns. (There are no crosses because these biscuits are unrelentingly cheerful.)

This delightfully easy concept biscuit calls for a cheerful fusion band, a need that points ineluctably to Dynasty Electric (listen — or not, as there will be videos), the Brooklyn-based psychedelic-punk-fusion band that will not tell you to put your hands in the air because hands belong on the strings of the bass.

olive oil, cinnamon sugar, dry ingredientsYes, I’m enjoying the faint hipster irony of a song about dancing in the club being performed outdoors at the Brooklyn Art Museum. The other reason for choosing this track is that the drummer (at least on the recorded version) is Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a fact pointed out to me by @marieiscool longer ago than I care to admit.

Preheat the oven to 450. Into a nice 9″ pie pan, pour 1/4 cup olive oil. Remind yourself that this is the same amount of fat that biscuits always contain. Repeat this several times — the reminder, that is, not adding more oil! (That is not a butter pat in the pan but the price tag on the bottom.)

Sprinkle the oil with cinnamon and sugar. I used light brown sugar, but I’ve used white sugar in the past and think it worked better.

The fusion fascination of Dynasty Electric — to me, at least — is that you’ve got a totally synthetic dance groove that suddenly breaks into jammin’ bass riffs from Seth Misterka (I’m hoping it’s him — he’s in charge of instruments), as if the rock ‘n’ roll had to escape from the last gasps of disco. Vocalist Jenny Electrik (probably changed from Electricopolouskineska or some such at Ellis Island) provides the whispery voice to make it all psychedelic.

We need to provide some dry ingredients to absorb that oil. Mix together 1-1/4 cups flour, a pinch salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. If you choose not to use an acidic liquid in the next step, substitute a second teaspoon of baking powder for the soda.

Since things are about to get weird, I think we need the sci-fi video.

juice, fillings, plop!Also, that song has a lot of jammin’ strings. Disco’s not really the right comparison for the dance scene — Dynasty Electric is more what would have happened if synth-heavy New Wave had directly followed early 1970s rock instead of disco happening.

To the dry ingredients, add 2/3 cup of orange juice (I’m still working on the orange-tangerine juice). You can use milk instead, in which case you get a milder biscuit.

Now the fun starts. I added a really generous handful of craisins, the smashed remains of my pecans (so maybe 1/2 cup, maybe less), and a gentle sprinkling of candied fruit peel from the lifetime supply I seem to have acquired after Thanksgiving.

If you want to find the song that Dynasty Electric must have released in the alternate-universe 1968 that ought to have kicked off its career, head back to the band’s Myspace page and play “Electric Retro.” That woo-woo-woo-woo bit and the horns are the last gasps of something like Motown or Stax (and I’m half-convinced it’s a sample from some television theme or hit song that I’m too young to recognize, so enlighten me if that’s so).

Take the wooden spoon and drop the biscuit dough into the pan in convincingly biscuit-sized lumps, flattening them as you go so they don’t protrude too much above the rising oil level. Pretend that you’re not about to oven-fry dough. Into the oven it all goes for 12 minutes! It emerges fluffy and golden like the first photo that lured you into this dietary quagmire.

Hot cross biscuits with sausagesI’ll admit that having these with sausages for Saturday breakfast was pretty much wrong. Do not eat sausages with these biscuits!

The biscuits themselves are sweet, fluffy, loaded with goodies, and blessed with a crunchy cinnamon-sugar crust on the bottom. I’m a fan of the slight bitterness of candied fruit peel to cut the sweetness of the craisins, but it’s possible to substitute raisins if you are not.

Be warned that, while these taste great a day later, if left in their pan, they absorb any remaining oil, making them rather aggressively buttery. Speaking of aggressively buttery, let’s wrap up with Dynasty Electric being in-your-face adorable, possibly in a situation that will involve hostage demands related to Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz.

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2 Responses to “Hot cross biscuits are unrelentingly upbeat”


  1. Juanita
    on Dec 20th, 2010
    @ 1:49 PM

    Those spicey biccies look yummo!

    I bet if you sliced them and dried them if they got a bit stale (if they lasted that long), they’d also make pretty good dipping rusks or biscotti. Mmmm :-)


  2. Lemon-blueberry-chocolate biscuits head to the movies « My Emu Is Emo
    on Dec 26th, 2010
    @ 11:23 AM

    [...] biscuits come from the same template as the Hot Cross Biscuits, only with lemon zest, blueberries, and chocolate chunks as the key add-ins. The faint resemblance [...]

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