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Parmesan-Pepper Beaten Biscuits

If you're expecting more than 8 guests, make two batches, but separately -- don't double the recipe. Bake these 1 or 2 days in advance, cool and freeze. They'll thaw in minutes on a counter. The biscuits are delicious split and filled with thin slivers of ham.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (we like 1 teaspoon pepper)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with nonstick spray.

In food processor, pulse flour, Parmesan, baking powder, pepper to taste, sugar and salt until mixed.

Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With motor running, pour milk through feed tube. Process just until dough forms a ball.

Transfer dough to floured surface (it will be soft). Knead gently three or four times. Pat dough out 1/2-inch thick. With 2-inch floured cutter, cut out biscuits. Press scraps together to make more biscuits. Arrange 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, watching to see that bottoms don't burn. If they're getting too dark, flip biscuits over. Transfer to wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 24 biscuits

Adapted from "Buongiorno!" by Norman Kolpas

Monday, November 19, 2001

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