A good buttermilk biscuit is a thing of beauty, light, flaky and buttery. Add a spoonful of homemade ginger plum jam and you’ve got a country breakfast on a plate. Of course, some people seem super scared of making biscuits, thinking they’ll make them hard, tough or misshapen. Thankfully there is an easy solutions to this dilemma – make biscuit muffins! The buttermilk biscuit muffin with ginger plum jam that you see above looks WAY fancier than it actually is, as they are crazy easy to make. The biscuit muffin is a little bit of genius inspired by a recipe from the Murphin Ridge Inn Cookbook, which I picked up when I was in Ohio Amish country last Spring, along with a number of other food bloggers. I had a chance to write about the other two inns I visited on that trip, the Inn at Honey Run and the Inn at Cedar Falls but somehow I never got to writing about the Murphin Ridge Inn, which is sad as it was probably my favorite one in the bunch.
While in Ohio Amish Country, before we headed to the Murphin Ridge Inn, we stopped to learn a bit about maple syrup. The tour of the maple trees of Ohio, along with the history of maple syrup and how it was discovered was fascinating. Most maple syrup is made from sugar maple trees (though other maple tress like red maple or black maple can also be used. The tree stores starches in their trunk and roots, and convert it to sugar, that is rise in the tree in the Spring. Tapping the tree allows the sap to be collected, which is needs to be boiled down to create maple syrup. Somewhere between 20 to 50 liters of sap is needed to boil down to make just 1 liter of maple syrup!
After the maple syrup tour, we did a quick hike around Ohio country, in Hocking Hills State Park, to Old Man’s Cave. The hike in the brisk country air was bracing (in a good way) and I stopped often to marvel at the rock formations and picturesque pools and waterfalls that we would come across. I never would have guessed that Ohio had great places to hike (and apparently there’s great rock climbing and rappelling as well around there).
Of course, when we finally got to Murphin Ridge Inn, owners Sherry and Darryl made us feel incredibly warm and welcome after a day of hiking in the country. Their simple lunch of soup and salad (with a signature Murphin Ridge biscuit) was exactly what we all needed after running around outside.
We didn’t have much time to hang out at Murphin Ridge Inn, as we soon found ourselves whisked off after lunch to a working Amish farm, where we learned a little bit about how the Amish milk their cows (they used gas generators to power their equipment!) and even a sneak peak into their kitchen, which was the heart of their home for the family of ten. The family was incredibly welcoming to us, offering us homemade mozzarella, bread and a sweet rolled bread that was just out of the oven.
Driving around the country, I was insistent that we stop at an antique shop and the one we ended up stopping at (there were tons) was outrageous. From the dozen or so peacocks strutting around the grounds, to the two large warehouses full of treasures and random knick knacks. Ohio Amish country had some incredible treasures, all waiting to be discovered. If only I had space for some of the finds there!
Back at Murphin Ridge Inn, the food writers and bloggers all gathered up for dinner, which was a fantastic five-course meal which included a scrambled egg custard with crunchy fried pork jowl, celery root and pear soup with spiced granola, rosemary carpaccio with arugula and slow braised chicken with spring vegetables all made from farm-fresh food. Chef Brad impressed all of us jaded food bloggers with his cuisine, while the servers entertained us to no end. Even though I’m used to eating “localvore” style in San Francisco, there’s something super awesome when your server owns the cow that the cream came from in your dinner. Now that’s local!
Once dinner was over, we gathered outside, grabbed some logs from the pile of wood, and huddled around the fire pit, talking about how awesome our trip had been before retiring to our comfy cozy rooms. Every inn we visited, all the food, all the people made us realize how vibrant the Ohio Amish Country is. None of us wanted to say goodbye.
We woke up early for breakfast, coming down in our robes, to eat one last meal together and to get one last picture together. Saying goodbye was hard, both to each other, to Murphin Ridge Inn, and to Ohio Amish country. I can only hope that some day I’ll have the chance to come back and visit.
Special thanks goes to The Inn at Honey Run, The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls and Murphin Ridge Inn for hosting me for this trip to Ohio Amish Country. All travel, accommodations, meals and tours were provided by the hosts. That said, I was not compensated otherwise for what I wrote above and everything I have written is my own opinion.
Buttermilk Biscuit Muffins with Ginger Plum Jam
By Irvin Lin
For some people, making biscuits from scratch can be intimidating but this recipe is easy, especially since you just scoop the dough into greased muffin tins to bake the biscuits. I used maple sugar to give a touch of maple sweetness, but feel free to use plain white sugar in it’s place. White Lily Flour is a lower gluten bleached flour that is available in the Midwest and the south. If you don’t have access to it, try using cake flour or bleached all purpose flour in it’s place. The ginger plum jam is a great way to use the last of the summertime stone fruit. It’s intense bright color is looks great against the biscuit. The batch is small (I don’t bother to can it) but should keep in the fridge for 7 to 10 days, just enough for breakfast for the week.
Inspired by the Murphin Ridge Inn
Buttermilk Biscuit Muffin
2 1/2 cups (350 g) white lily flour
3 tablespoons (35 g) maple sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (170 g or 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (28 g or 1/4 stick) melted unsalted butter
Ginger Plum Jam
1 lb (450 g or 4 to 5 medium) black plums
1 cup white granulated sugar
zest of 1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped candied crystallized ginger
1. Make the biscuits by preheating the oven to 350˚F and greasing a standard muffin tin with butter or neutral cooking spray. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a balloon whisk, vigorously stir the dry ingredients until well blended. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch chunks and sprinkle over the dry ingredients and toss to coat. Flatten the cubes of butter with your fingers until all the butter has been smashed. Start rubbing and squeezing the butter together with your fingers and hands until the ingredients start to clump together.
2. Add the buttermilk and then toss with a fork until the dough starts to form. Switch to a large spatula and fold the dough lightly to incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. Don’t overwork the dough (it’s ok to have some dry pockets) as the more you work the ingredients, the more tough the biscuits will be. Divide the dough into the muffin tins and brush the top of the biscuits with the melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the biscuit is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the biscuit comes out clean.
3. Make the jam by chopping the pitting and chopping the plums into 1/2 inch chunks. Add the plums and the rest of the jam ingredients into a pot and turn the heat to high, stir constantly and cook until the liquid starts to boil. Reduce to a simmer (medium low heat) and cook until the fruit starts to break down and the jam has reduced to a thick honey consistency, about 15-20 minutes or so. Let cool and refrigerate in a clean jar once the jam has reaches room temperature.
Makes 12 biscuit muffins. Makes roughly 1 1/2 cups of jam.