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No Food Snobbery for Christmas

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Taste of the Landscape

Photo by Melissa Pasanen.

Several years ago my youngest son came home from the last day of school before winter vacation excitedly clutching a piece of paper in his hand. His class had made a recipe, he told me, that would be perfect for Christmas morning and he wanted to make it for the family. “I can do it all by myself!” he said proudly.

I was all smiles and encouragement ― until I looked at the piece of paper and the recipe for “cinnamon bites,” which called for a package of refrigerated biscuits and a quarter stick of margarine. I thought briefly of mixing up biscuit dough from scratch and doing our own version, but he was looking at me so expectantly. I took a big breath of acceptance and remained all smiles and encouragement.

Despite their long list of unpronounceable ingredients, I bought a can of those refrigerated biscuits although I did sub in butter for the margarine and Alex proudly made cinnamon bites for us that Christmas morning and at least one other Christmas after that.

I love holiday food traditions as much as anyone and I especially loved that Alex was up for making something for the family. But I will admit that when I came upon this maple-bacon biscuits recipe from the amazing bakers at King Arthur Flour in Norwich a couple years later, they quickly replaced the cinnamon bites as our Christmas morning breakfast of choice. They are so good that my boys have even convinced me to make them at other times of the year.

The recipe is pretty simple. You could precook the bacon the night before and get the rest of the topping ingredients all measured out. You could also mix the dry ingredients for the biscuits and cover the bowl with a clean towel. In the morning, just finish the dough, melt the butter for the topping and whisk it together. Then all you have to do is put it ogether and bake the biscuits.

And you know what, if mixing up your own biscuits is too much on Christmas morning, you could even make the recipe with a couple of those packaged cans of biscuits.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Maple-Bacon Biscuit Bake
Adapted slightly from P.J. Hamel, King Arthur Flour,

Yield: 16 small biscuits

For topping:
1/2 pound bacon, cooked until medium-brown
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter

For biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk (Tip: you can make “soured” milk if you don’t have buttermilk on hand by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a scant cup of milk and letting it sit for a few minutes.)

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees with rack in upper third of oven. Lightly grease an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan.
2. To make topping: Chop cooked bacon into ½-inch pieces. Combine bacon with remaining topping ingredients, stirring until well combined. Spread in the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. To make biscuits: Whisk dry ingredients together in a bowl. Work in butter until mixture is crumbly with some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter. Add buttermilk, stirring to make a sticky dough.
4. Drop dough in heaping tablespoonfuls over topping in the pan. A tablespoon cookie scoop, slightly overfilled, works well here.
5. Bake biscuits for 15 minutes. Turn oven off, and leave them in the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
6. Remove biscuits from oven, and immediately turn pan over onto a serving plate. Lift off the pan and scrape any topping left in the pan onto biscuits. Pull biscuits apart to serve.

Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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