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Perfect Picnic Biscuits

Article by Judy Beaudin

Photography by Judy Beaudin

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Grab a picnic basket and pack a few no-mess small bites that require minimal set up and make it easy to roll out a blanket, take a seat, and relax in the great outdoors.

What is it about summertime that makes the simple idea of taking a meal outside sound like such a good time? There’s a certain appeal to leaving behind the distractions of home and heading out to eat accompanied only by the quiet sounds of nature. I bet I’m
not the only one whose idea of a summer party is dinner or lunch on a blanket or old wooden table in the park. My picnic basket is dusted off and ready for evenings at the vineyard and days by the lake.

Handhelds are the way to go when planning your picnic menu. There’s no need to set up a big spread when a basket of single portions allows everyone to grab a bite whenever they like. They’re easy to pack and don’t require utensils or big plates. These Mini Cheese Biscuits with Honey Glazed Ham and Blackberry Basil Jam are savory little bites that elevate typical picnic fare while keeping things simple. Add individual cups of pasta or potato salad, a few sliced cheeses, crackers, fruit, and some sweet treats, and you’re ready to head out the door. Gather some friends and get outside during National Picnic Month with a basket full of easy eats that everyone will love.

Mini Cheese Biscuits with Honey Glazed Ham and Blackberry Basil Jam
Makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¾-1 cup buttermilk
melted butter
Spiral sliced ham, cut into pieces
Blackberry Jam (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 450º.
Place dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to blend. Add butter pieces and cheddar. Pulse until butter pieces are the size of peas.
Transfer to a large bowl. Use a fork to gently stir in buttermilk, ¼ cup at a time, until dough just holds together. It shouldn’t be wet or sticky.
On a floured surface, pat the dough out to ½” thick. Fold in half and pat out again to ¾” thick. Use a 2” round cutter to form biscuits. Place in an 8”x 8” pan with edges just touching. Brush tops with butter.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.
Slice biscuits in half. Spread each with blackberry jam and add a ham slice.

Blackberry Basil Jam
Makes about 3 half pint jars

4 cups blackberries
2 cups packed basil leaves

3 tablespoons Sure-Jel less or no sugar needed pectin
2¾ cups sugar
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt

Pulse blackberries and basil in bowl of a food processor a few times until berries are broken up and basil leaves are small bits.
Whisk together pectin and ¼ cup of the sugar in a small bowl.
In a large pot, stir together berry mixture, apple juice, lemon juice, butter, remaining 2½ cups of sugar, and salt.
Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Gradually whisk in pectin mixture.
Bring back to a boil and stir 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened.
Pour into jars and allow to cool. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, jam can be processed in a hot water bath canner.

"My picnic basket is dusted off and ready for evenings at the vineyard and days by the lake."

  • Photo by Lifestyle By LeBlanc