Oh man, are you in for it. You're going to get my famous, highly-sought-after, treasure of a biscuit recipe today. And this is the best part - it's free! I won't even charge you! Of course, I fully expect you to find me and throw money at me anyway. These biscuits are that good.
When my kids smell these baking they're like, "SWEET, MOM!" I like to make them when we have soup or my favorite - pot roast. I make roast in the crock pot, coating the meat in flour before searing it, then slow cooking it all day with carrots. When it's on the table and cooling down a bit, the juices thicken into gravy. I take a biscuit, break it open and put that thick, roast beef gravy on it. Forget jam or honey or preserves. I'm all about the gravy, man. Gravy is my friend.
My mom used to make the best gravy ever. When I was a kid, we'd come home from church, and Mom would start frying chicken for Sunday dinner. She'd make milk gravy with the chicken drippings and it was the best. EVER. I challenge anyone to make better chicken gravy than my mom.
I'm not much of a turkey or brown gravy gal. Exception being the roast beef gravy.
Why am I talking about gravy so much? I think my gravy levels have fallen dangerously out of therapeutic range. I need a transfusion NOW.
But biscuits just go with gravy. Like chocolate goes with hazelnut or peanut butter goes with dill pickles. WAIT. Did I just say that out loud?
OK, you caught me. I really eat peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches and if I hear one more, "Eeeeeewww! ", from you guys it'll end up on Fat Friday so you better watch the smarty pants comments.
Could I digress any more from the subject matter? Let's make biscuits. But before I do, let me show you what I'm wearing . . .
A new apron, modeled by Katie who isn't too happy I pulled her away from SpongeBob. I saw it in a little tea shop today, when I was with Davi and Lisa and Susie. Davi took us all out to tea so we could meet her sweet MIL, visiting from Texas. This apron was in the gift shop and it made me laugh out loud! Plus it was pink. How could I pass it up?
So anyway, now that I'm appropriately attired, I can make biscuits. Ready? Here goes . . .
4 c. flour (I use half whole wheat pastry flour and half all purpose)
2 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
4 t. sugar
1 t. cream of tartar
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
1-1/4 c. buttermilk
That's it. Nothing fancy. Except maybe the cream of tartar. What the heck does cream of tartar do? Anybody know? Should have paid more attention in home ec I guess.
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a big bowl . . .
. . . and cut the butter into the dry ingredients. It should look like this -
Voila! See the small little pebbles of butter? You don't want them to be perfectly incorporated into the flour. The idea is to have little, flour-coated butter balls scattered throughout your dough. When the biscuits are baking in the oven, these butter pebbles will melt, cause steam and the steam will cause the dough to separate into layers as it bakes. Lots of layers = flakiness and tenderness.
I guess what I'm trying to say is - all those years of taking cooking in 4-H makes me a genius food blogger.
Bye. It's been nice knowing you.
Make a well in the center of your butter ball infested dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Stir and mix until you have a dough that can be rolled out. I sometimes have to add a bit more buttermilk to get it to come together.
When I found this recipe - around 20 years ago in some women's magazine - the instructions said to "knead the dough 10 or 11 times". I totally blew this off. Personally, I think the less you handle the dough, the more tender it is. Plus it made my hands messy. I'm way too high maintenance to stick my hands in gooey dough. Why else did God invent spoons and spatulas for crying out loud?
Put the dough on a pastry cloth or a heavily floured countertop and pat it down. You don't even need to use a rolling pin - just your hands will do.
See how thick it is? Just under an inch. Now start cutting out your biscuits!
I use a biscuit cutter. These are sold in sets of graduated sizes and this 2-1/2 inch cutter is perfect for me. You can also use cookie cutters but make sure you use something with a sharp edge. I've seen people use drinking glasses and this will press the dough together around the edges, making it hard for the biscuit to rise and separate into those flaky layers. Biscuits like their clean sharp edges, man.
Since they don't spread like cookies, I load them all on the cookie sheet together. This recipe makes 19 biscuits and I can fit them on all at once.
Bake 12 - 14 minutes at 425F, until they're a nice golden brown across the top.
Beauty. You can see the layers from the side. Mmmmmm - buttery, flaky goodness coming right up!
Can you also see how they're a bit lop-sided? I have no idea why they do this. Feel free to fire me as the expert.
We all have our favorite ways of eating them. Matthew likes his plain - no butter or anything, Katie likes butter and strawberry jam on hers and Duane and Daniel like honey. They put the honey on carefully then let it soak in until it's at the perfect honey-saturation level before eating it. I like mine with rhubarb butter or gravy. They're especially good the next morning, sandwiching a sausage patty. And if that isn't a heck of a reason to double the recipe . . . .
How do you like your biscuits?