"Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits." -- Carl Sandburg
Since one of the goals of our blog is to be a virtual recipe box for future generations, it is my personal opinion that our collection of recipes would not be complete without a biscuit recipe. I would have to say that buttermilk biscuits are one of my all time, in my top ten, comfort foods… right up there with mashed potatoes, ice cream, chocolate and chicken-fried steak. And while I do freely acknowledge that buttermilk biscuits made with white flour are nutritionally bereft, there are occasions, when this one time (and perhaps still) staple of the Southern table will satisfy like nothing else.
I may not have been making biscuits as long as a Southern Granny, even so, I have made many a biscuit in my day. I began making biscuits regularly as a teenager. I still remember the drinking glass whose mouth had just the perfect size circumference that I used to punch the biscuits out with on the floured board in our small farm kitchen. These days, even though I now use a stainless steel cutter with a nice sharp edge to release perfect circles from the round of dough, I still love to bake them... however infrequently. I confess that I do not make them very often anymore due to my quest to reduce my consumption of white flour. However, when I do have occasion to bake them these days, there is something so satisfying about rolling out the white buttery dough that smells of buttermilk, brushing them with cream, and then watching as they puff up as if under a magic spell while they turn golden brown in the oven.
A few months back I had a very long, tense and tiring day at work. Very much in need of a little TLC… and knowing it would need to be provided by yours truly if I was to have any, I decided to splurge and prepare three of my top ten faves for a quick dinner. This plan brightened my mood considerably. In under an hour I had mashed potatoes, chicken-fried steak with pan gravy and buttermilk biscuits drizzled with raw honey on the table. I sipped a rich Sonoma County Cabernet while I prepared my dinner and put together a salad (my concession to healthy eating for that meal), and when dinner was served, I patted the chef on the back, and surrendered to the feast saying, “Thank you, Linda… that will do. Yes, that will do.”
|No, I did not eat this all myself... but there were some yummy leftovers for the next day.|
Making biscuits became much easier when I started mixing the dough in my food processor.
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the 1/4 tsp of salt) and cut into small squares
a generous 3/4 cup of buttermilk
milk or cream for brushing on tops
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicone baking mat. Blend first five ingredients together in a food processor. Cut in butter, with on-off pulses, until evenly blended. Add buttermilk all at once. Process just until it forms into a ball. Do not over mix! Pat or roll out the dough on a generously floured board until 3/4-thick. Cut with a floured cutter, without twisting. Place the biscuits closely together. Brush the tops lightly with milk or heavy cream to aid browning and to produce a nice sheen. Place the biscuits in the oven shielded by a cookie sheet on the top rack. After 5 minutes, turn the oven down to 350°F. Bake biscuits for approximately 20 minutes (total baking time), until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.