I know that capital letters should be used sparingly to preserve their impact. That being said, this statement requires capitals: I LOVE BISCUITS. This evening I made a giant pot of turkey soup; turkey, carrots, roasted potatoes, celery, rosemary and thyme. . . it was delicious, but what really made the meal was the biscuits. Buttermilk biscuits are amazing (I'll try not to overuse that adjective); they are buttery, flaky, tender, crisp and golden on the outside, fluffy on the inside. In a word: heavenly. I really had to restrain myself from eating all of them.
Don't be fooled into thinking that biscuits out of a tube are "where it's at." Homemade biscuits are in a league of their own. Here's the thing: they really aren't as hard to make as you might think. They are marginally more difficult to make than popping open a tube, but they are infinitely tastier.
I'm hereby issuing a challenge to all of those Pillsbury Grands fans out there. Give the real thing a try, it will make your meal so much more enjoyable! Let's get started, shall we?
3 cups all purpose flour (400g)
4 teaspoons baking powder (12g)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (15g)
1 teaspoon salt (5g)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (5g)
3/4 cup chilled butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (320g)
*You will note that I have included amounts for volume and weight; not everyone has a scale in the kitchen, but scales are a far more precise way to bake and you will have more consistent results if you measure by weight*
1. Preheat your oven to 450˚F. Note: you must make sure your oven is up to temperature before you put the biscuits in. If your oven is not hot enough the butter will melt out before the biscuits bake through.
2. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar in a large bowl.
3. Cube butter and drop pieces one by one in to the flour mixture.
4. With your pastry blender cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles small crumbs with some pea-sized clumps. I suppose you could a food processor for this step, but doing it by hand doesn't take long, and it's kinda fun.
5. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and stir until everything starts to come together.
6. Turn "dough" out onto a floured surface and kneed it a couple of times, just to incorporate the loose crumbs. You don't want to over work the dough or the butter will melt and you won't get the nice flaky biscuits you crave. The more you handle the dough the tougher the biscuits will turn out (and the messier your hands will be).
7. Sprinkle a little flour on top and get out your rolling pin. Roll out the dough to between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch thick and then you can use your favorite cookie cutter or just use a knife to cut out individual biscuits. I like to make heart shaped biscuits <3
8. Place biscuits on a nonstick sheet pan or a pan lined with parchment paper. The biscuits won't spread so much as they will poof, so you can have them pretty close together, but not touching.
9. Pop them in the oven and bake until golden, usually about 14-20 minutes.
10. Enjoy warm!
While these biscuits pair very nicely with soups and stews I have also been known to enjoy them with berries and cream (strawberry shortcake!) or just slathered in jam or honey, or just plain. Simple food is wonderful. Cheers!