Saturday, November 27, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have been on the search for the ultimate biscuit recipe for years.  There are a few that I have discovered that I really enjoy, but none of them are plain buttermilk biscuits.  Instead they usually involve the addition of cheese and other herbs or seasonings.  And as much as I love these fancied up biscuits, I am always trying to find the PERFECT biscuit recipe that I can make for any occasion and serve slathered with white sausage gravy, just as easily as in a bread basket with dinner.  Today I stumbled across this recipe and in my neverending hunt for the perfect biscuit I gave it a try.  

So this biscuit recipe falls somewhere between a scone and a sweet biscuit that you would use for making shortcakes.  It's definitely not the savory biscuit that I was planning on when I first started baking.  It's probably my fault for not thinking the recipe through more clearly.  All I saw was a biscuit recipe that was very simple and only included ingredients I already had in the kitchen.  I didn't stop to think about it further.  But had I stepped back and thought about it, I would have realized that any biscuit recipe that contains 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of heavy cream brushed over the top of the biscuits would end up being more scone-like than biscuit-like.  So I might end up having the rest of these biscuits for breakfast slathered with jam and served alongside a cup of tea.  I think they will be delicious that way.  I also think that with a little extra sugar sprinkled on top that they would make a fantastic cobbler topping.  The hunt for the perfect biscuit continues...

Recipe after the jump!

Buttermilk Biscuits
June 2005

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
rounded 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda onto a sheet of wax paper, then sift again into a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist).
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream.

Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

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