Saturday, July 12, 2008

Buttermilk Biscuits

Whenever I have some extra buttermilk laying around, I love making these biscuits. This recipe has been tried several times, and delicious fluffy biscuits are always the end result.

2 c. all-purpose flour
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
large pinch, salt
1 T. butter
3 T. shortening
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in fats with a pastry cutter, two butter knives, or just use your fingers like I do. There is no need to cut the fats until they are tiny, just make sure that there are no pieces larger than the size of a raisin left behind. Add the buttermilk and fold with a spoon until just combined - do not over-mix! Turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll into a 1"-thick round, then cut with a 3" round cookie cutter. Alternatively, you can scoop the dough into a baking sheet directly from mixing bowl (this is how I normally bake them, as it gives a nice texture on the tops of the biscuits). Cut 12 biscuits out of the dough - hopefully there won't be much left over, or your biscuits are going to come out short.

Position the biscuits on a baking sheet so they are just touching each other at the edge. This ensures that they rise straight up. Dent the top of the biscuit with your thumb (something I forgot to do until close to the end). If you are spooning the dough straight to the baking sheet, the biscuits do not need to be touching each other or dented. Bake for 20 minutes, then move directly to a cooling rack. Allow to cool a few minutes before eating. Yields 1 dozen biscuits.

If you want biscuits with more butter flavor, you can substitute add more butter and take out the shortening, though it will make the biscuits shorter and a little crispier. This basic buttermilk biscuit recipe is like an empty canvas when it comes to exploring other flavors. Using this recipe, I've adapted to make cheesy biscuits, rosemary biscuits, oregano biscuits - and it's easy to make all of them. Biscuits and gravy were always a favorite of mine when I was young, so I'm sure I'll get around to making a batch of that as well.

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