Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The only time I ever make biscuits is for Thanksgiving. I'll add a little chopped rosemary to make them "different" but let's face it, more bread is about the last thing anyone needs to eat with a plate full of stuffing and mashed potatoes sitting in front of them. Even though I didn't (and never do) have 12 people to feed, I decided to make some biscuits this past weekend just to use up some buttermilk and cake flour. (What? It's established that I have way to much random crap in my cupboards.) And I wanted to have something for breakfast other than cereal. I made these from start to finish in about 20 minutes, not because I'm a fabulous baker but because they are so simple.
They're not unlike scones (without the cream) and as a basic recipe it's just as easy to make them more savory to accompany dinner or more sweet to have for breakfast or...whatever. I'll admit that I may have jammed some chocolate chunks into a few dough balls just to see what would happen. Ah-May-Ziiing! Be sure to eat them warm with extra butter (and Blood Orange Marmalade, if you have it).
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plain cake flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 45o°F.
2. Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger lumps (see photo below).
3. Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and form into a rough ball. Be careful not to overmix. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds. Gently shape each piece into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake until the biscuits are light brown, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 12 biscuits.
*Note: You can use 2 cups of all-purpose flour in place of the cake flour/all-purpose combo, just increase the buttermilk by two tablespoons.