Thursday, May 12, 2016

Baking Powder Biscuits

Biscuits are some of life's most perfect food, I think.  I've made this particular recipe for baking powder biscuits hundreds of times over the last 15 years, and I never tire of them.  They are fantastic however you eat them - spread with butter and honey, or homemade jam, with lemon marmalade and slices of ham for breakfast the morning after Christmas dinner, or my recent favorite, drizzled with pure maple syrup.

I usually make them plain, but they're also amazing with cheese and herbs stirred into the dough.  The original recipe is from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, but over the years I've tweaked it here and there to suit me better, and I'm so pleased with the result.

Baked at a high temperature, their golden brown crust gives way to a fluffy, tender center that's one of the best things you'll ever put in your mouth.  Hot from the oven, I brush their tops with melted butter and then serve them piping hot.  Sometimes I like to sprinkle the tops with a little freshly cracked pepper.  They can be dropped by the spoonful onto a baking sheet, but I like how they look when cut into pretty rounds, and while I know I sound like a baking nerd, I find it pretty exciting watching them puff up in the oven.

Baking Powder Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup cold, whole milk or buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Use a pastry cutter to cut in 6 tablespoons butter until crumbly.  (If you want to add grated cheese and/or herbs, add those now.)  Stir in the milk just until moistened and use your hands to gather it up into a craggy dough, but don't overwork the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, gently pat the dough out to 1 inch thick.  Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter (my preferred size is 2 1/4 inches) trying to cut as many biscuits as you can the first time, then gather up the scraps and cut those as well (the scrap biscuits don't bake quite as prettily, but are always tasty).  You should be able to cut about 8-9 biscuits.

Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.

Melt the remaining two tablespoons butter in a small bowl and brush over the tops of the biscuits as soon as you take them out of the oven.  Serve immediately.

Yields 8-9 biscuits

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen