Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Good morning and Happy Saturday!

Before I head off to the ranch to check progress on the fence installation, I thought I would post my new favorite biscuit recipe.

And yes, they were scooped and dropped, not rolled.

Sounds like a fire drill....

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Buttermilk Drop Biscuits – adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used White Lily Flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

Heat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a 2-cup liquid measure, stir together the chilled buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms small clumps. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture slightly pulls away from the edges of the bowl.

Using a greased ¼-cup measure, scoop out mounds of the dough and drop them onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake the biscuits until the tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with additional melted butter. Serve warm.

White Lily Buttermilk Biscuits

One thing I’m really trying to perfect is my biscuit-making ability.

And I’ve noticed that I always say “biscuit” in a hushed tone so the dogs don’t hear me, lest they think I have a treat for them….

I lack the fortitude necessary to roll out biscuit dough, because I’m always afraid of overworking it. Tough, dense biscuits are not something anyone looks forward to, which is why I always take the easy route and do the scoop/drop method. True, they’re not as pretty as their perfectly formed siblings, but they are always soft and tender and therefore, worthy.

So along the lines of expanding my biscuit making repertoire, I picked up a bag of White Lily Flour in our local HEB. I have read quite a bit about this particular flour, mainly that it contains a lower protein content than regular all purpose flour.

And a lower protein content means less gluten formation, which means more tender biscuits.

So by now, you’re probably thinking that I actually rolled out the dough and made photo-worthy biscuits?

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Not a chance. 

Maybe next time….

White Lily Flour Buttermilk Biscuits 

  • 2 cups White Lily Flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter (or shortening)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Toss the buttermilk in with a fork, adding more if necessary to achieve a cohesive dough. Scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking pan, then using your fingertips (wet them with water first!), smooth the dough into an even layer.

Bake in a preheated 500 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cornmeal Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

I had the most insightful, intellectual (and at one point, heartbreaking) conversation with Sabrina the other night at dinner. We had dropped Alexander off at school for the first football game of the school year – which left us to our own devices.  We debated briefly about what to do for dinner, and ultimately decided to head over to the local pizza place.

During the course of dinner, we talked about everything – from boys (always cute to hear who is on the hot list - for her, not me), make-up (less is better), hair (to cut or not to cut?), cars (she’s so tired of everyone asking when she will be driving), clothes (remember, she dresses me sometimes), the fact that she’s going to be 18 in less than two years (at that point I ordered another glass of wine), and of course, the demeanor of girls at school.

That’s the part that was so hard to take. Why is it that girls are so mean? Why are they so hateful, spiteful, conniving, and flat out cruel? I hear it from parents all the time – it doesn’t matter which school these kids go to – public or private – the girls are all the same. I tried to tell her that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, there are people that you will never get along with.

The tears started to flow a little bit at that point, but fortunately, someone came into the restaurant with a little fluffy dog and her mood improved instantly. The conversation quickly turned to, “what kind of dog should we get next”? After all, I firmly believe that dogs make the world a better place. Which is why I want another one. Or two. But mostly one. A French Bulldog that I can name Marcel. Or, maybe a Shih Tzu that I can name Shifu (you know, the master from Kung Fu Panda).

I think Daisy would like a friend.

Or two :)

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Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits- adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbs. honey
2 cup all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 tbs. cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, buttermilk and honey. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes to soak the cornmeal.

Add flour, baking powder and baking soda to a food processor and pulse to mix. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture is coarse.

Pour the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop 6 biscuits into each pan in a circular pattern – 5 around the edges and 1 in the center.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 12

Chocolate Shortcakes

Way back in 2008, when I started my very first blog, I joined a baking group called “Tuesdays with Dorie”, a group dedicated to baking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s new (at that time) baking book, “Baking From My Home to Yours”.

Due to circumstances in my life at the time, I had to drop out of the group and therefore never completed baking my way through the book……. but one thing is for certain – I had a lot of fun during my journey – meeting new people and certainly trying out recipes I’m not sure I would have unless I was encouraged to.

Anyway, where I’m headed with this story is that during the course of my membership with the group, we never made it to this recipe. And I wish I had! I mean, a biscuit is one thing, but a CHOCOLATE biscuit? I’m all in!

These were really good but due to baker error ** cough cough **  I overbaked them and thus they were cursed with the dreaded “D” word……dry…..

Fortunately (for me) that’s an easy problem to fix …..and now that strawberry season is almost upon us, I can’t wait to make these again..

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Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, the leftover biscuits were crumbled, toasted, and turned into pie crust crumbs…..

Chocolate Shortcakes – adapted from dorie greenspan

1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk the milk, vanilla and egg together.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into a large bowl.  Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour.  Quickly, working with a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and toss and gently turn the ingredients with a fork until you’ve got a very soft dough.  When the dough comes together, you’ll probably still have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl – just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead the dough until it’s evenly blended. Don’t overdo it; it’s better to have a few dry spots than an overworked dough. Even with all the flour mixed in, the dough will be soft and sticky.

Spoon out about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between the mounds. Pat each mound down until it is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add at least 5 more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point, until the shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded.  Pull the sheet from the oven and transfer the shortcakes to a cooling rack.

My favorite Buttermilk Biscuits

It’s been said that it isn’t nice to play favorites. But we all do. Whether it’s a favorite clothing store (helloooo Michael Stars), favorite jewelry store (I’m looking at you Thomas Sabo), or a favorite baker/baking book author (Nick Malgieri is my hero), we all have that one thing that tickles our pointed little hearts with joy.

Or our tummies.

In my case, these biscuits have become my favorite. I’ve tried other recipes, sure, but these — these are perfect (to me) in every way. Crisp on the outside, fluffy (but not dry!) on the inside, with a nice tang from the buttermilk……they were exceptional with the fried chicken I made on Friday night. And easy, too – preparing them “drop style” just simplifies the process that much more – especially when you’re multi-tasking to the extreme.

Who, me?

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Buttermilk Drop Biscuits – adapted from Nick Malgieri

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2  tsp salt
14 tbs. unsalted butter, cold and cut into 12 pieces
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Line 2 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse again repeatedly until no visible pieces of butter remain and the mixture is still cool and powdery, but not pasty. Invert to a mixing bowl and carefully remove the blade.  Add the buttermilk and use a rubber spatula to scrape upward from the bottom of the bowl and moisten the dough as evenly as possible. Using a large 2″ cookie scoop, drop the batter into the prepared pans, arranging the dough with 5 scoops around the outside and 1 in the middle. Place in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with butter, honey, or jam.

Fluffy Sunday Morning Biscuits

It’s official……….I’ve become just like my dad.

The dynamic duo back in September

Here I sit, at my desk, surrounded by computers. I’ve got one on each side of me, Ipad/Iphone syncing as I type, paperwork strewn about, external hard drives furiously backing everything up, updating files, looking at old photos (yikes!)…. all at the unthinkable hour of 6:30 in the morning.

The difference? He usually does his work at around 11:00 at night.. That’s his cerebral time. Me? I’m unconscious at that hour. Of course, he thinks I have a mental condition for getting up at 5 a.m., but that’s another story.

The comical part about all this is that I’m using a Sony Vaio and a MacBook – two very different computers -  I keep forgetting that the scrolling/keyboard functions are not the same …… so I think there’s something wrong with the computer when it won’t scroll down, when it’s just (wait for it……wait for it…..) user error.

Figures.

Oh, and by the way Dad….I actually set up the new printer for wireless printing. And get this….. IT WORKED!! I felt so tech-savvy I did a little happy dance.

The posse were not amused.

Fluffy Biscuits – adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs double-acting baking powder
1 tbs sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cold low-fat buttermilk

1 cup all-purpose flour, distributed on a rimmed baking sheet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 500 F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Also, spray the inside and outside of a 1/4-cup measure with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the dough: Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter evenly over the dry ingredients then pulse 8-10 times, or until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Dump the contents of the food processor into a large bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula just until everything is incorporated (the dough will be quite wet and sticky and somewhat lumpy).

To form the biscuits: Using the 1/4 cup measure you sprayed earlier and working quickly, scoop level 1/4 cup mounds of dough and drop them into the flour on the baking sheet. Continue until you’ve scooped all of the dough – you should have 12 mounds of dough. Use some of the flour from the baking sheet to dust the top of each mound. Flour your hands, then, one at a time, pick up each piece of dough (coating with extra flour if necessary so you can work with it) and gently shape it into a rough ball. Shake off the excess flour and place in the prepared cake pan. Repeat with the remaining mounds of dough, fitting 9 biscuits around the outer edge of the pan and 3 in the middle.

Gently brush the top of each biscuit with some of the melted butter (don’t press down and flatten them). Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 450 F and continue baking for another 13-15 minutes, or until the biscuits are deep golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the biscuits cool for 2 minutes, then invert them onto a clean kitchen towel. Flip the biscuits over and break them apart.

Big Puffy Biscuits

Several weeks ago, the posse and I were introduced to the unique culinary concoction commonly referred to as “Biscuits and Gravy”.

For real.

Yes…. I know I’ve lived a sheltered life, but just roll with me for a moment, ok?

I’ve been told it’s a southern specialty. So, using a bit of common logic, I discovered where the problem lies….

1. I’m not from the south..

2. The closest I’ve come to the southern states is flying over them at 35,000 feet.

and

3. And quite frankly, it never looked appealing to me at all. Something just didn’t seem right.

hmmmmm……

However, when the offer was presented to have the aforementioned specialty prepared for us from scratch, I threw caution to the wind and decided to live dangerously.

And purposely did not watch the gravy making process… which consisted of sausage grease, flour and milk cooked together into an artery clogging sauce…

** shudder **

BUT (and there is always a but) let me say this……for something that looked so incredibly unappetizing on the plate (I think it’s color that throws me off), the posse and I agreed that it sure tasted PDA (pretty darn amazing).

Right about now you might be asking yourself, why is she rambling on and on about biscuits and gravy when all I see is a picture of a biscuit?

Glad you asked….because in a strange cosmic coincidence, about a week prior to gravy-making day I received my “recipe of the day” from allrecipes.com for big fluffy biscuits.

They were exactly what I’d hoped they would be – puffy, tasty, carb-o-licious bites of pillowy wonder.

Ahhhhhhhh :)

Big Puffy Biscuits – adapted from allrecipes.com

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbs. granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in buttermilk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead just until the dough comes together. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a large metal biscuit cutter. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet. Chill

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F . Brush the tops of the biscuits with additional buttermilk and bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.