Let me introduce you to my latest obsession – the buttermilk biscuit. Growing up, my grandmother used to make make biscuits for our Sunday weekly family dinners, and most of the time they would get burned. So much so that “burned the biscuits” became a running joke in our family. When she passed, we started burning our biscuits on purpose at every family dinner. It didn’t feel right without it. Sometimes they were homemade heavy baking soda biscuits, and in the later years, they came from a Pillsbury can. Honestly, though it feels blasphemous to say, they were never that good.
The Thanksgivings and Christmases that have come and gone in the last five years since her passing have seen most everyone bringing or making a dish to pass, so the bulk of the preparation never lands on one person in particular. (My mom might have a disagreement with that, but she *is* the reigning matriarch – with great power comes great responsibility) this past Thanksgiving was held at my brother’s house. 25 of us (blood relatives and heart relatives – all family) managed to cram ourselves into their dining room, spread ourselves over three tables, and had a very *ehem* “cozy” meal. And by the principals set forth of our dish to pass feast, we had a MASSIVE amount of food and variety.
Usually at family gatherings, I get a bit of a pass because i don’t live there, don’t have access to my kitchen where I know what I have, and am not going to go out and buy $30 worth of stuff to make one dish. And you’d be surprised how different the grocery selection and prices are from NYC to upstate. Less tropical fruit variety and WAY more expensive, but milk and eggs are dirt cheap. But I decided this year, I was going to make the famed biscuits, except I was going to make them from scratch. Believe me, my mom tried to talk me out of it as it crept closer to dinner, but you know me – once I decide to do something…
I found this recipe called “Grandma’s Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits” and decided it was a sign – these were the biscuits I needed to make. I did a double batch, and good thing too, because they were half gone before dinner even started! I modified some things from that recipe that made these work perfectly for me, and I hope you enjoy them too!
Single Girl Cookies’ Thanksgiving Biscuits
2 1/2 cups White Lily Flour (soft winter wheat – hard to find, but I use White Lily brand)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) COLD butter
1 cup of buttermilk – I like to make my own! Cause who keeps buttermilk in their fridge?? For every cup of milk, add 1 tablespoon of an acid, vinegar or lemon juice. I like lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 425 F
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If you have a food processor, put your dry ingredients along with chunks of your mega cold butter. Pulse until you see pea sized chunks and return your dough back to the bowl. For those of us who have tiny NYC apartments and kitchens (not me – my kitchen is actually pretty big) and do not own food processors (me), use a dough cutter to mix and break up the butter into smaller pieces. Slowly add in your buttermilk and mix until shaggy. I like to use my hands.
Bring your messy ball of mush to a floured surface (I even dust my wax paper) and roll out until about an inch thick. Fold it over on itself and do this maybe once or twice more – do not over do it! For those of you with ocd tendencies like myself, this will be a real test of wills. You will see little chunks of butter and spots where the flour is a bit clumpy – IT IS OK. I repeat – IT IS OK, this is what it is supposed to look like. Take a round cookie cutter or glass and cut your biscuits. Also resist the urge to twist as you come up out of the dough – that crimps the edges and prevents it from rising into that beautiful, fluffy, flaky, buttery creation we all want to pound the minute they come out of the oven.
Bake at 425/450F (you know your oven) for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown. Brush with melted butter. DEVOUR.
If you’re curious about my specification of what flour to use, read this: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/11/better-biscuits-south-thanksgiving/576526/
Absolutely FASCINATING. Food science ftw!