I have been all about bread recently…Skillet Cornbread and then, most recently, Buttery Potato Burger Buns. And guess what? I must be on a roll (ha! pun intended), but I’m going to stay the course today and share a recipe with you for Buttermilk Biscuits. And not any ole buttermilk biscuits, but these golden delicious darlings happen to be Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits!
Now I must admit the Husband and I do love our buttermilk biscuits and have always been on the lookout for the “best” recipe. I took a look back at my catalog of past recipes and found four different ones for the elusive best buttermilk biscuit. There were the Buttermilk Biscuits that I baked for my Spicy Pork & Chorizo Breakfast Biscuits
That is a lot of Buttermilk Biscuits, no? So what makes these biscuits Bon Appétit’s best? And perhaps more importantly are they our best? Well, there does not seem to be any secret ingredient to be found in this recipe – it’s flour, butter, buttermilk, baking powder and soda, a little salt and sugar. Nope, it isn’t the ingredients. It is all about the technique. You need to use cold butter. You need to work quickly and have a very light touch. Overworking the dough will result in tough biscuits. Nobody wants that. Tender, fluffy & flaky are what we are going for!
As you are mixing these biscuits up, you are probably going to think that the recipe is too dry. Resist the urge to add any more buttermilk. Just continue to lightly work that shaggy, craggy, crumbly dough as best you can into a square that is 1″ tall. As the dough sits it will continue to hydrate. Believe me. I was skeptical as I was doing it, but it really does work! Another trick that makes these biscuits so irresistible is the stacking of the dough. This ends up creating layers of thin sheets of butter. Kind of like that laminated dough I told you about when I made these Spinach Croissants
It is these little butter rivers running through the dough that expand upon baking to create this lovely tall layers.
Final tip – when you cut the dough into biscuits, use a sharp blade and push your blade straight down to cut. Do not saw back and forth. This will help to give you biscuits the tallest rise possible.
And perhaps the best thing about this recipe for me is that you can make up a big batch of biscuits ahead of time and freeze them. Then when you get a hankering for a biscuit, be it for breakfast with some egg and sausage or even country ham, or slathered with butter and drizzled with honey or maybe to go along with your Sunday dinner, just grab however many you want out of the freezer and pop them right into a hot oven. A mere 20 -25 minutes later these exquisite golden tall flaky biscuits will be ready. Now you can’t beat that! But back to that question “Are these Buttermilk Biscuits our best?” Hmmm…these are definitely up there! They were so buttery & golden and rose so high with lots of flaky layers, but I’m not sure the quest is over. Certainly the continued pursuit will lead to even more biscuit sampling, which is always a good thing in my book!
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces, plus more melted for brushing over the tops
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425° F. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and 3½ cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add chilled butter and pulse until largest pieces of butter are the size of a pea. Transfer to a large bowl and gradually drizzle buttermilk over top, tossing with a fork as you go to incorporate. Knead mixture a few times in bowl until a shaggy dough forms (mixture will look a little dry), then turn out onto a clean surface and pat into a 1″-thick square.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut dough into 4 pieces. Stack pieces on top of one another, sandwiching any loose dry bits of dough between layers, and press down to flatten. Lift up dough with bench scraper and dust surface with flour. Roll dough into a 1″-thick rectangle and trim a thin border around sides of dough to create clean edges. Cut into a 4×3 grid to make 12 biscuits (don’t reroll scraps). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2″ apart; freeze 10 minutes.
Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if you desire and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400° and bake biscuits until deep golden brown on bottom and golden on top, 20–25 minutes.
Do Ahead: Biscuits (unbaked) can be made 1 month ahead. Freeze, uncovered, on baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Do not thaw before baking, but add a few minutes to baking time.
Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Bon Appétit’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits:
Anyone out there heard of Nashville Hot Chicken? If you have, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to finish that happy dance you must be doing at the mention of it right now, for those of you who haven’t … Oh, good Lord child, hold onto your hat! Nashville Hot Chicken is the local specialty of Nashville. You see in Nashville, they don’t just have fried chicken, which is awesome all on its lonesome, I must say. No, they have a very special, spicy hot chicken. Served up atop a piece of white bread and topped with pickles, the chicken there is marinated in a hot, spicy buttermilk brine, dredged in a spicy hot flour dredge, fried and then slathered with a fiery cayenne glaze – and that’s the mild version! Folks in Nashville are not playing! This chicken is a taste sensation that will truly light up all of your senses! The husband and I love us some spicy food, so this is right up our alley.
As is Nashville. The chicken isn’t the only thing that’s hot there! Obviously if you love country music, you should make a bee line for this destination. But country music isn’t the only thing on the menu – we’ve pretty much come across every genre of music when visiting there. They don’t call it Music City for nothing! Not to mention, if you love food – the dynamic food scene you will find in Nashville is amazing! The signature hot chicken isn’t all there is to be had, so those of you with more tender taste buds do not need to despair.
The husband and I have visited two times and are always planning for our next trip there. We’ve enjoyed all sorts of music entertainment – from beloved bluegrass at the iconic Station Inn to all that the honky tonks of Broadway have to offer! And food wise – yes we have sampled the Nashville Hot Chicken (more on that to come…) but we’ve also enjoyed inspired mexican dishes at St. Anjeo
and to die for fusion Indian/American southern dishes at the Chauhan Ale & Masala House
as well as all the barbecue, biscuits,
and fine dining you can shake a stick at. Nashville has it all going on ya’ll! And where should one stay while experiencing this bustling town? Well both times we’ve visited, we’ve stayed in a lovely suite at the Thompson Nashville in the Gulch.
The Gulch is a very trendy, hip neighborhood on the southwest fringe of downtown Nashville. It is only blocks from Music City Central and just steps to the downtown honky tonks. This luxury hotel shares the block with the aforementioned Station Inn and boasts a fantastic rooftop bar & lounge as well as an award winning restaurant. While I’m sure all of their rooms are lovely, the Thompson suite is absolutely decadent. So spacious, boasting floor to ceiling windows, wet bars, clawfoot bathtubs, rain showers and Nashville inspired finishes – such as sliding barn doors and Marshall bluetooth speakers – this room is a destination in itself.
But let me get back to that Hot Chicken. On our last visit to Nashville, the Husband and I decided to go sample some of the city’s hot chicken. Although the African-American community in the area had been enjoying spicy chicken for generations, Nashville Hot Chicken as it is now known was likely introduced in 1930. Apparently, there was a gentleman who was quite a womanizer. After a late night out, after which he was unable, or unwilling to provide the details of which to his current girlfriend, she saw fit to exact a little revenge on him and fried him up a special batch of chicken on which she quite liberally applied the cayenne. In a twist of fate, the victim here ended up really loving this fiery chicken. The gentleman for whom this revenge chicken was prepared was from the family of Andre Prince Jeffries – the proprietor of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shacks, one of the better known hot chicken places in Nashville. They’ve been serving up this signature dish since the 1930s. Currently there are over two dozen establishments in Nashville serving up their own versions of Hot Chicken. The husband and I chose to check out Hattie B’s Nashville Hot Chicken.
Hattie B’s is a no frills kind of place, we dined on a wooden picnic table on a screened in porch, but that doesn’t seem to stop folks from lining up around the block to get ahold of some of their molten gold. We stood in line for about 30 minutes on the day we visited, but it was so worth it!They offer several spice levels for their chicken – southern, mild, medium, hot, damn hot and shut the cluck up! So, as I’ve mentioned, we like spicy and consider ourselves somewhat spice experienced. Spice aficionados. So I decided to go for the hot chicken. The husband he went for damn hot. And we couldn’t resist ordering one chicken tender that was designated at the “shut the cluck up” level.
Well, all I can say is by Nashville Hot Chicken standards, we are pretty much novices. I could eat my “hot” chicken – but it took quite a good portion of that pitcher of beer we ordered to get it down. I’m telling you this was a brow mopping, slightly sweating experience. There was absolutely no way I was going to even attempt one small taste of the “shut the cluck up’ tender that had been sitting there mocking us as we persevered through our chicken choices. But the Husband, although his mouth was already on fire, was not one to back down to a challenge. So, God help him, he took a bite!
Yup…..just as I suspected. It was pretty much life changing! There are ghost peppers rumored to be in play here. What it taught us is respect. We respect Nashville Hot Chicken now. Oh we still order it, but are always careful to get a more descriptive explanation of the spice level involved, using Hattie B’s as a baseline. That chicken hurts so good, but is not for the faint of heart!
But back to this recipe I’m sharing with you today. Do not be scared. Although I am calling this Nashville Hot Chicken, it is very very mild to what I just described.
And if you really don’t like a lot of spice, don’t bother with the spicy glaze. What you must do is the brine. This chicken is so moist, tender and flavorful, which I think is mostly due to that brine. You don’t want to miss out on that. And just know going into this that chickens now a days are so bred to be so huge, more like turkeys really, it is unlikely you will be able to get the larger pieces like the breast and thighs done when deep-frying. You should plan to finish the chicken in the oven.
And although it is traditional to serve Nashville Hot Chicken with a piece of white bread and pickles, I served mine up with some soft, tender buttermilk biscuits which we slathered with honey butter.
Quite the treat I must say. The chicken is delicious, but these biscuits are pretty amazing all on their own. Soft and airy, but with a bit of a crispy crust on the outside. Sturdy enough to hold up as a sandwich. And out of this world simply smeared with honey butter!
So if you are ready for a taste adventure, book that trip to Nashville and give Prince’s or Hattie B’s a whirl. For an introduction to the cuisine, or to start your taste bud training, whip up this recipe!
Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter
Servings: 4 - 6
Difficulty: easy - but does involve deep-frying & all the mess that goes along with it...
1 Tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Frank’s
1/4 cup Nashville spice-mix
For the Seasoned Flour Dredge:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Nashville Spice Mix
For the dip:
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the glaze:
1/2 cup Nashville Spice Mix
1 cup reserved oil from frying
sea salt for seasoning
Whisk all of the ingredients for the Nashville Spice Mix together until combined and set aside.
Place the chicken in a large dish. Combine 4 cups of the buttermilk, hot sauce and the Nashville Spice Mix. Mix thoroughly and then pour over the chicken. Cover and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 – 8 hours. I prefer a longer marinade and just let the chicken marinate overnight.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to fry the chicken, remove it from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Then leave it to rest on a wire rack which has been placed over a baking sheet. Allow the chicken to drain and come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven the 350° F. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and spice mix and set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, egg, baking power and baking soda for the dip.
Place a large, heavy Dutch oven on the stove. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side and fill with about 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F.
Pick up a piece of the chicken, dredge it in the seasoned flour. Shake any excess flour from the chicken and then dip it into the egg mixture. Give it a shake and then dip it once more into the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess again.
Slide the coated chicken, skin side down into the hot oil. Once all of the chicken you are cooking in that batch has been added to the pan, adjust the flame as necessary. Cook for about 8-10 minutes and then check the chicken. It should be golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oil to baking tray lined with paper towels. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should register 165°F, if it has not reached this level, but is a perfect shade of golden brown, place the chicken into the preheated oven to finish cooking. Continue frying the chicken, remembering to allow the oil to return to 350°F between batches.
Once all of the chicken is cooked, move it from the paper towels to a wire cooling rack which has been set over a rimmed baking sheet. Add some of the hot cooking oil to the remaining Nashville Spice Mix and whisk until a paste forms. You want the paste to be thin enough to brush over the chicken as a glaze, so add as much oil as you need to achieve this consistency. Generously glaze the chicken and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Serve over a piece of white bread, along with some pickle chips if you want to be truly authentic. Or serve with some lovely Buttermilk Biscuits which have been slathered with Honey Butter, as I did. (Biscuit recipe noted below.)
Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter
servings: 8 – 16 biscuits depending on how you cut them!
For the biscuits:
2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) frozen unsalted butter
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
For the Honey Butter:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Grate the frozen butter over the flour mixture and toss until all the butter is coated. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just one or two times. The less touching the better. Pat the dough out to a 1″ thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits out, taking care not to twist the cutter. Just push straight down and pull straight up, otherwise your biscuits will not rise as high as you might hope.
Place the biscuits on the prepared tray and brush with the beaten egg. Bake until golden-brown, about 12 -14 minutes.
Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened butter, honey and salt. Mix until the butter is light and fluffy. Serve with warm biscuits and spicy chicken.
Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Nashville Hot Chicken & Buttermilk Biscuits with Honey Butter:
Thompson Nashville – This boutique hotel is located in the hip and trendy Gulch neighborhood of downtown Nashville, just a few minutes walk from It boasts a rooftop lounge, a cozy cafe and contemporary seafood restaurant. The cozy rooms feature floor to ceiling windows, sliding barn doors and premium linens.
Vincent Peach – Gorgeous jewelry featuring tahitian pearls, tusks, leather, vintage coins, fossils and pave diamonds as far as the eye can see. Worn by the likes of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Stephen Tyler.
Carter Vintage Guitars – Very friendly guitar store chock full of quality vintage instruments and accessories as well as a laid back and knowledgeable staff.
Now who doesn’t love a big old flaky biscuit, especially when it is warm out of the oven and slathered with butter?
I don’t know anyone who can resist them. And while there isn’t really any need to gild the lily as far as biscuits are concerned, I pretty much love them all, but I gotta say these Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits are pretty amazing.
So what we’ve got here is a pretty standard biscuit, but since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, I’ve added some lovely Irish ingredients like Guinness Stout, KerryGold Butter and some Irish Red Cheddar cheese.
These little gems come together very quickly. As with making any biscuit, it is very important to keep all of the ingredients cold before they hit the oven. What you’ll end up with is a light, flaky biscuit chock full of savory Irish cheddar, scallions and a real depth of flavor from that Guinness beer.
Tasty all on their own or the perfect accompaniment along side any irish stew, these Irish Cheddar & Stout Biscuits are a must for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!
7 oz. Irish Stout (like Guinness) or other dark beer, cold
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
Grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and quickly toss to coat all of the butter pieces. Place the bowl in the freezer to keep cold while you grate the cheese, slice the scallions and whisk the mustard into the beer.
Once all items are prepped and ready to go, remove the bowl from the freezer and mix in the cheese and scallions.
Make a well in the center and pour the mustard beer mixture into it. Mix together using a rubber spatula. Take care to only mix it until it just comes together – over mixing can result in a tough biscuit.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and fold it over onto itself a couple of times to bring the dough together. Pat it down until it reaches a thickness of 1 – 1 1/2 inches.
Cut biscuits out using a sharp biscuit cutter. ( I used a 2 1/4″ cutter) Remember not to twist the cutter, just push straight down. Twisting the cutter can cause the biscuits not to rise as high as they otherwise would.
Place the biscuits on a parchment lined sheet pan. Put the sheet pan in the freezer while the oven is preheating to 450°F.
Once the oven is preheated, remove the biscuits from the freezer and put them into the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 425°F. Bake for 15 -20 minutes until they are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter.
Hmmm…I really seem to be on a roll with the bread recipes lately. And here I go with yet another, Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits! I am very excited to share this recipe with you because not only is it very quick and easy but it also yields up some of the best buttermilk biscuits I have ever eaten. And it is not only me who is saying so, but also the husband, who happens to be a bit of a biscuit connoisseur. He whole-heartedly agrees. These biscuits are rich and buttery with a tender, moist crumb and a golden crisp crust.
I often make these biscuits in a mini size and serve them as appetizers (perfect for all of the Holiday parties happening now), topped with a bit of country ham, Bourbon Bacon Jam or Drunken Granny Apple Butter. But I have also made them into full-sized biscuits, great along side a bowl of soup or when stuffed with sausage, eggs, cheese and hash browns (what?…) for an awesome, eye-opening breakfast biscuit.
Now there are a few tricks you should keep in mind when making biscuits. The best flour to use is a low gluten flour, like cake flour. But I know not everyone has cake flour on hand and part of the beauty of this biscuit recipe is that it can be whipped up quickly. So by cutting a little corn starch into all-purpose flour that you undoubtedly have in supply, you can achieve the same high rise and tender crumb as a cake flour biscuit. The cream cheese addition to these biscuits not only gives them an extra richness but also encourages rise and flakiness. And always remember when you cut out biscuits, push the cutter straight through the dough. Do not twist. Twisting will inhibit biscuit rise.
So with a few tricks of the trade, you can have these fluffy, buttery golden beauties on your table in about 30 minutes. It’s a good thing that you can make these up so quickly because I guarantee you folks will go wild (otherwise known as “biscuit frenzy”) and you will find these biscuits gone before you know it.
Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits
Servings: 12 regular sized or 48 -50 appetizers sized biscuits
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the cream cheese and pulse a few times until incorporated with a few pea-sized pieces of cream cheese intact. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon until dough comes together into a craggy mass. Do not over mix.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with a bit more flour and bring together gently into a loose ball. Pat the dough into a 3/4 ” thick rectangle.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into thirds. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat out into a 3/4″ thick rectangle again, flouring the surface lightly as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
Cut the dough into thirds again. Stack the pieces on top of one another and pat into a 1/2″ thick circle if you are making appetizer biscuits, a 1/2″ thick rectangle if you are making regular biscuits.
Dust a 1 1/4″ biscuit cutter with flour and cut out as many appetizer biscuits as you can. Gather up the scraps, pat into a circle again and continue cutting out biscuits until no dough remains. Or if you are making full-sized biscuits, dust the blade of a sharp knife with flour and cut the dough into twelve even squares.
Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden on top and a deeper brown on the bottom.
So while I’ve got ya’ll thinking of baking bread after my last post about those Heavenly West Virginia Dinner Rolls, I thought I’d mention another bread recipe I love to make around the holidays, Cream Biscuits. Mind you not the cookie type of biscuit, but the bread-y type of biscuit as in Buttermilk Biscuits, but made with heavy cream instead of buttermilk. These little gems are fabulous for so many reasons. They are incredibly quick and easy to make. The only thing I could think of that would be easier is buying one of those “just add water” box mixes. And then I guess there is the old skipping the baking all together and just buying some store-bought biscuits. But let’s just assume that you want to make your own biscuits, this is super-duper easy yet delivers big time on indulgently comforting taste.
All you need to whip up a batch of these besides the ingredients are a bowl, spoon and a baking sheet (I’m assuming you have an oven…) No special tools needed. If you can stir a spoon around, you can make these biscuits. No rising times involved. There’s not even any rolling and cutting of the dough. You can simply drop these by the spoonful right onto the baking sheet. And as far as ingredients go, there are only 5 little old ingredients needed. Well I guess I should say six because you definitely want to brush these biscuits quite generously with some melted butter. I’m telling you, you will not believe how deliciously rich and decadent these biscuits are. And even though it only takes a few minutes to whip up a fresh batch, you can even make them up ahead of time and quick freeze them. Just drop them onto the baking tray and place them, tray and all in your freezer. Once the biscuits have frozen, take them off of the tray and put them in heavy-duty freezer Ziplock bags. When you find that you have a hankerin for some of these biscuits, just pop them frozen right onto a baking tray, brush them with butter and bake as you normally would. It might take a couple of extra minutes if you are baking from frozen, but still that is quite a time saver. Homemade biscuits in a flash!
Folks will be amazed at how quickly you can conjure up some mouth-watering biscuits that are light, moist and flaky with a satisfyingly crunchy edge. Only we will know how truly easy peasy it was to get there!
3 Tablespoons melted butter, for brushing over biscuits
Preheat an oven to 425°F.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the cream and stir until no lumps remain. Remember not to over mix the dough. Stir until ingredients are just combined.
For each biscuit, drop 1/4 cup batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing the biscuits about 1 inch apart. Brush melted butter over the tops of the biscuits.
Bake until the tops of the biscuits are pale golden and the bottoms are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.
*If you would like to make a bit more work for yourself or you just can’t stand the free-form look of drop biscuits, you can roll and cut them. You will need to generously flour your work surface as well as the top of the dough. Remember to handle the dough as little as possible or you will end up with tough biscuits. Roll or pat the dough to a thickness of about 3/4″. Using a sharp cookie or biscuit cutter, cut into rounds. Remember, resist the urge to twist your cutter. Twisting will cause your biscuits not to rise as high as you might like. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and proceed as noted above.
Maple Bacon Biscuits. Yup….probably don’t need to say anything else. I could just leave it right there, because I know I’ve already got the attention of all the biscuit lovers out there. (These are American biscuits…not the cookie variety but the big old buttery layered bready type). The husband loves biscuits, especially breakfast biscuits piled high with eggs, sausage and hash browns.
The puppy is a biscuit fan as well!
I tell you if someone whispers the word biscuit within a five-mile radius, his ears will perk up. I’m pretty sure that’s how it is with all the biscuit-y type folks out there. And then to stick the word bacon in front of it? I’ve likely got the attention of 99% of the population at this point. Bacon makes everything taste better. Must be why nearly everyone loves it. And those folks who don’t…you might want to keep an eye on them. Definitely find them a bit suspect. And then to bring maple flavour into the mix too….What you end up with is sweet/savoury flaky perfection!
I found the recipe for these Maple Bacon Biscuits in Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I absolutely love. They were very easy to make. Sometimes recipes for biscuits can get a bit fussy and obsessive, trying to get just one more micro-fraction of an inch more rise. No worries here, easy recipe with great results, which comes together quickly. The thing that takes the longest is waiting for that grease to set up I would imagine. You see, this biscuit recipe calls for a mixture of butter and cold bacon grease and instructs folks to put the grease from the bacon they just fried in the freezer to quickly solidify that fat. I just had to laugh. I have a ready supply of bacon grease in my fridge at all times. (Hey! Don’t make that face! At least I keep it in the fridge. My grandma always had it just sitting out on the ledge behind the stove.) I always save the grease when I fry up a batch of bacon. We fry all sorts of things in it later. Gives it a great salty, bacony flavour. Ever had an egg fried in bacon grease? YUM! I’ve included the instructions for readying the grease for these biscuits, but you might want to keep the bit you don’t use in the fridge for later. Don’t say no one ever told you… But back to these biscuits. They are amazing, all tender and flaky, slightly sweet and salty and peppered with bits of bacon. Eat one hot right out of the oven, slathered with butter and your weekend will be off to a grand start indeed!
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, chilled, chopped into small chunks
2 Tablespoons cold bacon grease
1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk
Fry bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on a few stacked paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a glass measuring cup so that you can see how much you have. Place your measuring cup in the freezer and freeze until fat is solid.
Chop the bacon into small bits, and place it in a small dish. Pour the maple syrup over the bacon and stir; then set the mixture aside.
Remove the solidified bacon fat from the freezer. Preheat your oven to 450 º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the four, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the butter and bacon fat over the top of flour mixture. Pulse until flour takes on a coarse meal appearance.
Place flour/butter mixture in bowl. Add the bacon/maple syrup mixture as well as the buttermilk. Blend together with a rubber spatula until dough forms. Knead just a couple of times, taking care to handle the dough as little as necessary. Pat the dough out to a 1″ thickness on a well floured surface. Using a 2″ cutter, cut biscuits, taking care not to twist cutter, but pushing straight down and then lifting. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven and immediately turn heat down to 425º F. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are puffed and golden.
Serve warm slathered in butter and jam. Or maybe with something else terribly naughty and delish! Stay tuned to next posting to find out what it is!
Chocolate Biscuit Cake is one of my favourite cakes. I had never heard of it before heading off to Ireland for college where I ran across it in a little bakery in Cork. The gal behind the counter called it “Tiffin” and after experiencing just one bite of its rich, chocolatey decadence, I was hooked.
I’m sure many folks in the States had never heard of it either until it got so much press a couple of years ago when Prince William chose it for his groom’s cake, I guess thereby proving it is a confection “fit for a king”. But for those of you who somehow missed out on all of the hoopla surrounding the royal wedding (where exactly were you?), a Chocolate Biscuit Cake is just what it sounds like, a dense chocolate cake with pieces of crumbled biscuits (cookies) running throughout.
There are so many things that are fabulous about this cake. First of course is how utterly scrumptious it is. I mean complete chocolate bliss. And the cookies stay wonderfully crunchy, even after a day or two. (Ha! As if this cake would still be around a day or two after it is made!) The second glorious thing about this cake is that it is ridiculously easy to make. I’m not exaggerating. There is no baking involved. You basically melt some chocolate with butter, cream, and golden syrup, add some crumbled biscuits and pour it into a prepared pan and stick it in the refrigerator. Ta Da!
There are a couple “foreign” ingredients you will need to try to track down. The biscuits traditionally used are digestive biscuits and the brand I prefer is McVities. If you are in the States, many larger grocery stores will carry some brand of Digestive Biscuit in their “International Food” section. If you can’t find them you could substitute in a butter cookie like Le Petit Beurre, Rich Tea Biscuits or simply Graham Crackers. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a treacle, like molasses, but with a lighter color and less bitter taste. Again the best place to look for it is in the International Food section or possibly Baking section of a large grocery store. The King Arthur Flour store also sells it. A good substitution if you absolutely can’t get your hands on it is Dark Corn Syrup. I will also mention that Edible Ireland has posted a great recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake that does not require Golden Syrup, so take a look there as well. Chocolate Biscuit Cake is quite versatile. You can make it in any shape pan you prefer, round, square or loaf tins are fine. And you can easily customize this recipe by adding your favourite treats into the mix. I’ve seen recipes that call for rum soaked raisins, various nuts, or chopped up candy bars. Edible Ireland puts espresso powder in their biscuit cake, which I think sounds divine.
This luscious cake is verrrrrry rich. Think of a cake made of fudge. A tiny sliver of a slice will go a long way. I’m not sure what sort of “chocolate coma” I would be in if I ate a slice the likes of which I have pictured here. Now I’m not saying I haven’t eaten that much biscuit cake in a day. I’m sure I’ve managed even more. But my modus operandi is to methodically slice off “small, little tastes” every time I walk by the cake and then to wonder at the end of the day what it is about being in the refrigerator that causes so much shrinkage in cakes! Treat yourself to a Chocolate Biscuit Cake on this St. Patrick’s Day.
2 pounds dark chocolate, roughly chopped (about 50% cocoa)
1 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup Lyle’s golden syrup
1 pound digestive biscuits, broken by hand into postage stamp sized pieces
For the Ganache:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp corn syrup
8 ounces dark chocolate chopped
Melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the chocolate and salt and continue over medium low heat until the chocolate is fully melted. Remove from heat and stir in the whipping cream and golden syrup until smooth. Fold in the broken biscuits and pour into a 9 inch springform pan that has been lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove from pan and glaze with chocolate ganache.
For the Ganache:
Scald the cream in the microwave until almost boiling. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes. Stir until smooth then stir in the corn syrup. Pour over the cooled biscuit cake using a spatula to help cover it evenly. Reserve a bit of ganache to decoratively pipe or drizzle onto the top of the cake if so desired.
I’m so excited today! For a couple of reasons actually. The first of which is that I’m able to give you the recipe for these Caramelized Leek, Basil & Black Pepper Biscuits. These delicious little morsels have been in heavy rotation in my house this winter. They are amazing with soups and stews, are a superb savoury breakfast biscuit when stuffed full of scrambled egg, cheese and bacon. Not to mention, they hold up fine all on their own with or without a pat of butter. I’ve wanted to share this winner of a recipe with you for some time, but have never been able to snap a quick picture of them. Nope. We literally gobble them up that fast. But this last time, I did manage to click a shot or two before nothing more than a crumb or two remained to indicate they had ever been there at all. These biscuits have it all going on! Their buttery, flaky layers rise oh so high. The savoury flavours of the caramelized leeks, basil and black pepper combine to really grab your attention. You know you’re not dealing with just any run of the mill biscuit. (not that I’ve really ever met a biscuit I didn’t like…), these fellows are special. My husband is quite partial to them because of the leeks. He LOVES leeks. And I’ve actually got quite a few recipes headed your way in which leeks feature prominently.
Which brings me to the next reason for my somewhat excited state today. Tomorrow is March 1st and every year on March 1st I endeavour to post one Irish influenced recipe a day up to March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day! This undertaking is quite a feat for me, I’m not a once a day blogger type person. I consider myself very accomplished if I manage to get two blogs in per week. (I know all you daily bloggers are rolling your eyes about now. I give you props. Can’t imagine how you do it.)Soooo…..wish me the luck of the Irish as I psyche myself up for this blog-a-thon once again! Here are a few of my favourite recipes from last year’s St. Patrick’s Day extravaganza:
Bailey’s Irish Creme & Pistachio Fudge
Irish Whiskey Cake with a Butter Whiskey Glaze
Guinness Chocolate Chip Cookies
Guinness Beef Stew
Irish Beer & Cheese Chicken Pot Pies
And that was just a few of the St. Patrick’s Day food gems I whipped up. If you’d like to see all seventeen from last year, click on “Runcible Eats/ Recipes” in my top navigation bar and scroll down to St. Patrick’s Day. There you’ll find all sorts of Irish-y dishes from the past two years. And don’t forget to check in with me every day starting tomorrow through March 17th for this year’s additions. I’ve got a lot of mouth-watering recipes all queued up for the show. As I mentioned, leeks will be putting in an appearance, as will meat pies, sweet pies, various treats with Guinness and Bailey’s and Jameson...Oh My! Keep tuned and you will be totally set for making your own delicious St. Patrick’s Day feast! Not to mention, it will be interesting to see if I can actually pull off seventeen days of dishes in a row. That excitement I mentioned before is perhaps more of the nervous, nail bite-y type that the happy, dance-y type. Though I will be dancing a jig on St. Patrick’s Day, regardless of the outcome, you can be sure. So raise a glass with me to “challenges”. It all starts tomorrow. In the meantime, make up a batch of these lovely Caramelized Leek, Basil & Black Pepper biscuits!
In a small frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the finely sliced leeks, sauteing until the leeks are golden in color and caramelized. Remove from pan and allow leeks to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 425°F (220° C).
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse sand. Mix in the fresh minced basil and cooled leeks. Gradually pour in the heavy cream and milk, mixing until just combined.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and bring together until it forms a ball. If you need to knead the dough to bring it together, do so but no more than 10-12 times. Flatten the dough ball into roughly a 1-inch thick square (or rectangle) and, using a knife dipped in flour, cut the dough into evenly sized squares. Place biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are lightly browned.
So it has been one heck of a week! I know I haven’t published in a bit, but goood Lordy we’ve had some problems around here! It all started last Friday evening with a huge, and rather unexpected storm. It has been very hot and humid around here recently, we’re talking around 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). But that is par for the course in Virginia, in the summer time, much to my dismay. With those sultry temperatures, we will often get thunderstorms springing up in the evening hours. Usually our good weather folks give us a heads up that one may be brewing. Well last Friday night, Mother Nature had quite a surprize in store for us. An incredibly powerful and stealthy storm snuck right up on us and….KAPOW! I’m talking 80 mile per hour winds and a wall of water which just descended instantly on us unsuspecting folks who were simply minding our own business around 11 pm in the evening. Well, Falls Church was devastated, trees down everywhere, trees which took the power wires down along with them. It was bad timing, as if there were ever a good time for mass power outages, but this power outage happened in the midst of a heat wave when the mercury was expected to stay hovering around that 100 degree mark for oh, a week or so. Our power was out from Friday evening through Monday. And we are the lucky ones, as many of my less fortunate neighbours still don’t have power today. Whenever you step outside, which isn’t often if you can help it – remember, 100 degrees of scorching heat envelopes you the moment you cross the door frame – instead of hearing the peaceful chirping hum of the crickets, you are greeted by the rattling buzz of hundreds of generators, like some sort of swarm of angry hornets is about to descend. (Hey, after that storm, anything could happen…)
Tree (and wires) down!
Now I had cooked up some delicious, mouth-watering food last friday that I couldn’t wait to share with ya’ll. Specifically I made crunchy on the outside but moist on the inside Buttermilk Brined Southern Fried Chicken, flaky and fluffy Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits and oh so decadent home-made Bourbon ice cream. It was really yummy. Little did we know at the time, but it turned out to be a last meal of sorts before the onslaught. I was going to get pictures of everything the next day as the light wasn’t so good when I actually finished cooking the meal. Well, you know what they say about those best laid plans of mice and men…The next day, this little mouse found herself sweltering in an electricity, cell phone, internet free zone watching all that lovely bourbon ice cream melt and pool in the bottom of her ever warming “freezer”. I saved my hard-earned southern fried chicken though, icing it down in coolers which I hid away in our basement. You see, the basement temperature was much cooler. It only got up to about 86 degrees F down there… (I have mentioned that thing about how I hate to live in Virginia in the summer…right?) Now mind you getting the ice for the cooler was no easy tasks. Every store, gas station, etc. had not had electricity all night. What with our lovely Virginia temperatures which don’t really dip significantly in the overnight hours, that ice was looong gone. So we drove about 30 miles to our friend’s neighbourhood which did not lose their power because they have under ground power lines. Nothing for the trees to pull along with them on their descent. However, all the other folks without power had this same bright idea. We managed to nab the last six bags of ice at one grocery store and thought we were going to have to fight our way out of the parking lot when the other hot, tired and angry ice seeking folks realized the last ice had left the building.
Whew! I hope you can see I’ve had my hands full! I just didn’t have the energy to fry up another mess of chicken again after this ordeal, but it was so yummy I promise I will do so again soon and share with everyone. I did manage to recreate the Mile High Buttermilk Biscuits post power outage and got some pics as well. These are truly phenomenal biscuits and were so easy to make. I have made buttermilk biscuits before, but they were always the kind you rolled out and cut. These are drop biscuits. Much simpler. And they rose up like champs! Mile High is a good description. Light, fluffy, buttery goodness! They were definitely a comfort to us during our recent tribulations. Give them a try today, while you have power. If there is one thing I have learned, you should always be prepared. You never know when Mother Nature will throw her next hissy!
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cold low-fat buttermilk
1 cup (5 oz) 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. * I used an ice cream scoop*
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. Allow to cool 5 minutes longer before serving.
(Note: Store leftovers in a resealable plastic bag and reheat at 475° F for 5-7 minutes.)
After making all of these wonderful jams (Strawberry Balsamic, Blueberry Lemon & Chilli, Vanilla Bourbon Blackberry and Hard Cider Apple Butter), I decided we needed some sort of delicious biscuit to perch these stellar spreads upon. I’ve mentioned before that I am a huge fan of Peter Reinhart’s. Well, I noticed in his book, Artisan Breads Every Day, that he had a recipe for the “Best Biscuits Ever”. How could I resist the best biscuit ever? So I got busy baking them. These biscuits are a cross between a cream biscuit and a flaky buttermilk style biscuit. Quite tasty, though I’m not sure they win my “best biscuit ever” award. I once made these Bacon & Cheddar Skillet Biscuits that were pretty high up on the “best” scale. But then I guess that is no surprize…I did mention they had bacon in them right? (note to self…blog about those biscuits soon) But these biscuits are certainly close behind those and are great for non-enhanced (ie. full of bacon and cheese) biscuits.
Just look at those flaky layers!
I know I’ve previously mentioned the absolute necessity that you purchase a copy of Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, but in case you missed it, here it goes again…you must buy this book! Its full of all sorts of great recipes and information. For example, he gives you the “Keys to a Successful Flaky Biscuit”. I’d say that is pretty valuable information to have. Basically it boils down to cold dough and hot oven. Though he explains things much more interestingly, eloquently and thoroughly. He also mentions that you can also make these biscuits using buttermilk in place on the cream, which I think I will try next time. (So…you can see we really did like them…we’re already thinking about the next time we make them!) If you’re looking for a great home-made biscuit for your thanksgiving table, or a spectacular vehicle for jams and apple butter that can stand all on its own, look no further. You’ve found your biscuit!
Peter Reinhart’s Best Biscuits Ever
recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day
yield: 10 Three inch biscuits or 20-24 two inch biscuits
2 tablespoons ( 1 oz/ 28.5 g) apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
1 cup (8 oz/227 g) cold heavy cream
1/2 cup (4 oz/113 g) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (4 .5 oz/128 g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3.50z/99 g) pastry flour (if you do not have pastry flour, use all-purpose flour or see tip below for making it yourself)
1 Tablespoon (0.5 ox/14 g) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (0.5 0z/14 g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (0.13 oz/ 3.5 g) salt, or 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Stir the vinegar into the cream to acidify it, then refrigerate it to keep it cold. Place the butter in the freezer, for at least 30 minutes, to harden.
Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl.
Place cheese grater in / over the bowl of dry ingredients. Remove the butter from the freezer, unwrap it and grate it through the large holes into the dry ingredients, tossing the butter threads in the flour mixture as you grate to distribute them. (An alternate method is to use the grater attachment on a food processor, with the dry ingredients in the bowl below).
Use your fingertips to separate and distribute the butter pieces evenly. Add the cream mixture and stir with a large spoon until all of the flour is hydrated and the dough forms a coarse ball. Add a tiny bit more cream if necessary to bring the dough together.
Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface, then dust the top of the dough with flour. Working with floured hands, use you palms to press the dough into a rectangle or square about 3/4 ” thick. Use a metal pastry scraper to lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well, then roll it out into a rectangle or square about 1/2″ thick. Then, using the pastry scraper to help lift the dough, fold it over on itself in three sections as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, then once again lift the dough and dust more flour underneath. Dust the top with flour as well, then once again roll it out into a square or rectangle about 1/2″ thick and fold into thirds. Give the dough another quarter turn and repeat this procedure again. Then, repeat one final time. (four roll outs in all)
After the fourth folding, dust under and on top of the dough one final time, then roll the dough out to just under 1/2″ thick, in either a rectangle (for triangle or diamond-shaped biscuits) or an oval ( for round biscuits).
Cut the biscuits with your preferred cutter. A 2″ biscuit cutter will yield 20-24 small biscuits. The 3″ cutter yielded 10 biscuits.
Transfer the biscuits to an ungreased sheet pan (lined with parchment paper or a silpat) placing them about 1/2″ apart.
Let the biscuits rest for 15 to 30 minutes before baking to relax the gluten; this will create a more even rise (even better, place the pan of biscuits in the refrigerator to chill).
About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
Transfer the biscuits to the oven and lower the oven temperature to 450°F (232°C). Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6-10 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms of the biscuits are a rich golden brown.
Place the pan on a wire rack, leaving the biscuits to cool on the hot pan for at least 3 minutes before serving.
***If you are having a difficult time finding pastry flour, you can make your own by combining all-purpose flour and cake flour. To make two cups, combine 1 1/3 cups (185 grams) all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup (90 grams) cake flour.