Biscuits

March 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

Biscuits, biscuits, biscuits, I love biscuits…especially with gravy, don’t you?  They are my de facto standard for comparison of breakfast diners, as you may have noticed in our previous posts on Southport Cafe & Bakery and Frank’s Diner.  In fact, my best friend and I used to meet once a week at our local Braum’s for biscuits and gravy before 1st period in high school.  Even my first meal as a Chicago resident was cornmeal biscuits and spicy gravy at  the cafe  A Taste of Heaven down the street.  What is surprising is that I never made biscuits from scratch until last year.  Yep, I grew up on “whop-em” biscuits and as Mississippi comedian Jerry Clower would say, “them biscuits ain’t fit to eat.” I now agree (no offense, Mom).  We have tried a number of different biscuit recipes and are sharing some of our favorites.  As you can see, our two trusty sources for biscuit recipes are Martha Stewart and Paula Deen and there is some contention in the house as to whose are better.

So, this Saturday morning, don’t scare your neighbors with “whop-em” noises from your kitchen – try one of these four recipes we’ve grown to love!

~ Scott

Martha Stewart’s Baking Powder Biscuits (makes 6)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1 egg white for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Using a pastry blender (or smashing with your whisk), cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining.  Add remaining 1 cups flour, and toss to combine.  Pour in heavy cream a little at a time; using a rubber spatula, fold cream into dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until dough just comes together.  The dough will be slightly sticky.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  With floured fingers, gently pat dough into a round about 1 inch thick, pressing in any loose bits. Do not overwork the dough. Use a floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits as close together as possible. (Before I had a biscuit cutter, I used to make these as if they were small hamburger patties).  Place biscuits on an unlined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Generously brush tops of biscuits with cream-egg white mixture.  Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

The large amount of baking powder really makes these biscuits rise, and the crunchy top is a result of brushing the tops with the cream-egg white mix.  These biscuits are great served on their own or with gravy.  The soda biscuits listed next are more traditional in that they have a denser texture that holds up well for covering with jam.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Baking Powder Biscuits

Martha Stewart’s Soda Biscuits

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and powder in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse once or twice to combine.  Add butter, and process until dough looks like coarse oatmeal.  Add buttermilk, and process a few seconds more, until dough just comes together.  Turn out dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pat into a 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate.  Bake biscuits until golden brown on top and firm, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm with butter.

Paula Deen’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (depending on the moisture of the potatoes)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate, large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and butter.  Add the flour mixture to the potato mixture and mix to make a soft dough.  Then add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth.  Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter.  Place the biscuits on a greased pan and coat tops with melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham Gravy & Fried Egg

Paula Deen’s Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.  Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like cornmeal.  Make a well with flour mixture and slowly add milk into the middle.  Knead dough with your fingers and add milk when necessary.  Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness.  Cut with small biscuit cutter. Butter bottom of skillet and place biscuits in pan.  Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

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