Saturday and Sunday mornings are my favorite times to be in the kitchen, and it’s even more enjoyable now that we’ve actually got some space to move around in (not to mention some counter space). This morning we were short on eggs — a breakfast staple — and Michael mentioned just having toast (but of course we have no bread, either). As an alternative, I pulled out a Cooks Illustrated Recipe that I’d tried once before — Mile High Biscuits.
When we go to visit my dad in Groveton, biscuits are always on the breakfast menu. They usually come out one of those cans you find in the supermarket’s refrigerated section. Through those breakfasts (and trips to Chick-fil-A) Michael has grown to love what we Americans call biscuits, and the Brits call scones (they’re somewhat close, anyway). This morning, I thought I could try to feed this love of biscuits and my love of cooking all at the same time. The result? Super tasty homemade biscuits, created with ingredients we happened to have around the house. Of course, other things we had around the house — butter, fruit spread and (in Michael’s case) Cheddar cheese — also added to the breakfast experience.
Now, to the cooking nitty-gritty…
A couple of notes before the recipe. We recently got a new food processor, which really helped this morning. Last time, I made do with a stand mixer, which wasn’t quite the same. It worked, but it’s easier with a food processor.
Tall & Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits (makes 12)
Notes: low-fat buttermilk is preferred, but nonfat buttermilk will work, too. For the highest rise use a double-acting baking powder like Calumet, Clabber Girl or Davis. Store leftovers in an airtight zipper-lock bag. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 475 degree oven for 5-7 minutes (if you actually have any leftovers.
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 tablespoon 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 buttermilk, preferably low fat (I use powdered buttermilk mix, which I keep around for baking)
To form and finish biscuits
1 cup unbleached alll-purpose flour, distributed in rimmed baking sheet
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Spray 9 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Generously spray inside and outside of 1/4 cup dry measure with the nonstick cooking spray.
2. For the Dough: In food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda to combine, about 6 one second pulses. Scatter butter cubes evenly over dry mixture; pulse until mixture resembles pebbly, coarse cornmeal, 8 to 10 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add buttermilk and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated (mixture will be very wet and slightly lumpy).
3. To form and Bake Biscuits: Using 1/4 cup dry measure and working quickly, scoop level amount of dough; drop dough from measuring cup into flour on baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to set it free). Repeat with remaining dough, forming 12 evenly-sized mounds. Dust tops of each piece of dough with flour from baking sheet. With floured hands, gently pick up piece of dough and coat with flour; gently shape dough into rough ball, shake off excess flour, and place in prepared cake pan. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 mounds around perimeter of cake pan and 3 in center. Brush rounds with hot melted butter, taking care not to flatten them. Bake 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees; continue to bake until biscuits are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Cool in pan 2 minutes, then invert biscuits from pan onto clean kitchen towel; turn biscuits right side up and break apart. Cool 5 minutes longer and serve.