Buttermilk Biscuits

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Happy New Year to you all!  I hope your holidays were delightful.  As you can see, TD and I survived our trip to Montana and escaped the zombie apocalypse.

I was assigned to make biscuits for our family’s Christmas breakfast.    So, on Christmas Eve, while this was going on outside (yes, that is fahrenheit):

Which helped to make this happen:

I got down to biscuit business.

Biscuits from scratch are just as easy as biscuits from Bisquick if you keep one think in mind: DO NOT harass your biscuits.  Mix, combine, touch and roll the dough much LESS than you think you need to, and you’ll be fine.

The recipe I used called for a combination of butter and shortening.

And, because I’m lazy, I used my mother’s ancient food processor.

Pulsing is the name of the game.  Piece-by-piece pulse your fat into your dry ingredients.

Then, pulse in the buttermilk and run the processor until the dough just comes together.  After that, go over and say hello to Gregory (Wood)Peck(er).

On a floured surface, shape your dough into a rectangle about an inch thick.  You can roll if you want, but, only as a last step.  Trust me, the dough will do what you tell it to do. Then, using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or knife, cut out the individual biscuits.  According to the Clinton Street Bakery, the source for the recipe I used, the trick is to not twist the cutter when cutting.  Just go straight down until you hit the board (this was harder to resist than I thought it would).

My parents live at about 5500 feet elevation, so I wasn’t entirely certain the biscuits would rise.  In fact, I was completely prepared to take the results  down to the frozen creek and use them as hockey pucks.

Luckily, beautiful fluffy biscuits emerged from the oven, not edible sports paraphernalia.  Which means, you’ll have no trouble at all!

Soundtrack

The Andy Williams Christmas CD

Clinton Street Buttermilk Biscuits

adapted slightly from Neil Kleinberg’s recipe as it appeared in Food and Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup cake or pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cold shortening
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift the flours with the baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
  3. In a food processor, pulse dry ingredients a couple of times.  Using the pulse function, add in  the butter and shortening a couple of pieces at-a-time until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and run the processor just until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2 or 3 times.
  4. Pat or roll out the dough 3/4 inch thick. Using a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, stamp out 12 biscuits. Dust the top of each biscuit with flour.
  5. Transfer the biscuits to a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned; serve.

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