September 2, 2014


As you may have noticed, I haven't been able to post as much. That's because I'm kinda busy with this thing called college. It's definitely busy here and, although my dorm kitchen is decent, I'm not sure how much cooking I'll be able to do in the near future. But there is some good news. I spent allllllll summer cooking, so I now have a bunch of recipes I can publish throughout the year, though unfortunately not quite as frequently.

Anyway, I'm definitely missing Southern food (almost as much as I miss baking). I've done summer programs on college campuses before, and I really enjoyed getting biscuits for breakfast before class. It just hit me that biscuits are pretty much exclusively Southern because I have yet to find any up here in the tundra (a.k.a. Wisconsin). Fortunately, biscuits are pretty easy to make as long as you have the staples, namely butter and buttermilk.

With all the century-old not-your-grandma's-recipe-but-someone's-grandma's-recipe for biscuits, it's a little daunting to find the perfect biscuit recipe. I got mine from one of the restaurants I used to work at, The Horseradish Grill. It's an Atlanta legend that specializes in gourmet Southern food, and I do love their fried chicken. Also their chocolate cake. Oh, and the biscuits, of course. I've had to make countless batches of these biscuits, each using a whole five-pound sack of flour. Don't worry; you don't have to make that many (at least until you fall in love with them and decide you want to). I have found that this scale makes about a dozen, which is just enough to eat with butter, jam, gravy, or as a sandwich, fried chicken, egg and cheese, or otherwise.

Despite the long history of the biscuit, I think people have yet to agree on whether you should use butter and/or lard and/or shortening, so I'll be Switzerland and say pick butter plus either lard or shortening. Biscuits have to have that buttery flavor, so, in my opinion, butter is non-negotiable. Although this is probably sacrilegious to say, in this recipe lard and shortening are interchangeable. The Horseradish Grill uses lard if that impacts your decision, but I find that shortening is cheaper and easier to buy. You probably won't taste too much of a difference, though the lard biscuits might be a little richer.

Whatever fat you decide to use, you have to keep it cold. That's probably my biggest piece of advice for making biscuits, scones, and anything similar. The cold fat (and also the cold buttermilk and anything else you can chill, even flour) will release steam when the dough hits the hot oven, making the biscuits fluffy and tall. Another technique that helps with the fluffiness is working the dough as little as possible. I literally pat the dough into a slab instead of rolling it to minimize handling.

One of the reasons I prefer using a food processor to make my biscuits is because it mixes everything quickly with minimal body heat to warm the dough (generally no kneading or stirring necessary). All you have to do is pulse the dry ingredients together, add your cold fat and pulse until they become tiny little lumps (but not fully blended in), then add the buttermilk, and pulse everything until it's just combined, which should only take a few seconds. After that, just pat the dough out to about a 1.5" thick slab on a floured surface, cut into rounds, and bake until golden and fluffy and delicious.

I'm really hoping biscuits catch on up here. They can be served so many ways and taste equally perfect however you want to eat them. My personal favorites are just plain with butter for breakfast or snacking or stuffed with fried chicken for a classic Southern chicken biscuit, which are as good as Chik fil A but without the politics. There's also the delicious and convenient breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, and sausage or whatever else you want to put in it. You could also try a Southern eggs Benedict with a biscuit instead of an English muffin. There are so many opportunities for creativity, or you can keep it simple and enjoy homemade Southern goodness.

3 ¼ Cups Flour
1 T + 1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
4 T Butter, Chilled & Cubed
1 T Butter, Melted
¼ Cup Shortening, Chilled & Cubed
1 ½ Cups Buttermilk

Heat oven to 425°F. Line a cookie tray with parchment.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the chilled butter and shortening; stir in the buttermilk.

Roll the dough out to a 1” thick slab. Cut into circles and place on the prepared tray. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter.

Makes 12
Recipe Adapted from The Horseradish Grill

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