They are easily in the Top 10 of my favorite foods. I will seek out restaurants that serve biscuits and I will plan my entire meal around said biscuit. All other carb-heavy menu items will be shunned when biscuits are on the table.
I have wanted to make my own buttermilk biscuits for a long, long time – basically since I started the blog. But there has always been some excuse in the way.
Little by little I have chipped away at the excuses. I found a recipe that sounded promising. I purchased a pastry cutter. I added biscuit cutters to my wedding registry and my friend Sarah was kind enough to give the to me with a “fancy” parchment paper that has become one of my favorite kitchen indulgences. And yet, even with all of those hurdles out of the way, I still failed to make them.
Then came #blizzard2015. A snow of historic proportions – or not. Given that the snow was due to hit in late afternoon, we were released from work early and told the museum would be closed the following day. It was officially a snow day – not even an expectation of work! On the train ride home I kicked myself for not planning something fun to make. Mark and I had plenty of groceries for the week, but we had no snow day splurges planned. What to do?
“BUTTERMILK BISCUITS,” I thought.
The only problem was I didn’t have buttermilk, was running low on flour and was uncertain of my butter inventory. I begrudgingly made my way to the grocery store. Even last-minute, panic-stricken shoppers could not deter me. It wasn’t too bad. I had to wait on line and I bought butter when I had plenty, but Operation Biscuit was in effect.
I should note that I also bought everything to make brownies too. Because, you know, calories don’t count on snow days. I had planned to post evidence of said brownies…
IN A PHOTO HERE
…but we ate them all up before I took a picture. You’ll just have to trust me that they were A-MA-ZING. But I must get back to the biscuits.
I woke up the following morning feeling a little under the weather. I told Mark that I was not really up for baking, and we both settled for milk and cereal for breakfast. But all the while I felt that I was missing a great opportunity. When would another free day come? I had to muster my strength and complete the challenge. And so I did.
The recipe I chose was from Pies-n-Thighs, a staple in Williamsburg that is known for its commitment to Southern staples. I had done my research and sworn off all recipes that used cheese or yogurt or fancy mixes of flours or anything unnecessary. I’m sure those recipes are all great, but I wanted the simplicity Pies-n-Thighs promised.
The one place I chose to digress from the recipe was in the cutting of the butter. The recipe recommended blending everything in a food processor. I wanted to do it by hand. Every time I make dough in a food processor, it comes out over cut. My pastry cutter and I have become good friends and we have a level of trust that I do not share with my food processor.
The by-hand method was fine, except that I was dealing with five cups of flour and THREE whole sticks of butter. It was a lot of elbow grease. Once everything was properly mixed, I added the buttermilk and then kneaded the dough until it was “shaggy.” (see above photo for definition of shaggy dough)
Next came the part I had eagerly anticipated for a long time, cutting out large, perfectly shaped biscuits with my cutter. To me, this is what would make biscuits feel complete. That beautiful, ready to photograph shape.
Finally, I added an egg wash that would ensure my biscuits would turn that lovely golden color. At this point, I was feeling much better and truly enjoying my lazy morning. So much so that I decided to experiment with a little video action:
A Leslie Cooked This first!*
The recipe said it would make eight, but I managed to scrape out ten. I decided to freeze two of them pre-baking (as suggested by the recipe) and make the rest. I wasn’t sure what Mark and I would do with eight biscuits, but I really just wanted the satisfaction of pulling a whole tray of biscuits out of the oven.
And it was indeed satisfying when they were ready 35 minutes later.
I think the pictures speak for themselves when it comes to describing the taste. They were flaky, and buttery, and all the things that they should be. All of the things that make me want to build a meal around them when I meet them on restaurant menus. And that’s what I did. When they came out of the oven at 11:30, breakfast was over and lunch was not in order. But Mark and I sat down, still in our pajamas, and indulged in a mid-morning biscuit meal that can only happen on snow days.
To try this recipe for yourself, visit http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pies-n-thighs-biscuits
*As Mark pointed out after reading my first draft, I failed to give him proper credit. Yes, yes, it was HIS idea to try the gif.