I’ve been eating a lot of ethnic food lately. Empanadas. Aloo Palak. Falafel. Biryani. Pot stickers and egg rolls. Pad See Ew. Some Bhutanese sweet rice dessert thing. While I love all of the aforementioned – so much so that I just may have succeeded in surprising my friends, family, and coworkers with the amount I ate in the past week – sometimes it’s good old American food I crave. (You cannot even begin to believe what I would have given for Chicago deep dish pizza and crunchy peanut butter during my five month stint in Argentina. An arm? A leg? Potentially.) Thus, buttermilk biscuits. Sounds pretty American to me.
Buttery and flaky these biscuits have almost convinced me to hop in a car and take a biscuit tour of the South despite the slightly horrendous accent. (Apologies to all those Southerners out there. But…). The tips on biscuit baking from the Sophisticated Gourmet, the blog from which this recipe earned a top spot on my “to cook” list, are more than recommended. If I were a college professor, instead of a lowly college student, I would call them required reading. To find the post simply click on the link below. And be sure not to overlook the rhubarb compote from “Bon Appetite”. I’m pretty sure I could have eaten the entire pot on its own. Perhaps I’ll be eating vanilla ice cream and rhubarb compote for dinner tomorrow night. I’d offer to share, but I’m not sure I’m quite that generous.
adapted from the Sophisticated Gourmet
Keep in mind these biscuits can accompany fried chicken, sop up soup, top chicken pot pie or be used in countless other ways. It’s also one of those glorious one-bowl baked goods. Less mess? Yes!
Makes about a dozen biscuits
1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour
Scant ⅓ cup cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, chilled
⅔ cup buttermilk
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Add in the cold butter and toss the butter in the flour. Using your finger tips or a pastry cutter, quickly cut and rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles pea-size pieces; it’s okay if the pieces are not uniform, that is what you want. Chill the entire bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the fridge and pour in the buttermilk. Using a fork, mix everything until it just comes together (it’ll look like a shaggy mess). Lightly dust a work surface with cake flour. Turn the dough out, lightly dust the top with flour, and gently knead the mass until it comes together.
Using a rolling pin or your hands, quickly flatten the dough out into a rectangle. Fold the short ends over the middle (like a letter) to make three layers. This is the first turn. Give the dough a quarter turn and flatten into a rectangle once again repeating the folding process. Repeat the flattening and folding once more.
Shape into a rectangle ½-inch thick. Cut the biscuits using a sharp knife in to 10-12 squares. Gently move each biscuit to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place about 1-inch apart for biscuits with a crust or place the biscuits close to one another about ½-inch apart. Lightly brush the tops of each biscuit with some milk or buttermilk.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are tall, puffed and are blushing with a lightly golden brown color around the edges. If you intend on making smaller biscuits, check on them around 9 minutes of baking. Serve immediately.
1 lb. rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2″pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Bring rhubarb, sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan. Lower heat and cook, stirring often, until rhubarb has broken down and sauce is thickened, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool slightly and serve over biscuits.