Blissfully Basic (and Buttery) Biscuits
Biscuits, biscuits, biscuits. Frontier food, nothing fancy, nothing fussy, as American as apple pie, this quick-bread staple of chuck wagons, truck stops and campsites everywhere is a magic mix of flour, milk, butter and leavening that is too delicious and too easy not to make. Yep, these crusty little pillows of doughy goodness should be in everyone’s baking repertoire. Heck, add more sugar and you’ve got shortcakes for your berries. What’s not to like.
Here’s the basic biscuit recipe I adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. If you can’t trust Fannie (and a baked-good lovin’ guy) to bring you a respectable biscuit recipe, who can you trust? So out with the lard and in with the butter, here’s the recipe that keeps me happy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Basic Butter Biscuits
- 2 Cups Flour (All Purpose)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (I like baking with Kosher salt)
- 4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 2/3 Cup Milk
|Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C)|
|Butter cake tin or pie plate.|
|Sift dry ingredients into a bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.|
|Cut butter into cubes and blend into flour mixture with fork until crumbly and lumpy.|
|Pour milk into flour mixture, and mix with fork, until it comes together.|
|Turn mixture onto a floured dough board and fold it over on itself several times, lightly kneading to create layers.|
|Roll out dough to about an inch thick, cut into squares or use biscuit/cookie cutter.|
|Place in a pan or tin, barely touching each other. Bake 15-20 minutes until raised and brown.|
Add 2 more tablespoons of sugar to the recipe and it’s a quick trip to shortcake lane.
In the rare event you have leftovers, wrap in foil, refrigerate, and reheat at will.
And just in case you want to add a little homemade jam, here are some of my favorite jam recipes.
Nothing better than a hot biscuit!! I make the buttermilk version without sugar. The uncooked dough freezes well so I make a large batch to freeze so I can have hot biscuit any time of day….southern comfort food….great for those days when you need a pick me up but baking a chocolate cake ( My stress food) takes too long. I like your idea for adding more sugar to make shortbread…Have you tried making Tea Cakes…similar to sugar cookies?
Go Janet, biscuits on demand! I like that idea of freezing them for later individual baking. And as for Tea Cakes, on yeah, Tea Cakes and I are familiar with each other. ummmmmm 😉
Biscuits are a perennial favourite. Not only do you get a shortcake but you get a scone by adding a bit of sugar and some dried fruits.
Next batch will get some candied orange peel — great idea, thanks!
Tom…that is the perfect breakfast and with homemade jam it does not get any better!
These are beautiful!
Right now, with jam and my cappuccino would be perfect!
An All-American classic! Good to be reminded of these once in a while in the midst of all these other baked goodies. Sarah ‘s idea is great too, turning them into scones, yeah!
Funny to come home and read this tonight after bringing biscuits to a potluck this evening…..
Yours look like Andre the Giant.
I’ve take a liking to Mark Bitman’s idea for using yogurt instead of buttermilk in biscuits, pancakes, and all the other tasty and quickly formed delights that hold high priorities in my life.
Thanks for the food inspiration, Tom.
Greg you made some mighty fine biscuits yourself for our meeting last night, and the jar of butter, and honey didn’t hurt either. That’s funny about the yogurt, I used it in pancakes a couple weeks ago and really liked the results.
Damn, those are some good looking biscuits! Hot biscuits with some Tall Clover jam. Yum!
That looks like a really good, basic biscuit recipe. How can you go wrong with butter? And unlike some, it doesn’t call for cream of tartar (does anybody really know what that is?), very simple and delicious. I got some blackberry lavender jam at a lavender farm recently, and I believe it would grace those biscuits like a jeweled tiara on a beauty queen!
Good eye Lucy, you are absolutely right, this recipe originally called for cream of tartar, and I left it out a couple times as I never keep the stuff. The biscuits turned out perfectly without the cream of tartar. Further research told me cream of tartar is already in the baking powder, so why complicate things. 😉 I just got back from Sequim, WA, visiting a friend and we toured some beautiful lavender farms. Brought home a couple plants of the culinary type to see just what I could do with lavender, a variety called blue velvet.
I made these tonight with some vanilla sugar and served them with warm berry compote. They are delicious but mine didn’t rise as high as yours. How many times did you fold the dough?
Casa Mariposa, I think I fold mine 8-10 times, and keep the dough thick when I cut it into discs. Also, make sure your baking powder is fresh.
Thanks!! I only folded mine about 4 or 5 times, which explains why they were half as tall as yours. 🙂
Oh my God. Those biscuits look so heavenly.