Who doesn’t feel weak in the knees when faced with a hot, flaky buttermilk biscuit oozing with dripping butter? But, they can be tricky to make because a number of recipes I’ve tried produced somewhat tough biscuits. I found the perfect recipe by Williams-Sonoma quite by accident I can’t remember how I got there or who recommended it but it works perfectly every time. Although the recipe is called Buttermilk Chive Biscuits, I omit the chives for breakfast purposes.
To make it easy, I’ve included a few pictures so you’ll know what the dough should look like before kneading the few minutes required to reduce moisture. I use a food processor to mix the flour and butter which works very well as long as you don’t over-pulse the mixture. The biscuits freeze incredibly well if you put them in a resealable bag and squeeze out the air before freezing. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. baking powder
½ Tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slivers or small cubes. (Cut the cube in three horizontal slices, then three vertical slices, then dice into small cubes)
1 whole egg
Scant 1 cup buttermilk or as needed
¼ cup diced fresh chives (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the butter as described above and place in the refrigerator. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Transfer the flour to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and add the butter. Pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal (see photo).
In a bowl, whisk the egg until well blended then add enough buttermilk to equal one cup of liquid. Transfer the butter-flour mix to a large mixing bowl and using a fork, mix in the buttermilk-egg mixture until the dry ingredients are absorbed (see photo).
Transfer the dough to a heavily floured surface and knead gently and quickly until the dough is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. There are two ways to form the biscuits: 1) pat the dough into a square or rectangle about ½ inch thick. Dip a round biscuit cutter 3 inches in diameter in flour and cut into 24 rounds; 2) take a 2-3 ounce ice cream scoop and scoop out dough which will give you about 12 biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes if they were cut and up to 18 minutes if they were scooped.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Soup for Supper, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).