I have spent a long, long, lonnnnnnnnnnnng time searching for and perfecting this biscuit recipe.And I am happy to report that it was well worth the wait and the effort!! My quest began in college. I moved to Utah from North Carolina to go to school, and I quickly discovered one staple food that Utah does not
have: fluffy, buttery, golden biscuits. I tried a few recipes here and there without much luck, and eventually resigned myself to the frozen dough variety. Fast forward about 4 years: it's 2010, I'm pregnant, and all I can think about is grape jelly. Grape jelly and North Carolina buttery biscuits. So the search begins again. But more frantic this time, because… well, I'm pregnant and having cravings. Duh. I made a new biscuit recipe (or two) every single Sunday morning from the middle of my first trimester until the end of my second trimester, when I finally pulled together this
biscuit recipe. And even then, the biscuit-making didn't stop! I ate biscuit after glorious, buttery biscuit until baby arrived. It was a good time. So here we are, over 4 years later and back in North Carolina, and I'm still sticking to this recipe. And through the many batches, I've picked up a few easy tips that I think are worth sharing. Biscuits are really so incredibly easy to make if you have an idea of what you're doing and what to expect.
Tip #1: Don't try to make biscuit dough look smooth and elastic like bread dough. You'll end up over-mixing, which will make your biscuits tough and not
fluffy. Plus, you'll fail at achieving your own unrealistic expectation. Lumpy, bumpy, and even a few cracks are just fine and will make your biscuits incredibly fluffy.
Tip #2: Biscuit making is a hands-on activity. DON'T reach for the mixer! You use a bowl and wooden spoon for a little bit in the beginning, but for the most part, you want to use your hands for both mixing and pressing the dough into a somewhat-level layer.
Tip #3: The biscuit dough should be pressed as level as you can (but don't stress over making it perfect) to about 1 1/2 inch thickness. You want the dough to be THICK! But DO make sure you have a cutter that will be taller than the dough. More info on that in the next step…
Tip #4: Don't twist the cutter!!! Twisting it seals off the edges of the biscuit which will prevent it from baking up high and fluffy! Use the sharpest cutter you possibly can (be sure that it's taller than the dough), and press straight down, pull straight up.
Tip #5: Cut as many biscuits as you can from the first roll-out. You can still cut more biscuits by re-forming the scraps and cutting them, but they won't bake quite as well. Aside from being VERY cracked all over, they aren't as soft as the first batch will be. So maximize the dough you cut from that first roll-out!
You'll know you've created the perfect fluffy biscuit when you see slightly golden edges with beautiful, soft insides once you pull apart those buttery, flaky layers! Perfect for spreading something yummy on the inside! While I'm still a grape-jelly-and-biscuits fan, the cravings ended with the pregnancy. So what do I like on my biscuits now? Well. Butter
. Of course. Gobs and gobs of salty, sweet cream butter!
I have fallen madly, deeply, truly in love with LAND O LAKES® Butter with Canola Oil Butter
. It's perfect for spreading, even right out of the refrigerator. Which is perfect for me, because I only remember to soften butter in advance like .0023% of the time. I also love that it only has 3 ingredients: sweet cream, canola oil, and salt. Other spreadable butter productss have up to 15 ingredients!! Uh, no thank you. I feel like the taste of simplicity always speaks for itself, and I definitely found that to be true in this case. It is utterly delicious and perfect for these biscuits.
So, to sum up: the perfect biscuits. Cold spreadable Butter with Canola Oil. And honey. My job here is done.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 c. buttermilk (the cheat version is okay)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold water, divided*
1 stick cold or frozen butter, cubed
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.
- Create a well in the middle of the bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg, shortening, and 2 tbsp of the cold water into the well. Use a wooden spoon to start mixing and "cutting" to form a dough. Take care to not over-mix.
- Add the cubes of butter, and use your hands to knead the butter into the dough (no more than 7-8 times). Some of the butter will incorporate to help moisten the dough, but mostly you want the butter to REMAIN in small chunks throughout the dough. This will make the biscuits fluffy.
- Turn dough out onto a non-stick surface (use cooking spray if you need to, but try to avoid using flour which will dry the biscuits out). Press into a 1 1/2 inch layer, making it as level as you can.
- Use a round cutter to cut biscuits out. Place each one on the prepared cookie sheet, edges touching each other.
- Sprinkle salt over top of the dough.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until outer edges start turning golden brown.
- Serve warm! Or store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 2 days. However: best fresh!
This is totally optional, but I also like to add a "pat" of butter on top of each biscuit before baking and generously salt the biscuits as well. If you are luck enough to live near a Bojangles, you'll understand when I say that taking this extra step makes them taste a lot like a Bo's biscuit!
*The remaining 2 tbsp cold water is to keep on hand if your dough seems too dry. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time if needed.
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