This all started innocently enough. I had just seen “Crazy Heart” and after watching Jeff Bridges make “Bad Blake’s Legendary Biscuits,” I had a hankering I couldn’t ignore. So I turned to my usual goddess of southern cooking, Edna Lewis, and followed her recipe. Unfortunately… this happened:
Wah wah wahhhhhh. They don’t look too good do they? They tasted alright, but obviously they’re small, flat, and well, not very biscuit-y. Every recipe can’t be a winner, even from a trusted cook or source, but you can’t let it get you down. So, like with any challenge, I began to research and play with recipes. Butter vs. shortening, salt amounts, homemade baking powder vs. store-bought. And as always, altitude challenges. Finally, four rounds later, I made these gorgeous things today:
Victory! They taste even better than they look, too. I ended up using salted butter (just gave better flavor), homemade baking powder (from Edna), and just the right ratios to make sure they rose nice and proper here in the mountains. Nice crisp top and bottom, airy and moist on the inside, just begging to be slathered in more butter and strawberry jam.
Nice shaggy dough mess.
Ignore my chicken scratch.
Ready to bake!
White on white on white.
I recently acquired this huge box of plates from an elderly couple who passed away. They traveled for 40+ years and got a plate from every place they went including Egypt, Monaco, Australia, Jerusalem… they were a cool pair. This one is from Denmark and I now have a huge boxful with others like it, plus so many other neat styles/shapes.
Half buttered, half jam, please!
Big ol’ note – I made this for high altitude and have no version for sea level. My suggestion is to play with it yourself, first by reducing the liquid and increasing the baking powder. Then just have fun!
Makes about 7-8 biscuits.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon homemade baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 450° F with the rack set in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients with the butter a few times until the butter is pea-sized. Pour everything into a mixing bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir until just combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Roll out or pat the dough ½” thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter or anything else that’s 2 inches and round, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together and cut more biscuits until everything is used. Pierce the top of each biscuit 3 times with a fork.
- When ready to bake, brush with extra buttermilk. Bake until golden brown, about 15-17 minutes. Serve immediately with jam and more butter, because it’s right.