Monday, February 13, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Biscuits--Two Ways about It

Okay. I lied, er, used “alternate facts” when I said puff pastry was the only ingredient I’m scared of. I need to add another one to what might become a growing list. Yeast.

I make yeast breads on occasion, but I’m never really happy with the results. I don’t have the “touch” that great bread makers have. Thus my affinity for a variety of quick breads.

I also like biscuits because they are a versatile quick bread. Split the traditionally-made ones open and slather on butter and honey. Or put your chicken-veggies-gravy mixture on top for an open-faced pot pie-ish meal. Or add some sugar to the dough to make fast shortcake for macerated fruits or with cinnamon as a sweet bread for breakfast.

I went Internet-biscuit surfing to find some good recipes I could modify. In this post, I share my version of buttermilk biscuits (I had buttermilk to use up) and whipping cream biscuits. Both come together quickly, and with both, if you leave out the herbs and cheese, and substitute sugar and cinnamon, you have a whole different taste profile.

Both these biscuit recipes, and the pizza dough later this week, call for kneading the dough. Why do we knead to need? Kneading strengthens the gluten (stringy bands of protein) that give bread texture and structure. If the recipe says knead, you need to do it.

Each recipe makes about 10-12 biscuits, enough for a meal with maybe a few left over.

Tarragon Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for
¼ cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco), chilled
2/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons tarragon (or other herb of choice)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Lay Silpat on cookie sheet (or cover with parchment paper or coat with non-stick cooking spray).

In a large bowl, cut shortening into 2 cups of self-rising flour using pastry cutter (or two knives) until the flour is in pea-sized clumps.

Add buttermilk. Dough will be wet and unformed as you mix in the cheese and tarragon.

Turn out onto a floured surface for kneading. Knead two to three times just until dough comes together in a smooth ball. Do not over-knead. Do not over-mix or over-knead these biscuits, or instead of light and flaky you’ll get tough ones.

Roll out dough to 1/2” and cut with 2” biscuit cutter (or a glass), Dip biscuit cutter in flour periodically so biscuits don’t stick. (Isn’t my fluted biscuit cutter cute?)

Put biscuits on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Put on cookie rack to cool.

Dill Whipping Cream Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons dill (or other herb of choice)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put Silpat, parchment paper, or non-stick cooking spray on cookie sheet.

Mix flour and whipping cream.

Knead the dough 10-15 times, working in the cheese and herbs. (See above for over-mixing, over-kneading.)

Roll out dough to ½” thick and cut with 2” biscuit cutter, dipping in flour to keep from sticking.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  

To make self-rising flour for these recipes, sift together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt as a substitute.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up Me: “Which do you like best? I assume you like both.”
Him: “Yeah, they’re both good. Which one is healthier?”

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Twitter: #recipe for biscuits two ways. Check out Tarragon Buttermilk Biscuits and Dill Whipping Cream Biscuits by @good2tweat at

Facebook: Want a quick bread for dinner? Recipes for biscuits 2 ways: Tarragon Buttermilk and Dill Whipping Cream Biscuits on Sharon Arthur Moore’s blog, Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time at

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