As a kid, did you ever pretend rocks were “cookies” or “cakes” while playing outside in the yard? I remember that my sisters and I would always throw extravagant tea parties full of “mud pies” and “rock cakes”, and then come home covered in mud and pebbles, much to my mom’s annoyance (sorry, mom!). Well, I’m not sure if it was because I missed these tea parties so much, or if I was just a terrible baker, but for the longest time, my biscuits were truly as hard and tough as rocks.
I recently tried my hand out at making biscuits again because I’ve had a hankering for some biscuits and homemade jam (more to come on the jam!). After scouring the internet, I came across Bon Appetit’s buttermilk biscuits but then realized that I didn’t actually own a food processor… which you know, like any good cook does, I proceeded anyway. Turning this food processor needing recipe into one that doesn’t has been quite the adventure (picture 3 butter knives in each hand whirring in circles in an attempt to simulate a food processor, among other hilarious ideas).
I promise you the final recipe does not require 6 arms and it definitely can be done in under 20 minutes. Pair them with jam, butter, honey, gravy or honestly just plain, everyone will be happy. Trust me, give them a go!
IMPORTANT: Do NOT over work this dough, otherwise biscuits will turn out like my childhood rock cakes. Also, frozen butter is MUCH easier to grate and will not melt into the dough while you are working with it. Cold butter is essential for creating pockets of steam while baking ==> soft and fluffy biscuits.
OLD-FASHIONED BUTTERMILK BISCUITS | Modified from Bon Appetit | Makes 12
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter – frozen
- 1 tbsp butter – melted (for brushing on top of biscuits)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Using grater, grate 2 sticks of butter on the coarser setting. If you don’t have a grater, simply take a knife and chop the butter into 1/4 inch cubes. Put butter back into freezer if it is starting to melt.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix well with a whisk.
- Place grated butter into flour mixture. With hands, gently work butter pieces into flour until mixture looks like coarse sand and the largest pieces of butter are smaller than peas.
- Make a well in the mixture and pour buttermilk in well. Use spatula to incorporate dry and wet ingredients until a shaggy dough as formed.
- Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a 1″- thick square. Using a knife or bench scraper, slice dough into four equal pieces and place on top of each other (this creates more flaky layers!). Gently press to flatten the layers.
- Roll dough into a rectangle 1″-thick. Take knife or bench scraper and cut into 12 equal slices – there should be no leftover scraps.
- Place dough pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in freezer for 15 min.
- Preheat oven to 425 (F).
- Right before baking the biscuits, liberally brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter
- Place biscuits in oven and reduce heat to 400 (F). Bake for 20-25 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.