“The biscuits are for baking but the buns are just for show.” That was the cross stitch quote hanging in my granny’s kitchen my entire childhood. I grew up in the South and even though I’ve spent more years of my life now in the Pacific Northwest, those Southern roots run deep when it comes to food. I miss my granny’s biscuits something fierce sometimes—especially on cold mornings like the ones we’ve had lately.
- Tambi Lane Photo
- Hot biscuits straight from the oven are great with jam, honey or gravy for breakfast and also make a nice dinner roll with chicken, pork chops or steak.
My granny would have turned 100 years old this week, so in honor of her I’ve been baking some biscuits. While I grew up eating biscuits almost every day, a lot of my friends in this neck of the woods did not. They’re more inclined to eat scones or bagels or toast. I’m always up for ordering biscuits at restaurants, and while I commend anybody who makes an effort, there is no biscuit like a biscuit made by someone’s Southern grandmother. There just isn’t.
Even my own biscuits fall short, however I’ve finally landed on a simple recipe that I’m excited to share with you here. I also have some biscuit-making tips (listed after the recipe) that I’ve acquired over time which I think are helpful in getting a good result, which means a lovely, golden brown top, a nice tender, flaky interior and a flavor with a hint of sweetness.
If you’re never baked a biscuit, I encourage you to try it sometime. They’re quick to mix and bake. They’re good for breakfast and also great as a sandwich bread and delicious for dinner rolls. If you’re gluten-free you can substitute the King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose flour with good results. Please note, you will get dough on your hands, but that can be therapeutic. Just sayin’!
Buttermilk Honey Biscuits
Makes 9-10 biscuits
-2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, chilled
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter for skillet or pan
-2 tablespoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt-½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk, divided
-2 teaspoons honey
-2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 tablespoon honey, for spreading, optional
Place flour and ½ cup butter in freezer for 30 minutes to chill. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 2 tablespoons butter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet or baking pan and place skillet or pan into the hot oven until butter is melted. Remove from the oven immediately once butter is melted.
While butter is melting in the skillet in the oven, whisk chilled flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Grate the chilled butter into the flour. Gently stir until butter pieces are coated with flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the butter/flour mixture. Pour 1 cup of cold buttermilk into the well and swirl the 2 teaspoons of honey on top of milk. Stir everything together gently until just combined. The dough will be crumbly and look like shreds. That’s OK. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, carefully form it into a rough rectangle. Fold one side into the center, then fold the other side into the center. Gently flatten with your hands.
Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat the folding and flattening. Then repeat the turning and folding and flattening a third time. Carefully roll or pat the dough out until it’s about ¾ inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter or a glass or a knife into 3-inch rounds. Re-roll scraps until you have nine to 10 biscuits. Arrange biscuits into hot buttered skillet/pan, turning them over once before placing them close together. You want them to be touching each other. Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter and honey if desired. Best eaten warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature for up to five days.
Biscuit Baking Tips
-Cold flour makes for taller biscuits. If you don’t have time to chill the flour your biscuits will still be delicious but if you have time, it’s worth it.
-While a lot of recipes call for cubed butter, grating the cold butter into the flour makes it easier to mix in. If you do use cold cubes of butter, using a food processor to blend the butter into the flour until you get coarse crumbs is the easiest way to break down the butter. Do not over blend or your biscuits will be tough instead of tender and flaky.
-You can substitute whole milk for buttermilk. The buttermilk makes a tangier flavor. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to one cup of whole milk. Let stand for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
-Baked biscuits freeze well for up to three months. You can also freeze the biscuit dough. Before patting out and cutting the dough into biscuits, you can wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze or place in refrigerator (for up to two days) before using.