Peeps, it’s just a stone cold fact that buttermilk biscuits are always a welcome addition to the meal. And what is amazing about biscuits is that they literally are welcome at any meal. They are perfect for breakfast with runny eggs and white sausage gravy, amazing for lunch split open and filled with leftover pulled pork in a vinegar BBQ sauce and for dinner warm, slathered with salted butter, and served alongside (almost) any entree you can imagine.
And seeing as how Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and there isn’t a dinner guest in the land who doesn’t want to see a big ole pile of warm biscuits set out on the table, I thought I’d share my recipe for straight-up biscuits. Yes, I have recipes for others on the site, including these cacio e pepe biscuits and these everything cream cheese biscuits, with roasted tomato, but sometimes you just want something simple and unadorned, you feel me? And I hope it goes without saying that these are super easy-peasy to assemble. I mean, really all biscuits are, but I think it deserves mentioning, just in case you thought you were embarking on something complicated and lengthy (you are not and you’re welcome). Now, a lot of research went into the making of these biscuits, as I wanted them to be super flaky and tender (duh). And so, I looked to the New York Times and learned about the importance of using cake flour in your biscuit if tenderness is important to you (FYI, it should be) and then saw that my beloved pal and the all around genius, Zoe Francoise, uses some cake flour in ZoeBakes flaky biscuits, so then I knew I was on the right track.
But besides flaky and tender, I also really wanted tall buttermilk biscuits (I know looks aren’t everything, but sometimes they matter, you know?). And lucky for you I achieved the height I was after. First, I learned that a tall-baked biscuit starts with a tall pre-baked biscuit. So, rolling or patting your dough until it is 1 1/2 inches high and no less, is key. I learned that from Martha Stewart, FYI. Moreover, as luck would have it, I was listening to Bake from Scratch’s new podcast, The Crumb, hosted by my (other) pal, Brian Hart Hoffman, and the episode was all about biscuits. The guest was none other than the queen of biscuits, Carrie Morey, of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits. And low and behold, Carrie happened to mention a trick for achieving biscuits with height. She suggested baking the biscuits nestled next to each other in a baking pan, rather than spaced apart on a sheet pan, for as the biscuits rise in the oven, their proximity to each other encourages them to rise up higher than they might otherwise be wont to do. Safety in numbers, perhaps? Who knows. All I can promise is that you’ll be pleased with these tender and oh, so tall biscuits, whether you bake them up for Thanksgiving, or RIGHT NOW.
Mile High Buttermilk and Cream Biscuits
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 ⁄4 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup unsalted butter chilled
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 Tbsp heavy cream
- egg wash:
- 1 egg
- pinch of table salt
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling optional
- Grease a 13-by-9-by-2-in pan with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Add the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the bowl, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and cream and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, combine the wet into the dry until a shaggy dough forms.
- Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough a few times until it is no longer crumbly and the dry and moist bits are fully integrated. If the dough is at all sticky, lightly flour your work surface again. Gently pat or roll the dough into a rectangle at least 11⁄2 in thick to ensure a tall biscuit. Using a 3-in biscuit cutter dipped in flour, begin cutting out biscuits from the dough rectangle and place in the prepared pan so they are touching (this helps them rise). You will not fill the whole pan. Collect the scraps and re-roll and cut as needed, although these ones made from scraps will not be as flaky and tender.
- Freeze the biscuits, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight. The unbaked biscuits can be frozen for up to a week.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C].
- For the egg wash Combine the egg and salt and brush the wash on the tops of the frozen biscuits. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt, if using. Bake for 5 minutes, decrease the heat to 400°F [200°C], and bake for about 15-20 minutes more, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The biscuits are ready when they are golden brown on top and lightly browned on the bottom. Let the biscuits sit a minute or two in the pan until they are easy to handle.
- Biscuits are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, on the counter for up to 3 days. To reheat, wrap them in aluminum foil and warm in a 350°F [180°C] oven for 15 to 20 minutes.