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Buttermilk Biscuits

You don’t have to be from Dixie to love these flaky, buttery biscuits. Crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, they are so easy to prepare that many Southern cooks whip up a batch to serve with every meal, be it a hearty breakfast of fried eggs and cheesy grits, a hot soup lunch or at supper alongside sliced baked ham.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour  
  • 1 cup cake flour 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 6 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter, plus more for serving 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • Honey for serving (optional) 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Have ready an ungreased rimmed baking sheet.

In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into tablespoons and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and stir just until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a few times in the bowl.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a light touch, pat out the dough into a round 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Gather up the dough scraps, pat them out again, cut out more dough rounds, and add them to the baking sheet. Bake the biscuits until they have risen and are golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with butter and honey, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 biscuits.

Variation: For savory biscuits, stir 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 Tbs. minced fresh chives and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper into the flour and butter mixture before adding the buttermilk. You may need to use a little more buttermilk. The biscuits won’t rise as high, but they will still be delicious.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Comfort Food, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2009).