You can tell a foodie by how she packs for an extended trip abroad. When I moved to Bulgaria, I took black beans and quinoa, and I left a list of foods that my friends and family should feel free to send any time they had an urge to put a care package together. Sage! I said. Ranch dressing mix! Molasses! Marcy scours the Asian grocery before a trip to Europe. Nolan brings a jar of mole. When Krista went to Mexico, she made room in her suitcase for a 5-pound bag of White Lily flour. This is how I knew we’d be friends.
I have spent much of my brief life looking for good biscuits. Usually, I paid for them. (I think there’s a support group for that.) Outside the American south, amazing biscuits are hard to come by – most folks don’t understand that the point is to use just enough flour to hold all the fat together. What ends up happening without this rule is a lump of baked dough that tastes like toothpaste without the minty freshness, thanks to all the baking soda that gets thrown in.
I could always make decent biscuits, but I needed a gobstopper of a recipe to support the technique I understood. A few weeks ago, I found it. It’s in the Gourmet cookbook, and everyone who’s eaten these that I’ve made for them has said little more than “oh. Woah” before they vacuum them up off the plate. Then they look at me in adoration, a buttery gleam in their eyes, and say, “…could you, uh, make those again?”
You’d think that I would make enough of a recipe that people wouldn’t need to ask for a second batch. But when a stick of butter makes only four biscuits… Well, you’ve got to pace yourself.
When I made them this morning, I took a bite, held it for a second, and literally felt it melting in my mouth. I didn’t know that was possible with anything that wasn’t chocolate ganache. I see no other biscuit recipe but this one from now on.
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
makes 4 giant biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 stick butter, chilled and cut in tablespoons
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk (I like to use 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/2 cup yogurt)
Preheat to 425F. In a large bowl stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and cut in with forks or a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir just to combine.
Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 5-6 times, until the dough starts to come together. Pat into a small circle, about an inch and a half thick. Using a 2″ ring mold, punch straight down into the dough, no twisting. Reform dough and cut out three more biscuits. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and delicious. (You’ll hear them sizzle on the pan. It’ll be great.) Eat with apple butter and sweet tea.