[The Listserve] My favorite biscuit recipe
I was saddened when I learned my favorite biscuit recipe was from the New York Times. Previously I had imagined myself as one in a line of kitchen witches, tracing ourselves back generations, whispering arcana over shared meals, pantries and fires.
But no, it was a recipe from the New York Times. They actually publish a lot of good recipes.
I love making biscuits. I love how they can carry any flavor. I like what they communicate: the simplicity of caring, the effort and emotion, the warmth of that glowing oven in the winter or sitting on the porch in the summer, an occasional breeze the only respite from the heat. Biscuits remind you of something you love and yearn for, or something you cherish and have.
They also taste good.
Anyway, here's the recipe. My kitchen witch modifications are in parentheses.
-2 cups all purpose flour (1 2/3 c flour + 1/3 c corn meal or masa)
-2 tablespoons baking powder
-1 tablespoon sugar (honey or maple syrup)
-1 teaspoon salt
-5 tablespoons butter (8 tbsp butter)
-1 cup whole milk (rice milk)
1) Mix dry stuff in a bowl. (If using liquid sweetener, mix that into the milk.)
2) Cut butter into smaller pieces. I cut the stick in quarters length-wise, and then into cubes.
3) "Cut the butter into the flour." You can do this the traditional way (with two butter knives), a pastry cutter, or a food processor. If you want to do it my way, wash your hands thoroughly, then just mash everything together with your fingers.
4) Once it looks uniformish, add milk and mix it some more. Let it be uneven and messy. It will taste good.
5) You can roll it out using a rolling pin (or empty bottle of Jameson (do not rush to empty it just for this)), and cut out pretty biscuit rounds using a cup. I usually take a 1/2 or 1/3 cup, scoop a bit of dough and place on a baking tray.
5.1) Just kidding, my baking tray is a cast iron pan. If you're like me, you'll enjoy cooking them in a cast iron pan. Feel free to use a baking tray though.
6) Bake 10-15 minutes at 425 f (218.3 c). They're done once they look done.
What's good about any recipe is that you can change it, tweak it, and poke it until it's just right for right now. USE YR OWN MAGIC! SUMMON THE MAGIC OF THE ELDERS.
For dessert, add sugar. Or vanilla. Use orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves. Replace the butter with a different fat. Replace the butter with shredded cheese (and oil). You can add herbs or vegetables, or keep them as they are.
The thing I love most about a good biscuit recipe is the same thing I love about most things in my life--I get to share it with my friends. :)
Molly de Blanc