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Whatever your age, you know you want to make Mom happy on Mother's Day.
That's why I like to share recipes for this special holiday that anyone -- children, men, or women cooking for their own mothers -- can cook easily for breakfast or brunch.
Something freshly baked is a good start.
Buttermilk biscuits are among the quickest, easiest treats anyone could possibly make.
It takes just minutes to prepare the dough in a food processor (a grownup should supervise kids, especially to keep small hands clear of the sharp blade). Then you need just a few minutes more to knead the dough lightly, roll it out, and cut it.
Before baking, the biscuits chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, which lets the dough relax a bit for more tender results. On the topic of tenderness, let me also suggest using about half cake flour -- though, in a pinch, you could make the biscuits completely with all-purpose (plain) flour.
That's it. Nothing could be simpler.
But the very simplicity of buttermilk biscuits gives you the opportunity to get as fancy as you want.
For a start, I sometimes like to flavor the dough. Along with the basic recipe here, I share one for a variation with Parmesan cheese and onion. But don't stop there. Try adding a healthy pinch of chopped fresh or dried herbs or some chili powder or freshly ground black pepper, or another kind of grated cheese. Or add raisins and a pinch of cinnamon for sweet biscuits.
How you use the biscuits opens up all sorts of other possibilities.
Of course, I love these alongside scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. But you can also split and butter them and put the eggs and bacon inside to make breakfast sandwiches.
Or use the split halves in place of toasted English muffins as the base for eggs Benedict.
Any biscuits that you don't eat in the morning should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature after they've cooled. Later in the day or the next morning, freshen them up by splitting them and toasting under the broiler; then, let a pat of butter melt into each warm half and serve with strawberry jam, orange marmalade, or another favorite preserve.
Speaking of later in the day, I also want to share with you two other uses for the biscuits. Quickly baked after dinner, they make wonderful substitutes for shortcake topped with lightly sweetened sliced fresh strawberries and some whipped cream. Or roll out the dough more thinly and use it in a single piece or as cutouts to top a chicken potpie.
Whatever you choose to do with these biscuits, I know one thing for certain: Mom will be proud of you.
Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
Makes 20 to 22 biscuits
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1-1/4 cups cake flour
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup organic buttermilk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
In a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, combine the all-purpose (plain) flour, the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Scatter in the chilled butter pieces. Secure the lid and pulse the machine on and off several times. Then, process just until the mixture resembles fine meal.
With the machine running, pour the buttermilk through the feed tube. Continue processing just until the dough comes together, stopping immediately to avoid overprocessing.
Taking care to avoid the sharp edges of the stainless-steel blade, turn out the dough onto a well-floured work surface. With clean hands, gently knead the dough a few times until smooth, pushing it away with the heel of your hand, then folding it back and giving it a quarter turn. Gather the dough into a round ball.
With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1 inch. With a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many biscuits as you can, gathering up the scraps, re-rolling them, and cutting again until you have used all the dough to make 20 to 22 biscuits. As you cut them, arrange the biscuits on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly brush the top of each biscuit with milk or cream. Bake until the biscuits are a light golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm.
Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe with Onion & Parmesan
Makes 20 to 22 biscuits
- Buttermilk Biscuits (see previous recipe)
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare the Buttermilk Biscuits as described in the previous recipe, adding the onion and thyme to the food processor at the same time as the butter. After brushing each cutout biscuit with the milk or cream, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese before baking as directed.
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