Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

I love biscuits! In fact, I love all bread. When I go to a restaurant that puts freshly baked rolls with butter on the table, I'm the person who needs to be forcibly restrained to ensure that others get some as well. I generally deal with my bread addiction by not buying tasty bread (I have tons of willpower at the grocery store, but it mysteriously vanishes once I get home). And while I have been baking my own bread, as you can see from this previous post, I'm not quite there yet. I can make decent white sandwich bread, but nothing I'm going to sit down and devour.

Except now I can make these biscuits: light and flaky with a lovely chivey aftertaste. This might be a problem.

These biscuits are easy. How easy, you ask? Well, I did them in the middle of making Sunday's chicken cacciatore (ok, so Jeff was monitoring the chicken while I threw these together, but it was still far less chaotic than I expected). Having a food processor to blend the butter and flour is key. As my food processor is new, this is the first time I'd done it and I couldn't believe how easy it was. What used to involve several minutes of frustrated annoyance with the pastry blender (and, ultimately, my hands once I decided the pastry blender was useless), now takes seconds for the food processor. I can't believe I only just discovered how useful these things are. It certainly made biscuit-making a breeze. And now that I know that I can throw these babies together in, say, fifteen minutes?

Let's just say that my diet might be in jeopardy.

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits
Slightly Adapted from Annie's Eats.

2 c flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (just a note: I use unsalted butter for everything, so I don't always note when a recipe requires you to use it - for baking, unsalted is generally preferable)
1 egg
scant 1 c buttermilk (meaning, not quite a whole cup, but close - this recipe requires a cup of liquid, and the egg counts as well)
1/4 c snipped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of your food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and pulse to blend, until the pieces are no larger than peas. (This can also be done by combining the ingredients in a bowl and whisking, then combining the butter with a pastry blender.) Pour the mixture into a separate bowl.

Crack the egg into a measuring cup and whisk it a little. Add enough buttermilk to bring the measurement to a full cup. Whisk in the chopped chives. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix gently until the dough just comes together, absorbing all the dry ingredients.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work area (I used a cutting board because my countertop was a mess from making the rest of dinner). Pat it into a disc about 1/2" thick (mine was more of an amorphous blob, but it worked - my dough was also a bit sticky still, so I dusted it with some extra flour to make it workable). Use a floured 3" biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits (I obviously failed at this one - you might note that my biscuits are ginormous. I think I used the 4" cutter - hey, they're new! What do I know?).

Transfer the biscuits to your baking sheet. When you can cut no more biscuits, gently pat the dough into a new circle and continue until it is all used up (I ended up molding some of the final scraps into rounds in my hands - the dough was sticky enough for this to work).

Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and fluffy (mine took about 20 minutes, because they were so large). Remove from the oven and serve!

The blog I got the recipe from suggests that these can also be made, shaped and then frozen. This way you can have fresh, hot biscuits whenever you'd like - just add a few minutes to the baking time (instead of thawing). I take the opposite approach. I froze some of the extras and will defrost them when my current supply runs out. I usually reheat them for a few minutes in my toaster oven at 300°F before serving.


  1. I have been on the lookout for a fantastic biscuit recipe...I will have to try these out!

  2. I really think you need to make these again... say, on February 18...

    On another note, do you find that there's a real difference between buttermilk and normal milk?

  3. I think that could be arranged. You should remind me, though, just in case.

    As for buttermilk, it is definitely different from regular milk. It adds a tangy flavor. Depending on what you're making with it, the flavor might be subtle, but once I learned what it tastes like I found I could generally pick it out. Also, it adds moisture and tenderness to baked goods.

    The first time I made a recipe with buttermilk, I was annoyed that I had so much left over because I didn't know what else to do with it. Now, I always have it on hand and use it in tons of things. In my experience it doesn't go bad easily - I've had some last for months (yes, months!) past the expiration date without spoiling. It will separate, but a good shake will combine it into useable form again.