Cracklin’ Buttermilk Biscuits

November 5th, 2011

I have avoided making biscuits.  It seemed like such a messy enterprise for the first thing in the morning.  Also my biscuits have turned out to be less than stellar .  But not anymore.  I have conquered the biscuit and can even have them prepped, up to the addition of the buttermilk (and bacon if you choose to use it), way in advance.

Biscuits seem to me to be a Southern thing, so I consulted The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook for their take on biscuits.  I expected a complicated method of cutting in the shortening, but was suprised to find that just a short burst in a food processor will incorporate the butter and shortening nicely.  The dough is handled briefly with three turns on a floured board, patted out and cut.  It is much easier than making pie crust.

The addition of crumbled cooked bacon is a nice touch.  The real Southern way would be to use pork cracklings but that is something I never have in my refrigerator.   These biscuits are just the right size for brunch with the addition of country ham as a filling.  Or you can get creative with spreads.  I will list a few ideas at the bottom of the recipe.  Enjoy.

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour, plus more for work surface and hands
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork.  Transfer to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.  Add the butter and lard and pulse the mixture in 2-second increments until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 5 pulses.  At this point you can put in a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to proceed.
Transfer the mixture back to the bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, add the crumbled bacon, and mix with the fork for about 1 minute, until the dough just comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board, knead with floured fingers once or twice, and pat it into a rectangle about 6 x 10 inches and 1 inch thick.
Fold the top third of the rectangle over the center third and fold the bottom third on top.  Turn the dough a quarter turn, pat it into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again.  Repeat one more time, then pat the dough into a 6 x 10 inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. ( Just a note here; it is more important that the dough be 1 inch thick, rather than 6 x 10.  My dough was 5 x 9.)
Using a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits from the dough and place them about 1 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  You may have to reroll the scrapes to get all of your biscuits.  I had about 13 biscuits.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops just begin to brown.
Serve the biscuits warm with any of the following flavored butters.
1.  Sorghum Butter – Combine 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter with 1/2 cup sorghum molasses.  Cream together.  Transfer to 2 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until needed.
2.  Strawberry Butter – Combine 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cream together.  Transfer to ramekins and refrigerate until needed.
3.  Cinnamon Butter – Combine 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Cream together.  Transfer to ramekins and refrigerate until needed.
We are heading to Florida on Tuesday.  My next post will be from there.  That’s really not our feet.  Mine are prettier than that. LOL. 

10 responses to “Cracklin’ Buttermilk Biscuits”

  1. Big Dude says:

    I want some right now.

  2. The biscuits look awesome Penny! Have a safe trip. I miss you already!

  3. Kat says:

    Have a safe trip to Florida. I was taught to make biscuits a long time ago by my F-I-L and M-I-L. They did the “bless her heart” thing when they found out I had grown up without one homemade biscuit and would not hear of their son going without his daily homemade biscuits! Now I am known as the best biscuit maker in the family.

  4. Joanne says:

    Biscuits always kind of scare me but when they turn out good…they turn out GOOD. These look fabulous!

  5. Cathy says:

    I love biscuits but seldom take the time to make them. And I would probably eat too many of them anyway. Have a wonderful time in Florida.

  6. Lyla says:

    A friend made me Ina Garten’s delicious orange/cranberry scones for my birthday so when I saw these delicious-looking biscuits I thought they should definitely be on my list for the holidays…Have a safe drive back. Can you believe it’s that time already? Things have whipped by fast…BTW, your photography is more and more thrilling.

  7. bellini says:

    There is no way I could ever turn down a good biscuit!!!

  8. Barbara says:

    Almost wish I hadn’t visited you today, Penny. Those look too good to be resisted!
    Have a great trip south!

  9. Kate says:

    Oh, I now have biscuits on the list for next week! These look so flaky and good.
    Enjoy your trip South.

  10. Robin Sue says:

    My kids like anything with bacon so these would definitely pass the test in our house!

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