It’s Tuesday and my biscuits are square. On purpose. And laziness is only part of the reason.
My biscuits are square so I don’t have to fuss with reincorporating the scraps and cutting more rounds – everything is formed with as little handling as possible: I turn out the dough onto floured parchment, I work it as little as possible with my hands, getting it into a rectangle. I cut the dough into squares with a bench scraper, slide them out away from each other just a bit, and onto a baking sheet the parchment goes!
I thought the biscuits were very good with butter and honey or raspberry coulis. After all, where I come from, biscuits are usually just a vehicle for something else (butter, gravy, or sausage). Served warm with butter, my husband thought a hint of cinnamon in the dough would have made them perfect.
Walnut-Sour Cream Biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar I used dark brown
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
- 1/2 cup cold sour cream
- 1/4 cold whole milk
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted
- Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bow. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between-- and that's just right. I did this all in a food processor and then added the dry ingredients and the nuts to a bowl before proceeding.
- Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading--3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the nuts and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.
- Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even-- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.
- Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. See my comments above on shaping.Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting, just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)
- Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.
Yields: 10-12 biscuits