There are some people who you meet in your life that forever change the way you look at the world. Friends, lovers, teachers, strangers. These people teach you more about the world and yourself than you could ever imagine. Last year, I met this person and haven’t been the same since. One of the kindest and compassionate people I have ever met, she is like the grandmother I never had: warm, comforting, and full of knowledge and advice. She is the kind of lady who radiates positivity, influencing me in ways I never thought possible. When I was stuck in a particularly low rut, she talked me out of it, listening and lending an open ear to my troubles.
Because she isn’t bound by blood to me, our friendship has been based on common interests and experiences. I love my family but sometimes you need that outside perspective, right?
We also happen to share a love of baking and all things related to the kitchen. Whenever we meet up, we swap recipes and discuss our baking experiences. The day I completed my first ever pie crust, I told her immediately and she was so proud. When I had problems baking my own bread, she offered tips and advice from her own previous experience. When I told her about my never-ending problems with yeast, she told me that we needed to have a whole day dedicated to working with yeast and bread to better acquaint me with yeast. She is not only a dear friend, but a baking guru.
In December, she told me about a stew that she had made over Thanksgiving, and the lovely, delicate biscuits she made to accompany the stew. I literally started drooling when she described the biscuits in detail. I immediately asked her for the recipe and she told me that it came from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, a recipe book that she turns to religiously. Luckily, I have the same baking book at home and put Martha’s biscuit recipe to good use during a rather wet and stormy weekend.
Martha’s recipe came through once again because these biscuits were so good. They were ten times better than I could have imagined. The dough was super simple to make and I froze half the batch, knowing that they will be devoured in the near future. Because I didn’t have a standard biscuit cutter, I used a flower cutout to cut my biscuits, making them almost too cute to eat.
The minute they came out of the oven, they made my kitchen smell like buttery goodness. I ripped one open, and found the insides soft and fluffy. They weren’t as flaky as I’d like, but they had a crunchy, golden outside that contrasted nicely with the soft insides. I ate mine with a dollop of blackberry jam and butter, bundled up on my couch while reading the paper over the weekend. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? Because it was!
Many thanks to my adopted grandmother (as I like to call her) for not only pointing out this recipe to me but for being such a supportive person in my life recently. I wouldn’t have made it out in piece this year without your advice and love. I know that there are literally thousands of biscuit recipes out there to choose from, so I don’t expect to convert you all, but I hope that you give this recipe a try. I must admit, I am not a biscuit connoisseur. In my childhood, my mom was more likely to whip out the Pillsbury canister than to make her own biscuits. But Pillsbury better watch out because if more people start baking their own biscuits with this recipe, they will be out of business. Especially in these rough times, avoiding store-bought products can be both emotionally and physically satisfying. Go on with your biscuit bad-self!
Origin: Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
Yield: 1 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 to 20 minutes
● 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
● 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
● 1 tsp baking soda
● 1 tsp salt
● 1 tsp sugar
● 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut in to pieces
● 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for dusting
Preheat the oven to 375℉. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry lender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumsb with a few larger clumps remaining.
Pour the buttermilk; using a rubber spatula, fold buttermilk into the dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a round about 1 inch thick, pressing in a any loose bits. Do not overwork the dough. use a floured 2 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits as close together as possible. Use one cut edge as the edge for the next biscuit.
Place the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart on an unlined baking sheet. Generously brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.