Buttermilk Biscuits

About a year ago I was having some serious comfort food cravings so I set out to learn to make perfect biscuits.  I tried quite a few recipes but there was always something wrong – the biscuits were too short, the texture was off, the flavor wasn’t right.  Finally I decided to combine the best parts of the different recipes I had tried.  And voilà… my recipe for perfect Southern Buttermilk Biscuits was born.  Now I’m passing my biscuit-baking expertise on to you!

Buttermilk Biscuits

My recipe is based on Tupelo Honey Cafe’s biscuit recipe (if you’re looking for a great Southern cookbook you should check theirs out), but I altered the ingredients and techniques based on what worked in other recipes.  I used lard, but don’t let that scare you – it actually has less saturated fat than butter.  It gives an extra boost of richness but where it really makes a difference is the texture.  Having said that, don’t use the stuff you buy at the store.  It’s hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable (Yikes!).  I render my own from the heritage pork quarter hogs we order.  If you don’t have homemade lard, use more butter in place of the lard.  Your biscuits will still be delicious, I promise!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 biscuits

Ingredients

1 c. Bread Flour
1/2 tbsp. Baking Powder
1/8 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tbsp. Greek Yogurt
3/4 tsp. Salt
3 tbsp. Butter, frozen
3 tbsp. Lard, frozen
1/4 – 3/8 c. Buttermilk

1.  Combine the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and salt in a bowl.

2.  Using a pastry blender, cut the butter and lard into the dry ingredients.  You need your fats frozen so that they remain solid and create the little air pockets that make your biscuits light and flaky.

Dry Ingredients

Fair warning, frozen butter is VERY hard.  This will take some elbow grease and I recommend a serious pastry cutter – the kind with blades instead of those wimpy round wires (I killed one of those the first time I made biscuits).  You want to keep blending until the mixture looks like a very coarse meal (see below).  The butter and lard pieces should be no bigger than a pea.

Cut In Butter

3.  Slowly add buttermilk until your dough comes together.

Biscuit Dough

4.  Transfer your dough to a well-floured surface and sprinkle with extra flour.  Roll out to ~3/4 – 1 inch thickness.  See how you can still see those pieces of butter?  That’s what you want!

Roll Out Dough

5.  Fold the rolled dough like a pamphlet, 1/3 over the center then the other 1/3 over the center again.

Fold Dough 1Fold Dough 2

6.  Once again roll the dough out to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness and repeat the folding procedure.

7.  After this second folding, roll the dough out to 1 inch thickness.  If you want nice, tall biscuits you have to keep dough thick before you bake it.

8.  Cut the dough using a biscuit cutter.  DO NOT twist the cutter!  This will seal the edges of the biscuit and prevent it from rising while it cooks.

You should be able to get 4 biscuits out of your dough.  I actually take the remaining dough after cutting and form it into a 5th biscuit.  It may not look as pretty, but it still tastes wonderful.

Cut Biscuits

9.  Place your biscuits on a baking sheet then cook on the top rack of the oven at 450° F until golden, about 20 minutes.

Bake Biscuits

You have the option of pulling the biscuits out after 15 minutes of baking, brushing the tops with melted butter, and returning the oven for another 5 minutes.  I usually skip this step because the biscuits are already buttery enough for my taste, but it will make your biscuits extra buttery, crisp, and golden.

Finished Biscuits

Split your biscuit and top with honey, jelly, or apple butter – or do what I do and eat them plain!  Pair them with eggs and bacon for a classic breakfast or enjoy as a side to a hearty Southern meal.

Buttermilk Biscuits

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Sweet Corn Tomalito

Looking for a unique Mexican side dish that’s sure to tickle everyone’s tastebuds?  Try our Sweet Corn Tomalito – it’s kind of a cross between cornbread and corn pudding… delicious!  Plus, it’s quick and easy to make.

Sweet Corn Tomalito

I first tried this dish at Chevy’s Mexican restaurant in Orlando.  My family likes to eat there when we visit Disney World, and it’s one of the meals I most looked forward to on our trips.  If you’ve ever eaten at a Chevy’s you probably remember that scoop of golden goodness that came with your meal.  For those of you who, like me, live nowhere near a Chevy’s restaurant, this copycat recipe is the perfect way to get your fix.

Sweet Corn Tomalito

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 11 minutes (microwave) or 50-60 minutes (stove)

Serves: 8

Ingredients

5 tbsp. Butter, softened
1/2 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Masa
1/2 c. Cornmeal
1 c. Whole Kernel Corn
1 c. Creamed Corn
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Milk

1.  Mix butter, sugar, and masa until fluffy.  I do this by hand but you could use a mixer if you prefer.

2.  Stir the cornmeal and creamed corn into the mixture.  Then add the whole kernel corn, baking powder, salt, and milk and stir until thoroughly combined.

Note: You can either use cans of whole kernel and creamed corn or use frozen corn for this recipe.  If you decide to go the frozen corn route you can make creamed corn for the recipe by pureeing a cup of corn with a little water until you reach the proper consistency.

Tomalito Batter

3.  Pour the  mixture into an 8″ x 8″ glass pan.

If you want to save electricity and eat much sooner, cover with plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on medium power for 7 minutes then an additional 4 minutes on high power.

If you don’t have a microwave or prefer not to cook with it, you can go with the traditional steaming method.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and steam over a pot of boiling water for 50-60 minutes.  If you use this method, check the pot periodically so you don’t boil it dry.

I’ve tried both methods and didn’t notice any difference in the results between the two.

When it’s done, it should be solid and the top should not look wet.  It may be starting to crack slightly.

Cooked Tomalito

4.  Stir the tomalito to fluff and it’s ready to eat!

Fluff with a Spoon or Fork

Serve it alongside your favorite Mexican Main Dish (check out our Chicken Tinga Tacos, Chipotle Stout Braised Beef, Blackened Tofu Tacos, or Green Citrus Chicken Enchiladas) and enjoy!

Sweet Corn Tomalito