Sunday, December 26, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits (AKA, Another Way to Serve Leftover Holiday Ham)

Hello there!

Did you have a lovely holiday? I know I did.

There was family, food, and love all around. My mom played Mario Kart Wii with us, and she laughed til she cried. My brother taught my sister how to Dougie.

Oh yeah. I'd say it was a pretty good Christmas.

I was having so much fun...that I didn't document it in photos.


I'm sorry. I just really enjoy experiencing the magic of the moment without being flustered at getting the right shot, you know?

I knew you'd understand. You're a precious soul!

But I did document something that's gonna help you out: how to get rid of your leftover holiday ham.

Let me let you in on something: the best way to quickly disseminate leftover ham is to tuck it inside of a piping hot buttermilk biscuit.

Down here, biscuit recipes are a dime a dozen; if you ask a hundred people how they make their biscuits, you'll get a hundred answers. However, if you're into warm, fluffy, and begging-to-be-split-and-filled-with-deliciousness, you have come to the right place.

Come, come...I will show you how I make them.

You will need these tools. I threw them on the table like this, and I was so impressed with the way they landed that I decided to show you too. You're welcome.

Your partners-in-crime include: shortening (preferably butter-flavored), buttermilk, sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, salt, and butter.

Oh yes. It's going to be a good morning.

First, get yourself some flour. 

And dump it into your large mixing bowl.

Grab your measuring spoons, and and get some sugar--granulated, although I'm sure the other kind would also make your morning a little better.

If you don't know what the other kind need to get out more. 

I kid!

Now pop open your baking powder, and add a couple of teaspoons.

And don't forget to add that last half-teaspoon! You want these to be fluffy clouds of deliciousness.

Add some baking soda, and feel a tad ashamed of your imprecise measurements.

Oh. And you added salt. Did you forget? Because you did. Honest.

At this point, you could sift your dry ingredients together. But I neither have a sieve nor the patience to use one here, so I just settle for a fork.

This, my friends, is butter-flavored shortening. It's a staple in my pantry for its fat-content to add to breads and pie crusts, as well as a go-to for greasing pans. I've grown up with it. I've embraced it. If I die earlier because of it, I accept my punishment happily.

I'll blame it on my Southern upbringing. It happens.

Soapbox: now vacant

You're gonna want to use a paper towel to get the residuals out...unless you want slippery hands from now until next Christmas. 

So with your dry ingredients well-combined and your shortening now in the bowl, your task is to cut the shortening into the dry mixture--that is, you need to combine your dry mix and shortening until your bowl seems to contain coarse cornmeal.

There are a few ways of cutting shortening into your mixture: using a pastry cutter, or using a fork. As I do not possess a pastry cutter, I decided to go the fork route because I have no other choice I'm economical like that.

This process takes fortitude and dedication, but I have complete faith in you!

Trust me: your reward is worth it.

Ok! You can be done now.

"Coarse cornmeal" can seem like an arbitrary term, so now you have a pictorial reference. This is what we're looking for: coarse little bits that'll contribute to the thick, puffy texture we are seeking.

Now here's the fun part: make a well in the center of the mixture.

We get to fill it in a second, like a swimming pool at the end of May.

I know the anticipation is killing you.

Grab your buttermilk, and conjure visions of kindergarten snack time. 

Personally, my favorite part was opening up my milk carton.

Instant accomplishment = instant gratification

Ahh, buttermilk. You can add regular milk with good results...but this recipe isn't called "buttermilk biscuits" for nothin'. 

I really enjoy the delicious richness and acidic tang buttermilk adds to this recipe. It's just delightful in your bread products.

Pour your buttermilk into the well.

Now take your trusty fork, and fold all of your ingredients together. 

Keep mixing until the mixture is well-combined and follows the fork around the bowl.

That looks about right!

Now flour a flat surface reallllllllllllllly well.

And discard your doughy mass onto it.

Thou shalt knead thy dough five times hence.

And thou shalt flatten it into a disc.

And lose the King James English and roll out your dough.

Roll it out until it's about a half-inch thick. This is gonna make ya some good biscuits. Trust me.

To make uniform biscuits, you need a biscuit cutter. And mine... a coke glass. 

I'm just keepin' it real, y'all.

Don't scoff! It's 3-inches in diameter, and it works just as well as anything you'd get from anywhere.

Well. That was descriptive, wasn't it?

Get as close to the edges as your can, and gently press your glass cutter down. Repeat.

I actually squeezed out eight from the first roll out of dough. I feel accomplished.

Mmm...still more biscuits left to cut. Yes.

Ok. Now I'm getting excited.

Let's brush some melted butter on these beauties.


But it still needs some beauty sleep in the oven.

Yes. Mam.

I mean, look at him. He's begging to be split open and dressed up. And who am I to deny him that?

Strawberry preserves and butter. These are nice serving suggestions.

But I think I promised you an outlet for your holiday ham.

And...I think you just found it.

These might be my favorite breakfast. Ever.

Buttermilk Biscuits (makes 8-10 large biscuits)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, preferably butter-flavored
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the dry mixture until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well into the center of the bowl, and add the milk, stirring until the dough follows the fork around the bowl.

Flour a flat surface well, and place the dough on top of it. Sprinkle the flour on top of the dough, and knead five times. Form the dough into a flat disc. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is a half-inch thick. With the biscuit cutter of your choice (I use a three-inch to make large biscuits), cut out the biscuits.

Place the biscuits into a greased iron skillet or sheet pan. Brush the top of the biscuits with one tablespoon of melted butter. Pop the biscuits into the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the biscuits with the remaining melted butter; serve at once with your favorite butter, jellies, preserves, or meats.

P.S. See these biscuits and other great breakfast treat over on Finding Joy In My Kitchen's Countdown to 2011:Breakfast.

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