When you end up making five pounds of Grilled Sriracha Chicken Wings for the Super Bowl, sometimes you have some extra ingredients on hand.
The wings were marinated the day before and when I saw how much buttermilk I still had leftover (even after a generous brine), an idea immediately sprang to mind.
You see, Super Bowl morning was the day I’d been planning to make Oliver and myself a very special breakfast to celebrate that we’d won our very own Super Bowl in our fantasy football league just the week before.
Allow me to backtrack a minute. Back in August Oliver was invited into a group fantasy football league (consisting of cousins, my sister and her husband and some friends) and he asked me if I’d partner with him.
I took to fantasy football like a duck to water. I loved the research, the plotting, the reading up on players and watching the games to see how our players were performing. Every day Oliver and I got caught up on the intracacies of the game and deciding which players to play (and trading in for new players as injuries or poor performances resulted in sub-par scores).
And we watched a lot of football games.
Okay, that’s far more than any non-football loving fan needs to know but suffice it to say our fantasy football exploits and my Seahawks obsession consumed our house for four months.
Fantasy football introduced me to players (and their stories) throughout the NFL and with every possible competitive atom in my body full engaged, I was beyond thrilled when we beat out all the competition and won the league.
No, there was not money involved.
Yes, it’s perfectly normal to buy yourself a trophy if you feel like you deserve it afterwards.
So buttermilk biscuits seemed like the perfect celebratory breakfast, but I was skittish. I’d had poor results with biscuits the last time I tried from-scratch versions years ago and I was worried I’d mess them up.
This time I found a recipe from the blog Smitten Kitchen (I love it and its creator Deb Perelman) so I thought it would be a good place to start.
The recipe is very unfussy and straightforward– just what you want in unchartered waters.
You pull together the dry ingredients and the chilled butter.
You can use a pastry cutter to work in the butter or just mix it in with your hands (which is how I like to do it).
You then add just enough buttermilk to pull it together (in this case, 3/4 cup), mixing it with a light hand.
It’ll be pretty crumbly on the edges but moist throughout.
No matter what you do, don’t overwork the dough — it’ll make for a tough biscuit.
Roll it out, and then use a cutter or upturned glass to cut into shapes for baking. They will only take about 12-15 minutes to bake, meaning that from the time you decide to make biscuits to the moment you are stuffing them in your craw is only about a half hour total (assuming of course you have these basics ingredients in the house and your oven preheats to 400 degrees fairly fast).
The recipe makes anywhere between 6 large to 12 small biscuits which is the perfect amount; any more and you will gorge yourself uncomfortably and forget baking for leftovers– they just don’t taste the same. These biscuits really are best eaten while still warm from the oven.
And now I can’t believe I had to hit the over-50 age mark to finally learn how to make a proper biscuit, but now that I have, I’ve made them twice in the last couple days.
Thanks, Deb — these biscuits are amazing.
Ethereal, buttery, fluffy and a little crumbly — so delicious.
The new skill of biscuit baking is a dangerous one, but a happy reward at the end of a long football season.
And now I’m going to do my best going forward to make up for all that lost biscuit baking and eating time.
Heaven help us all.
- 2¼ C. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. to 1½ Tbs. sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. table salt
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 9 Tbs. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- ¾ C. buttermilk
- Heat oven to 400 degrees and cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large, wide bowl. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse mel. Add buttermilk and stir until large, craggy clumps. Reach hands into bowl and knead mixture briefly until it just holds together.
- To form biscuit rounds: Transfer dough to floured counter and pat out until ½ to ¾ inch thick (err on the thin side if uncertain, as the tall ones will literally rise and then tip over, like mine did the day I photographed these).
- Using a round cutter (2 inches for regular sized biscuits, 3 inches for the monstrous ones shown above), press straight down -- twisting produces less layered sides-- and transfer rounds to prepared sheet, spacing two inches apart.
- To make drop biscuits: Drop ¼-cup spoonfuls onto baking sheet, spacing two inches apart.
- Both method: Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then serve warm, with butter/jam/eggs/bacon/sausage and gravy or any combination thereof.
- Do ahead: Biscuits are best freshly baked. When I want to plan ahead, I make the biscuit dough and form the individual biscuits, then freeze them until needed. They can be baked directly from the freezer; they will just need a couple more minutes of baking time. (above all written by Ms.Perelman)