Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

I didn't really need a baking powder biscuits "recipe." And if you like to bake you probably don't either. But I do love this cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. The pictures are gorgeous and they did something really neat with the instructions. They give you instructions to make the recipe by hand and by machine of choice (mixer, food processor, etc.), which I think is great. Sometimes I don't feel like carting out the stand mixer. And all of the food processor parts? Forget it. But this book is a little reminder that those things really aren't necessary, if you're willing to put in a little work.

So in that spirit, instead of using a pastry cutter, I used two knives (you know, how Grandma used to do). Well, if I'm being honest I wish I had just used the cutter. For two reasons: 1. my triceps started to really hurt after a minute (which is just a little glimpse into how out of shape I really am right now) and 2. when the butter and flour combine it should be like small peas and I got too fed up before then and went looking for my pastry cutter to finish the job. But couldn't find it, which just seems like the universe laughing at me, doesn't it??

But in any event, no matter what recipe you use, biscuits really are a quick way to make Sunday morning a little extra special - which I love.

Baking Powder Biscuits from Essentials of Baking, Williams-Sonoma

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup whole milk

These instructions are to make by hand. For food processor steps, see below.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and lightly butter a 1/2 sheet pan.

2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or 2 knives (see above) and cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

4. Pour in the milk and mix with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead gently, just a few times, until it clings together. Pat the dough into a round about 3/4 inch thick.

6. Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter (or the top of glass) to cut out the biscuits. Place the biscuits on the prepared pan. Gather scraps and repeat until all the dough is used.

7. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

By Food Processor:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and lightly butter a 1/2 sheet pan.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix.

3. Add the butter and pulse 3 or 4 times until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

4. Pour in the milk and pulse for a few seconds just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

*go up to regular instructions and follow from #5.


  1. Fabulous biscuits.

    But remember, now you don't need to go to the gym for an upper body workout!


  2. Great point, Emily! Except I'm pretty sure a gym workout is still in order considering how many biscuits I ate ...