Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD: Sweet Cream Biscuits

Guess what today is!! It's my turn to pick the recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie, the fabulous baking group that I joined nearly two years ago. 50 recipes later and the rotation finally got to me. I must say that I've come a long way since my very first recipe with the group - the summer fruit galette. Boy, that was good! I knew I was in for a lot of tasty treats and a few extra pounds after eating that galette. In two years, I've made my first pie dough from scratch, first cheesecake, first soufflé, first custard, first rice pudding, learned how to marble a cake, figured out what in the world rugelach is, acquired lots of new bakeware, and made the best darn ice cream I've ever had.

So the time has finally come for little old ME to pick a recipe for the entire group to make. And what did I pick? Well, I picked the Sweet Cream Biscuits. I compiled a bucket list about a year ago and put "make biscuits from scratch" on my list. They're something I've always wanted to make and never had. And since all of the best sounding desserts had already been chosen within the group, I decided that finally getting to try my hand at biscuits would be a fun task.

And boy, I never knew biscuits could be so difficult to make. It sounded like some other TWDer's were having problems as well. A few people complained their biscuits didn't rise much and were a little hard. Well, I baked my first batch... and had the same results. Just flat little round things that were too hard.

So I looked for some tips. It seems the most common thing I read about was handling the dough too much... which I figured was my problem. I tried a second batch and they came out better, but still not perfect. Here's how they looked... not bad, but not real good either.


So I researched a little more. And I shopped for new flour... and fortunately I found the crown jewel of biscuit making in the south - White Lily flour. So I used the new flour, barely handled the dough at all - to the point that I worried I hadn't mixed it enough, and tried another new technique I'd read about - not twisting the biscuit cutter as you press down on the dough to cut your biscuits.

And... it worked. Sort of. The biscuits were a lot lighter and they rose higher. For some reason there were a couple that came out sorta flat, but most of them were great. I guess biscuit making takes some practice!


At any rate, they were delicious. My husband insisted we have sausage gravy with them, so they were completely smothered in it. Soooo good and calorie laden. Totally sinful. Now that I know how to make biscuits and sausage gravy, I might be gaining a few pounds, because I know my husband will be asking for it frequently.


Thank you to all the TWD members for baking along with me this week! I hope everyone enjoyed the biscuits!

Here's the recipe for anyone who'd like to try it. And I'll be posting the sausage gravy recipe tomorrow, so check back!

Sweet Cream Biscuits
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, page 23)
Makes about 12 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter (I used a glass, and it was fine), and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup of the cream over the dry ingredients, grab a fork and start tossing the ingredients together. If necessary, add more cream, a spoonful at a time, until you’ve got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading – 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don’t worry if the dough isn’t completely even – a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting – just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14 to 18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Serving: Ideally these biscuits should go from oven to table and be served with cold sweet butter.

Storing: You can keep the biscuits in a plastic bag overnight and give them a quick warm-up in the oven the next day, but you won't recapture their freshly made flakiness.

62 comments:

Avril Miller said...

Great job Melissa! Thank you for the tips on what helped you make the BEST biscuits ever! Now, I've just got to find that flour (living in NH it may not be possible....might just have to make a trip down South for it!). Is White Lily flour regular all-purpose flour?

Clivia said...

Awesome recipe choice! I've made these many times. They're always great. Lovely biscuits and gravy photo!

Sweet and Savory said...

I feel better, reading this. I blamed my first batch on being made with gluten free flour but maybe, that is not the problem. My second batch was much better.

Your look just right.

dorie said...

I love that you've had so many 'firsts' as you've baked along with TWD. It's very exciting to me and I can tell that it's very gratifying for you.

I think you're biscuits look really good -- and I think they look really, really great with that terrific gravy.

Monica said...

Thanks for this choice, as you this is a first for me (I been a can biscuit maker for years).

I'm going to make them again with your suggestions, because mine were great out of the oven nice and hot, but as they cooled down, they became a bit hard... I think I handle the dough more than I should have.

The Wilsons said...

Hmmm, looks very similar to the Cooks Illustrated recipe that I use (but that one just uses 2 tsp of baking powder and the full 1 1/4 cup of cream. What I do, and I never have problems, is just pat it out into a circle-ish shape and then just cut it into 8 wedges that way none of the dough is getting re-worked by using a biscuit cutter. Maybe that was the problem with your flat biscuits they were the scraps reworked to get more biscuits.

Romaine said...

Loved reading the chronicle of your biscuit making adventures. I kinda went through the same thinking although I only tried them once. Thanks for showcasing the recipe so beautifully.

natalia said...

Thank you for the great choice !!! I don't think mine are the best but nobody will notice around here !!

Karen said...

I am glad to hear I wasn't the only one with problems. :) Even though they were tough to make they were still tasty! Thanks for a fun recipe!

Lisa said...

Next time I will try the lilly flour! Thanks for a fun biscuit baking tuesday!!!

LDH said...

Such fun baking along with you on this biscuit recipe! The sausage on top is something I know my husband would love... you have inspired me to make that for him.

So nice visiting with you!
Kindly, ldh

spike. said...

I need more biscuit making practice! Mine don't look nearly as good as yours. Thanks for hosting!

Flourchild said...

Thank you for being such a wonderful hostess this week! I love that you picked these awesome biscuits. They were a hit with my family.
How cool is that you made them twice. It's good to know about that flour. Your biscuits look so good and the gravy on top is over the top!!

Melissa said...

Avril - to answer your question, White Lily flour is made from 100% pure, soft red winter wheat. At least that's what it says on the package. :-) It's supposed to make baked goods lighter and fluffier. I wonder if you could order it from their website?

April said...

I loved your pick. Yours look good. I am sure my husband would have been giddy if I made sausage gravy to go with it. Hummm maybe on his birthday

The Mortensens said...

These were very sweet and tasty, if not light and fluffy. If you are looking for a light and flaky biscuit, I suggest making the buttermilk version of the basic biscuit on pg. 21. Can you say KFC? Because I swear it must be the same recipe.

Thanks for the pick this week! I enjoyed trying these.

theeclecticconnoisseur said...

Great choice, Melissa! I think I must be overworking my dough, but these definitely turned out better than my attempt at Dorie's sweet potato biscuits. Thanks for sharing your tips...I needed some encouragement to keep practicing. :)

Leslie said...

This was a super pick and we all appreciated that it was easy and quick. I think yours look fabulous! I'm glad these will be making regular appearances at your house.

Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" said...

I think they look great! My leftover dough, you know the stuff you have to reroll out to get more biscuits, rose better than the first roll out! weird, huh!

We loved these bicuits, and I made sausage gravy too, for Mr.

Jess said...

Those biscuits look divine smothered in sausage gravy. Thanks for picking this one - I think a lot of us conquered our biscuit fears with this recipe!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i need to give it a few more tries myself, cuz i'm not quite there yet. thanks for this pick to start me down the road to great biscuits. your second and third batches look terrific!

Bridget said...

So I understand all about not overhandling the dough and stuff, but...I made one batch of biscuits, baked a few immediately and some straight from the freezer a few days later(which Dorie says you can do), and the biscuits baked immediately rose about twice as high as the others! Same dough, same mixing, same cutting...so I don't know. Still, biscuits any way are great!

Heather Davis said...

Wow sausage gravy. That does look decadent. Recipe please! Thanks for picking these. I really enjoyed making & eating them.

sarahe said...

thanks so much for picking these--they were wonderful! and you sausage gravy looks amazing!

Gabe's Girl said...

Hey, Melissa! I really enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for hosting. Your biscuits really look wonderful. The sausage gravy looks so good.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Thanks for hosting this week! I've made these many times and they're awesome.

Susan said...

Thanks so much for a great choice! I loved these and will make them over and over. They were so easy and so good! Yours look great with that sausage gravy on them!!

Katrina said...

GREAT pick. I thought these make perfect biscuits. Love them warm with some butta and jam. Love them even more made in to delicious scones with all kinds of goodies inside!
I think yours look great, but it's definitely trial and error on getting biscuits just right.

Amber Marie said...

Great pick! It's exciting that these were your first biscuits from scratch. That's one off the list!

Kayte said...

Your biscuits look great! Thanks for picking this recipe as I am in this group to extend my horizons and learn new things, so not being a biscuit lover, I have never made them except for the sweet potato ones for TWD (mine were flat), and these. I did a little better with these. Still not a biscuit lover, but loved the opportunity to create something outside my comfort zone!

TeaLady said...

Great pick, Melissa. Something basic, simple, and delicious. Your second batch looks perfect.

My first batch was flat, but they get better each time. Also making with White Lily next time

Thanks for this one.

Jeannette said...

Thank you for the simple and delicious pick!! I can't wait until it's my turn to host... if that happens sometime this century ;)

Heather said...

These were delicious -- great pick!

Mimi said...

Melissa,
Great pick. My family really enjoyed these delightful little biscuits.
Mimi

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Great pick! :)

Valerie said...

Thank you, Melissa. I may have skipped over these, and that would have been a huge mistake.

Lovely photos!♥

Tia said...

thank you for a great pick! i enjoyed baking along with you this week :)

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Not only did you pick a classic - and quick! - recipe for all of us, you made it three times and now we can all learn from your tips! You'll have to post that sausage gravy recipe next...

(my post isn't up, but should be sometime today)

Kathleen said...

Oh my gosh that biscuit and sausage gravy looks delicious enough for me to not mind puttin on a few pounds!

Anne said...

We loved this recipe and I think I need to try it again with the right flour and your tips. Thanks for a great choice!

Maria said...

We love this biscuit recipe! Great pick!

CB said...

I don't know what you are talking about! They aren't flat! Your biscuits turned out perfect. But if I'm gonna be honest here. I'm gonna need that sausage gravy recipe. Stat! Great pick this week. Thanks for hosting!
-CB
http://iheartfood4thought.com

Pamela said...

Great pick and fantastic biscuits!! I've gotta get my hands on that White Lily flour and try biscuits again, soon.

Mary said...

What a great pick--thank you! You really did your homework with 3 batches! I think they look great, and I'm really curious about the sausage gravy--I've never had it and I've seen a few mentions of it now. I need to find a recipe!

jillbert said...

Thanks for the great selection this week! I realize now that mine weren't very tall, but the texture was great. Funny thing is that I thought you were some kind of southern biscuit expert! I'm surprised that you haven't made them before.

I didn't make the blueberry ice cream, but I need to remember to make that during blueberry season.

Jessica said...

Thanks for such an awesome pick this week! I loved these biscuits. That sausage gravy looks amazing!!!

Annette said...

Great pick! Mine were a little flat, but I am going to try again and resist the urge to over mix.

Shandy said...

The biscuits were fun and delicious! Thank you for such a wonderful choice this week. Love your biscuits and sausage gravy; one of my own hubby's favorites! Happy Baking =o)

Rhiani said...

Thanks for hosting this week, I had a lot of fun dressing these up :)

I think it is great that you research how to make great biscuits and were able to apply what you read, thanks for sharing the tips you found.

margot said...

The biscuits look fantastic, definitely a great selection. It's fun to think of how many desserts we are now capable of making thanks to Tuesdays With Dorie.

The sausage gravy looks delicious. I had to laugh about the suspicion your husband will ask for it frequently, because every time I make something more decadent than usual, my boyfriend hopes it will become a regular in the dinner rotation.

theunappreciatedbaker said...

Great choice this week. I also have been meaning to try making biscuits from scratch. Mine did not rise so well, so next time I will try and follow the tips you mentioned and hopefully it will help.

mike said...

I have to thank you for choosing such an easy and great recipe! Mine turned out nice - for a change. Thanks for all the research and tips - so helpful - and thanks for the wonderful biscuit recipe!

Kaushal said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful baked recipes.I just love cookies.But most of the time my recipe fails.But I will keep in mind the tips that U have mentioned.

Isabelle said...

Thanks so much for an awesome selection this week! We loved these biscuits and your sausage gravy looks delicious!

Erin said...

Your biscuits look great and the sausage gravy just made me want to drool all over myself. Thanks for hosting this week. I really enjoyed making and eating these biscuits :)

Becky said...

Thanks for picking such a wonderful recipe! I haven't made biscuits since my 4H days as a little girl. So it was great to get reunited with the process.

I love and appreciate all the research you did! It's inspiring! I need to check out that brand of flour.

And yes, perfect with sausage gravy! My husband had them with that too!

Jacque said...

Great pick! I really enjoyed these.

Bekah4321 said...

Great pictures. We make these same biscuits using white lilly self rising flour.. .and the heavy cream. It is nice because then you just omit the salt and baking powder. Takes it down to only 2 ingredients.

Kaitlin said...

I'm glad that you were able to improve upon your first attempt! There really is an art to biscuit making - I haven't really mastered it yet. Thanks for this selection!

Soh said...

Hi Melissa,
I will never get the biscuits right, everytime is turn out were tought.
1st time I can bake the biscuits turn out is light and tasty. Thank you for the tips, my family love this biscuits recip.
Great job Melissa....

peetie said...

You should try....

3 cups self raising flour {450 grams}
300 mls single cream
300 mls lemonade
good pinch sea salt


sift flour and add all other ingredients... and cut through with a knife. It will be a wet mix but do not ever mix.... Turn out onto a wee floured board and work together with well floured hands..use the same process as you described in the recipe above.

Seriously... try this. They are the best. We call them Scones in Australia but they are the same as your Biscuits.... Delicious!

katy said...

I'm not a TWDer, but I follow the TWD group, and just stumbled on this recipe today... looks like a fantastic base for biscuits and gravy! I live in Tennessee - White Lily Flour is the only flour most Southern cooks use for their biscuits. It's a soft winter wheat flour that makes wonderful biscuits. Comes in self-rising and all-purpose varieties. Pillsbury just isn't the same... if you can get your hand on White Lily, try it out... I don't know where you live, but it's easy to find in any Southern grocery store.