Friday, September 7, 2012

Cracked Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits

The only thing Southern about me is Southern New Jersey.  Land of milk, honey, and biscuits in a can.  Acting like you don't enjoy the "POP" of a can of biscuits is frowned upon.  Even so, sometimes a homemade biscuit has a place even in my home.  I was making a very special meal of fried chicken, zucchini succotash, and homemade biscuits for a pre-Breaking Bad season finale dinner party.  The succotash and these beautiful biscuits made it out unscathed, but as soon as I dropped the painstakingly beautiful chicken in the hot oil, our power went out.  Horror!!  Mark and I quickly gathered everything that we could salvage and head over to casa de Bard, where we finished cooking and feasted our bellies before feasting our eyes on a great hour of television.  Back to the biscuits.  You want your ingredients to be very cold so that when they go into the hot oven, they quickly release steam. This is what makes them very flaky.  That is why you freeze the butter and keep the buttermilk very cold.  If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or your hands or two knifes or forks to cut in the butter.  It will take longer, but it will still be very delicious.
Cracked Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from Completely Delicious)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg and 1 Tbs. buttermilk for brushing on the biscuits

1. Cut butter into cubes and put in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Put flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in your food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
3. Add the butter and pulse 5-10 times.
You want to consistency of wet sand.
4. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5-10 times until the dough comes together.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it once or twice into a ball. You do not want to work the dough too much.
6. Roll out about 1 inch thick and cut out into discs. I use a plastic cup, since I don't have a biscuit cutter.
7. Place on a baking sheet. Beat together egg with 1 Tbs. buttermilk and brush that over the biscuits.
8. Top with freshly cracked pepper.
9. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12 minutes, until golden brown.
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