Could it be the magnolia trees that have recently unfurl its beauty? Perhaps its the exciting anticipation of the arrival of a “new” cookbook, The Taste of Country Cooking, originally published in 1976 by Edna Lewis. This play, Fences, by August Wilson brings nostalgic feelings for those Southern dishes. Remember those big breakfasts made in an instant from scratch? Those giant buttery biscuits. A trip down 95 South is in the plans. For old time sake, can we use a real map instead of MapQuest? Pack a picnic basket. Seal mason jars of pickled vegetables. Please hold the salt on the stinky and sweet cantaloupe. As the imagination runs wild with memories of running barefoot through fresh grass. And, a car whizzes by and a siren wails to wake up into a reality of the pavement to walk on toward hopeful progress. The memory of taste. Oh, the taste, can’t take that dream away. A dish of dreams shall come true strolling down southern lane.
Buttermilk (or Yogurt) Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached white flour, more if needed*
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 oz./(1 stick) butter, solid cold
7/8 cup of thick/plain/unsweetened Greek yogurt or buttermilk**
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Lightly process until incorporated.
3. Cut the butter in smaller, half-inch pieces. Add them to the food processor and pulse about 10 times, or until are quarter-inch size chunks of butter in the flour.
4. Add the yogurt or buttermilk. Pulse about a few more times until the dough just starts to come together — is a very rough shaggy/loose ball.
5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead about 10 times, or stop as soon as the dough starts to come together. Don’t over knead, and it’s okay to still see chunks of butter in the dough.
6. Using a rolling pin, spread dough until it’s 3/4″ thick. Using a round (or use a heart shape for Valentine’s Day) cookie cutter or a glass, cut rounds out of the dough. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Reshape the leftover dough into a ball and repeat until the dough is gone (hint: the last piece of the dough doesn’t need to be shaped).
7. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for about 7 to 9 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.
8. Serve warm with jam and enjoy.
*Alternatively, use 1-3/4 cup white flour + 1/4 cup wheat flour.
**Either ingredients are a good choice to use in making biscuits. However, I agree with Mark Bittman of How to Cook Everything. The yogurt gives the biscuits a more tangy taste.