Oh man I love me some biscuits.
A few weeks back, a friend stayed over our apartment. So in honor of our houseguest, I wanted to make an incredible breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and eggs benedict atop flaky biscuits.
Cooking so many things always goes so smoothly to start. I felt organized, preparing the dough for the biscuits, making the batter for my favorite Coffee Pancakes, mixing away, cooking the bacon, prepping the ingredients for my hollandaise.
The biscuits, incredibly easy to prepare and cut out, came out beautifully. The dough heald together nicely, and I nestled the biscuits on a cookie sheet, each one fitting snugly next to the other, and placed it in the oven for 12 minutes.
I threw the pancakes on the stove, cooked the batches, watch them puff and rise wonderously, and placed them on a baking sheet.
With my last minute of baking the biscuits, I realized I forgot to put egg wash on them so I could get a beautifully golden top! So what did I do? I made the egg wash, opened the stove, and brushed it on. An extra two minutes wouldn't kill it. I mean, the recipe said 15-20 minutes, and I was at the 14 minute mark.
Bad idea #1.
The timer went off. Normally, when the timer goes off, the oven shuts off as well. Annoying sometimes, but I see the safety reasons behind it. So I thought the oven had shut off. I left the biscuits in there to stay warm and also put the finished pancakes in to stay warm as well.
Bad idea #2.
I began to poach my eggs. The kitchen was starting to get messy, dishes were piling up in the sink, I was starting to lose my cool. I opened the window to get some fresh air.
Because I was so flustered, I kept messing up my eggs. One after another broke as I tried to remove it from the boiling water. I finally got four salvageable eggs that I could use.
I started to make the hollandaise. I'll spare you the details, but the sauce broke. Twice. Two sticks of butter, countless eggs, gone.
Finally, I got the breakfast together. I opened the oven and realized my biscuits were hard as a rock, and my pancakes all of a sudden had a hardened outer crust with soft insides.
The oven never turned off. Why? Because I used the OTHER timer (don't ask. There are two timers).
This post is getting too long, so I'll sum up by saying, my guest was so gracious, said this was a four-star breakfast and I'm sure it was very good. But it was not up to my standards. And if I had an after photo of my kitchen, you'd be horrified. Dishes piled up. Egg cartons strewn about.
I needed to redeem myself. At least with the biscuits, since this was my first shot at those.
I tried again. Rolled the dough, placed it on the baking sheet, brushed it with the egg wash. And 12 minutes later, I had these absolutely gorgeous biscuits.
Flaky. Buttery. These are pure heaven. And worth all of the stress and mess that I went through to discover how wonderful these are.
Flaky Buttery Biscuits adapted from Alton Brown
Makes roughly 10 biscuits
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
1 egg + 1 tsp water, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1 -inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. Brush biscuits lightly with egg wash and place in the oven.
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.