The sweet smell of butter permeates through my small Brooklyn studio apartment on a crisp mid-October day. I’m sitting on my couch, writing this, waiting with anticipation for the dozen or so all-purpose biscuits to come out of the oven – to slice the golden brown circles of delight in half, add a pat of butter and slather a sweet helping of Sarabeth’s Raspberry Key Lime jam on top.
Inspired by Sam Sifton’s newsletter earlier this week, I quickly purchased a pastry cutter in hopes of finding myself with a free hour to bake. But sometimes you just need to make the time, put aside the excuses and laziness that often stops us from doing exactly what we want.
This recipe is super simple; six basic ingredients that are likely already front and center in your pantry. Butter, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and milk. Sifton recommends using unsalted European butter for this recipe – and I drink mainly milk substitutes with my daily coffee, so I just had to make a quick run for the higher quality ingredients, splurging on a fancier jam to accompany the finished product. And the time to make the recipe is start to finish, about 45-50 minutes.
While you wait for the biscuit dough to rise (30 minutes, the longest part of the process), curl up with a book – I’m currently reading Jedidiah Jenkins’ To Shake the Sleeping Self, a book about self-discovery, feeling uncomfortable, conquering fears and just freaking doing it.
So just do it. Make these biscuits. And I promise you’ll enjoy every minute of the ride.
All-Purpose Biscuits, Sam Sifton, NYTimes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 scant tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
- 1 cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
- Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.