All-Purpose Biscuits

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.

IMG_0240This 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.

IMG_0245While 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.


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