A City Girl Makes Biscuits

I’m not a country girl and I’m not from the south either. My mom never made biscuits from scratch, so my only biscuit experience was popping the dough out of a cardboard tube. I figured it was time I jumped on the biscuit craze and learned to make my own.

After two years of experimenting, I maybe have come up with a recipe for a flaky, buttery biscuit.

I tried using biscuit cutters, rolling pins, shredding frozen butter with a cheese cutter (disaster) and different kinds of flour.  In the end, I found that keeping the ingredients very cold and handling the dough very little was the way to go. I borrowed a technique from Bon Appetit magazine that involves stacking the dough, leveling it and cutting it into squares.

These biscuits freeze well and are easy to warm up when wrapped in aluminum foil and put into a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or so. Besides eating them with butter, jam or honey, they make a great base for strawberry short cake.

I’d love to hear your biscuit making experiences; email me at yatesyummies@gmail.com

Ingredients for 12 Biscuits:

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour (Or sub for 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt)

1 cups salted butter (2 sticks), plus more to melt and brush on unbaked biscuits

1 cup buttermilk (sub 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda



Measure out the flour into a bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Cut the sticks of butter lengthwise and then cut each piece lengthwise again. Put butter pieces into a bowl and put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Measure out the buttermilk and put back into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get the food processor ready to go, and place the self-rising flour, baking soda and salt in the food processor bowl.

Add the chilled butter pieces.

Pulse about 25 times, until the butter in the mixture looks like small peas.

Transfer flour and butter mixture into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and gently stir it in, using a fork.

When it looks like a shaggy dog, it’s ready. Most of the flour will be incorporated into the blob or dough, but not a 100% of it.

Flour the surface that you will be working on.

Dump the dough out of the bowl and on to the surface. With cool hands, quickly mound it up and turn it over on itself a few times.

Shape it into a 1 inch high rectangle/square.

Cut the dough square into fourths.

Pile the four planks on top of one another.

Push them own to form another 1 inch high square.

Cut the dough block into 12 squares.

Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Brush the top of each unbaked biscuit with melted butter.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Both the tops and the bottoms will be golden brown.

Enjoy hot with plenty of butter, jam and honey.

And just for fun…


Day After the Wedding Brunch

Photo courtesy of JennaStoller.com

A couple of weeks ago my daughter Caroline was a beautiful bride. The wedding weekend was a whirlwind of gatherings and activities. One of the events that I enjoyed planning for the most, was the day after the wedding brunch held at our house. Since the groom’s family was from out of town, Caroline requested that we offered them one last chance to get together before they traveled home. Everyone had a chuckle or two as they rehashed the events of the weekend; there were a few shenanigans that will be remembered for a long time!

In planning for the brunch, I knew that by the time it rolled around I would be exhausted. Leading up to it was a BBQ on Thursday night for groomsman who were staying with us as well as other people who were in town, a 9:00 rehearsal Friday morning (another wedding was going on at the venue that night so we couldn’t rehearsal then) followed by a bridesmaid luncheon, the Friday night rehearsal dinner, and then the wedding day with all the flurry of getting ready and a long night of celebrating.  So although I love to cook, I realized I was going to have to order food to be brought in.  I had attended two events at Table, a restaurant that is part of a glorified grocery store, Market District, and thought the food was delicious and reasonable. However, they offered what I really wanted: home delivery.  They have several locations in the United States – here is a link to their catering menu. The menu says “Pick Up Menu” but they do indeed deliver!

Ten days before all the crazy wedding madness began, I gathered all the containers and serving pieces I figured I would need for what I ordered. I set them aside on the floor of the dining room and no one wandered in there to notice them.  A week before, I shopped for the non-carry in items such as the granola, yogurt, and paper goods.

The morning of the eleven o’clock brunch, I put the serving pieces on the table and Beth Ann from Market District in Carmel arrived about 10:30 am. She kindly helped me set up the spread and then sped off before the guests arrived. I was going for an elegant shabby chic vibe, and I think I achieved it. Snagging five of the wedding flower arrangements from the night before definitely made it look pretty.

Unfortunately, I only took a very few photos before the guests arrived. But hopefully this small documentation of my experience might help another harried mother of the bride!

Here is what was on the menu:

Orange Juice and Mimosas

I put out a couple of carafes of OJ which I refilled several time during the brunch. (The refrigerator was just a few steps away and I had bought a couple gallon containers of orange juice.) Perhaps it would have been nice to have an alternative juice like cranberry, but I was going for ease while hostessing.  For people who wanted a bit of the hair of the dog that bit them the night before, I offered a chilled bottle of bubbly for mimosas. I had another bottle tucked away in the refrigerator as well. I used pint sized Ball jars for glasses and I found the striped straws at Party City

Tea and Coffee

A couple of weeks before, I retrieved my mom’s silver coffee & tea service that had been tucked away in a cabinet for decades. The pieces were literally as black as the label on the twine tied tag that said “coffee”. I used Wright’s Silver Cream Polish and the tarnish didn’t budge hardly at all. Tarn-X Tarnish Remover saved the day, although I used the Wright’s immediately after it to remove a yellowish cast that was remaining.  I had Market District bring boxes of regular and decafe coffee and pored the regular into the silver urn while putting the decafe in another container off to the side. Everyone wanted regular however and I ended up having to brew more. I put hot water in the tea pot and put out assorted teas but what people really went after was the regular coffee.


Orzo Salad, Lots of Berries and Pastries

The Market District’s orzo salad with artichoke hearts and feta among other ingredients was so, so delicious. For my copy cat recipe of their Mediterranean Orzo Salad, click here. They also brought the pastries and all the beautiful, washed berries. I covered the main table with a roll of brown paper and then put everything in my own serving pieces.

DIY Yogurt Parfaits

I poured Quaker Oats granola as well as spooned honey and cherry chocolate yogurt into large jars. I parked them close by to the fruit and placed a tin tub with 1/2 pint ball jars on the table. My Walmart purchased brown cardboard labels tied with twine around the tub made the suggestion to use the jars to hold yogurt parfaits. But – most people didn’t use the jars!

Toast Bar

Far and away the hit of the day was the toast bar. I plugged in a toaster, put artisan french and whole grain bread in a basket, and provided lots of spreads. Guests came back two or three times to toast their bread and slather it with either avocado mash, hummus, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, good olive oil, and even a honey comb. There was also peanut butter, regular butter, hot pepper flakes, lemon slices for squeezing, and sea salt. (The hummus was store bought, but if you’d like a really great hummus recipe, you’ll find it in a post link here.)

Breakfast Pizzas and Caprese Salad

Rounding it all out was a caprese salad and three different kinds of breakfast pizza all from Market District. All of the pizzas had scrambled eggs on top which sounds weird but it turned out to be really scrumptious. My favorite was one with sun fried tomatoes, basil, and feta but most people loved the one with sausage gravy as the pizza sauce. A third one with mushrooms, roasted peppers, and onions was also delicious.

After it was all over, we just melted into the couch and rehashed the whole weekend. I was glad I did the brunch; it brought a sense of closure to a year of planning and the actual big event!