Flaky biscuits and honey butter
There’s a barbecue place in Boston that does something amazing every Monday night: they stop serving up platters of dry-rubbed brisket and turn instead to noodle-filled bowls of ramen. Starting at 9 pm, Sweet Cheeks Q delivers precisely 100 bowls of whatever chefs Tiffani Faison and Dan Raia have dreamed up for the evening. I went with a friend a few weeks ago for the perfect symbol of their cultural fusion, fried chicken ramen. Yep, it was just as good as it sounds.
But before you dig in to the steaming, spicy bowl of traditional (well, mostly) Japanese soup, you can’t turn down the restaurant’s one holdover from their regular menu: the biscuits. They’re huge. And fluffy. And smothered in more honey butter than you’ll ever admit you wanted. It might not quite make sense with the rice-vinegar pickles and the ramen, but hey, I’m all about crossing cultural boundaries in the name of baked goods.
And once you honey butter your biscuits, you never go back.
I may have started this biscuit project in search of more excuses to eat honey butter, but then I had a moment. I realized that all biscuit recipes, fluffy or flaky, start off basically the same, with flour, butter, buttermilk, and baking powder. A little sugar and salt, maybe some baking soda, and you’re there. But while the ingredient list doesn’t change, the method makes all the difference. Today’s simple lamination technique gives you gorgeous layers and a crackly crust, but melt the butter and you get something totally different.
So this week and next we’re delving into biscuits, figuring out their secrets, and baking plenty of experiments that double as reasons to eat more (buttery, warm, delicious) biscuits. And honey butter, of course.
- 2 c. flour
- 1 T. sugar
- 2½ t. baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- ¼ t. baking soda
- ½ c. butter, cold
- 1 c. buttermilk
- HONEY BUTTER:
- ½ c. butter, room temperature
- ½ c. honey
- ¾ t. salt
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Mix together the dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter into thin slices. Using your fingers, press the slices into very thin pieces and toss them in the flour mixture.
- Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined.
- Dump the dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a 15-inch square. Fold the right third of the dough on top of the middle third, then fold the left into the middle as well. Fold up the bottom third and down the top third so that you have a very tall, 5-inch square (it won't be perfect, don't worry!).
- Roll the dough back out to a 15-inch square and repeat the folding by thirds.
- Roll the dough to a 10-inch square and cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter, a cookie cutter, or the top of a glass. Re-roll and cut the scrap dough once.
- Bake the biscuits for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown on the top and bottom. Enjoy warm with lots of honey butter.
- For the honey butter: Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until the honey is incorporated, about 1 minute.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s drop biscuits and flaky biscuits.