Basic Cream Biscuits

As I declared recently I am on a mission to be a master biscuit maker.  So today I am stating with a basic biscuit recipe, the cream biscuit.


The ingredients are simple and you probably have all but the heavy cream right now.  Maybe you have the cream if you’re an avid baker or you drink cream in your coffee, or you just have a kitchen that’s ready for anything!  I had to go out and buy some cream to make these biscuits, but I had everything else, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  That’s all you need.  And from start to finish these only take about 25 minutes!  What could be better than a quick, simple and delicious biscuit?


Everyone wants a tender biscuit.  So, as I began making these biscuits I was very conscious of a tip I’ve heard and read many times regarding biscuit making, DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH.  So I mixed it up just until it held together, and I kneaded it just enough so that I could easily pat it together to cut from.  After cutting three 2 1/2 inch biscuits from my first round of dough I was a little scared to bring the scraps together to cut from, so I dealt with them very gently.  The result was a less uniform biscuit, but one that still tasted amazing!  The lesson I learned from this was to make sure you get as many biscuits from your first round of dough as possible to get as many beautiful biscuits as you can.

I was also shooting for tall biscuits, so I patted the dough out a little thicker than the recipe states, about 1 inch thick.  This led to fewer total biscuits, 6 instead of the 8 the recipe states you’ll get from the recipe.

The biscuits fill your house with an amazing and rich aroma as they bake.  It’s so delicious that you can’t help but take a bite of one of these as soon as they’re cool enough to eat.  And that, of course, is they best time to eat them, when they’re nice and warm.  If you make these ahead of time, you can warm them in a low oven before eating.  You can also cut the rounds of dough, place them on the cookie sheet, then cover them and refrigerate for up to 2 hours before baking.


Enjoy these with butter and jam, the simpler the better in my opinion.  However, I do plan to use some of the leftover biscuits to make breakfast sandwiches this weekend.

Basic Cream Biscuits

From America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Makes 6-8 biscuits, depending on the cutter


  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  1.  Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center and add the cream.  Mix gently with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead just until dough comes together.
  5. Pat into a round about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Using a 2 or 2 1/2 inch cutter, press straight down without twisting to cut each biscuit.  Place on the baking sheet and continue cutting.
  6. Gather scraps together and cut as many more as you can.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until tops are golden.

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Biscuits

I want to be good at biscuit making.  Really good.  So good that someday my kids or grandkids will say, “These aren’t as good as Mom’s biscuits.” when they have someone else’s.  But I’ve only made biscuits a handful of times, and you can’t get really good at something unless you do it a lot.  So I think I am going to start making biscuits more, and I’m starting with something a little out of the ordinary, but totally delicious.


This recipe comes from The Kitchn, I just added some fresh chopped rosemary and opted not to make the maple butter, which I am sure is truly heavenly.  But I was looking for something a little more savory to serve with dinner.

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These biscuits turned out very well, although not tall and fluffy like I imagine perfect biscuits to be.  They are moist and the flavor is incredible.  The sweet potato isn’t all that noticeable, but does add a nice sweetness to the biscuit and a lovely orange hue.  The rosemary is just present enough without being overwhelming.


Serve these with butter, cause you can’t ever have too much.   Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I think a little bacon and egg on one of these would be a spectacular way to start the day.  With a few slices of ham they’d make nice little lunch sandwiches, and serve them along side soup or whatever you’re having for dinner.  Or just eat one as an afternoon snack.

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Biscuits

From The Kitchn

Makes 9 3-inch biscuits


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium sized sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup butter milk (you may not use quite all of this)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Whisk sweet potato, 1/2 cup buttermilk and rosemary together in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Cut butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your hands, until butter is a bit smaller than pea sized.
  6. Fold in the sweet potato mixture, add a little more buttermilk if mixture seems dry.  Bu it should still be a little sticky.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Flour a work surface and turn dough out onto it.  Pat out into a round, about 1 inch high.  Use a 2 or 3-inch round cutter and cut as many biscuits out from the dough as you can and place them on the baking sheet.  Pat the dough scraps together and cut more biscuits.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool (or not) and enjoy.

Daring Bakers: Scones (And By That I Mean Biscuits)

Today is January 27, 2012.  The posting day for Daring Bakers!  It is always the posting day for Daring Bakers.  But just yesterday, on the 26th of January, I decided I was going to get back on the Daring Bakers wagon and start participating again after a long hiatus.  I signed in to the site , read the challenge.  Scones.  I can do scones.  Then I started checking the ingredients, added a few special things to my grocery list, and then I checked the posting date and I thought, “I’ll have a few days to crank these out.”  Then I checked my calendar.  It was the 26th.  How did this happen?  How can I be so out of touch with reality to think it was somehow earlier than this?   Does this happen to anyone else?  The end of the month totally sneaks up on you and you’re left feeling like life is passing you by?  That’s a little dramatic, but I really did have that moment of, “WHAT?” when I figured out it was almost the end of January.  Basically, I am just an absent minded mess these days.  I was in pajamas until 1pm on Wednesday of this week…it’s no wonder I don’t know what day it is.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones, as I know them anyway, are those nice, slightly sweet triangular shaped breads, a little crunchy outside, soft and crumbly inside.  Sometimes plain, sometimes full of fruit, sometimes glazed, sometimes sugared, and always wonderful.  That is not a scone by English definition.  What Daring Bakers were challenged to do this month was to make what the Australian and the English call scones, and that is what we North Americans call biscuits!  Thanks you, Daring Bakers!  I don’t make biscuits often, so having an excuse to make myself a batch or two was going to be a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Tender, flaky,so high they’re rising to the heavens biscuits are so very special and wonderful because they are so stinkin’ hard to achieve.  I made two batches, and I wish I’d had the time to make more because I could have figured out the secret to the perfect biscuit.  I’m going to have to keep making these until I get it right.  I don’t think anyone in my house will have a problem being the taste testers.  It is the ingredients, but it’s also very much the process.  Laminating, or folding, the dough gives the tender flaky layers I most associate with a good biscuit.  And be gentle with the dough.  You don’t want to overwork it.  At the same time, you don’t want to underwork it.  I know, that’s confusing.  But make a batch or two (or ten) and you’ll start to figure it out.

Here are my first and second batches together (first batch on top).  This experience made me so excited about baking!  I know this makes me a food nerd, but I like that just changing a few things can yield totally different results.

For my first batch I tried what is called an Australian Scone Ring, which is a nice little ring of biscuits.  The recipe uses less butter than the basic dough and the fat is worked into smaller pieces.  Total fail.  I worked the dough too much, and rolled them out too thin.  They didn’t rise much at all and they were a non attractive pale color with no semblance of biscuit texture.  Some of the differences are of course due to the differences in the ingredients and process, but I still think I screwed these up.

So I looked at some of the other variations and opted for a Buttermilk Biscuit.  Now these are biscuits, and good ones.  Still not with the height that I would have liked them to have, but with a great flaky texture, buttery flavor and a nice golden brown hue on top and bottom.  They also smell divine.  They are on the counter next to me at the moment and every time I get a whiff I want to eat another one.  With twice the fat of the basic recipe, buttermilk instead of plain milk and a folding process instead of a kneading one, these came out much more to my liking.

Below I am including the recipe and instructions for the buttermilk biscuits.  The basic recipe can be found here.

Buttermilk Biscuits


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (+ 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to make sour milk) or use buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled in the freezer


  1.  Preheat oven to 475°F
  2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
  3. Rub the frozen butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized.  (I used a pastry cutter to get it started, then used my fingers to get the right sized butter pieces.)
  4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough.  Knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
  6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
  7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish (I used a cast iron skillet) if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
  9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.