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Buttermilk Cornmeal Biscuits

Biscuits with Cornmeal
As much as I love homemade bread, I have a very strong affinity for biscuits because they allow me to get that homemade bread feeling and flavor in just a few minutes without waiting around for yeast dough to rise and proof. Yes, biscuits are a type of bread, but they are a quick type of bread and I can always appreciate that on a busy day.

Biscuits are easy to make in just a couple of minutes, either by hand or in the food processor. This biscuit recipe includes some ground cornmeal in the biscuit dough. This does give the biscuit little bit more flavor and texture – particularly a crisper top – than some other biscuit recipes produce, but the main thing that the cornmeal does is make the biscuit tender. As a result, these biscuits have a lovely blend of flakiness and tenderness, as well as a great buttery flavor from both butter and buttermilk. They are perfect for pairing with any topping – butter and honey, jam – or with any dish – from a salad to a stew.

The butter should be cut into biscuit dough by hand, literally rubbing pieces of the dough into the flour until you have a sandy mixture with relatively fine particles of butter, or by pulsing everything together in a food processor a few times. Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead it a few times, turning and folding the dough as you go. This will help make the biscuits flaky in the end. Cut them out with a round cookie cutter – mine was about 2-1/4 inches, but you can vary the size – and bake, then you’ll can enjoy the biscuits as soon as they’re out of the oven.

Buttermilk Cornmeal Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup ground cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into several pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in cold butter pieces and rub in with your fingertips – or pulse in a food processor – until mixture is coarse and sandy, with an even distribution of the butter and no pieces larger than a pea. Add in buttermilk and stir until the dough just comes together. It should be slightly sticky, but not wet.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it several times, turning and folding the dough, until the dough has a uniform appearance. Roll dough out or press it out into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with a 2 or 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (round cookie cutter) and place on a baking sheet. Gather unused dough and press it out again. Cut more rounds.
Bake biscuits for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack or serve immediately.

Makes 8 biscuits.

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  • Amalia
    September 26, 2010

    I love cornmeal…I wanna make biscuits but for some reason I think they are hard…are they as intimidating as pie crust? do you have to work everything in cold?

    Thanks a lot!



  • Shannon abdollmohammadi
    September 26, 2010

    I adore biscuits and your pics are so pretty.

  • Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    September 26, 2010

    I make biscuits all the time, but I’ve never used cornmeal. The next time I get a hankering for biscuits, I’m trying these!

  • Jacy Richardson
    September 27, 2010

    Wow, they look great! I want to make them right now 🙂

  • rose
    September 28, 2010

    TJ’s no longer carries the flat cystalized ginger (In Chico CA) and the “candied” sticks mercilessly (even with sugar and flour) to the processor blades or knife; any suggestions?
    Thank you for sharing your honest and colorful evals on products that we may be hesitant to waste time and money over, and, in the case of BC’s newest, be on the lookout for it for the holidays!!! I tried half recipe of WS ginger cupcakes and it make 12 mini and 6 regular!

  • Karla
    October 15, 2010

    These are amazing!! I have made them 2x in the last week! I had buttermilk so I figured I would try to use it up! These are fabulous!! I did have to use more like 1 c buttermilk to make it so that all the dough would stick together. I’m not sure how you got it done with 3/4c. thoughts?

  • Faythe
    November 3, 2010

    I love homemade biscuits, however, I have not made them with cornmeal. I will try that in the near future.

  • sheila @ Elements
    March 13, 2011

    hi Nicole, I just made these yesterday except I didn’t put any sugar in the dough. They turned out really hard and dry. I didn’t think leaving the sugar out would make make much difference in either the taste or texture, but maybe I’m wrong about that. They tasted good though. 🙂

  • Nicole
    March 13, 2011

    Sheila – I’m glad they tasted good, even if they didn’t turn out so well! I’m not sure what happened without seeing them. You’re right that leaving the sugar out should not have made a huge difference flavor-wise, but it actually will help keep the biscuits a little bit more moist and tender even though it is a small amount. The last thing I can think is that it might help to take the biscuits out of the oven a minute or two early next time, too.

  • Mary
    January 14, 2012

    I just made these to go with tortilla soup, and they were excellent. Perfectly fluffy and soft. If biscuits turn out dry and hard, it’s probably because your baking powder expired…

  • Mary
    January 14, 2012

    By the way, I don’t use a cutter. It’s much easier to pat the dough into a square right on the parchment paper and then cut out squares with a pizza cutter. Separate the squares by an inch or two to bake (ignoring small amounts of dough that got stuck to the parchment) and voila! Much easier cleanup.

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