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.