Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Terrific flavor, easy to make

American-style biscuits are a great addition to any festive dinner – like Thanksgiving. They’re also wonderful for breakfast.

These biscuits include cornmeal for extra goodness and flavor. And because they’re drop biscuits (rather than ones you roll and cut), they’re very simple to make.

We find that appealing. Because simple are us.

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

Recipe: Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

This is a recipe for American-style biscuits, which contain leavening and are similar to scones. In other parts of the world, “biscuit” refers to a sweetened, less-leavened baked good that Americans would call a “cookie.”

American-style biscuits contain flour (along with cornmeal in this case), baking powder, butter or another fat, and a liquid (usually milk or buttermilk). You mix all the ingredients together and then shape the biscuits. If the dough is dense, you’ll probably need to roll it out and cut the biscuits into rounds or squares.

But if the dough is looser (as this one is), you can just use a scoop to drop the biscuits onto a baking sheet. Easy and quick! So it’s a recipe that you can make on the spur of the moment if you wish.

This recipe (which we adapted from one by Land O’Lakes®) requires maybe 5 to 7 minutes to prep, and another dozen or so minutes to bake.

The recipe yields about 10 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • ~1 tablespoon cooking oil for greasing the baking sheet (see Notes)
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal (we like yellow, but white works well too)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional; see Notes)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
  • 1 stick (½ cup) cold butter 
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see Notes for how to make buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand)

Procedure 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Grease the baking sheet.
  2. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar (if using), baking powder, and salt to a bowl. Whisk together until the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces (we usually cut the stick into quarters lengthwise, then cut across the width every ¼ inch or so). Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture, then cut them in using a fork or pastry blender (see Notes). When the butter pieces are about the size of peas (or a bit smaller), you’re done.
  4. Add the buttermilk, then stir until the mixture is just combined (see Notes).
  5. Using a ¼-cup scoop, drop dollops of dough onto the greased baking sheet, continuing until you have used all the dough. Bake until the biscuits are nicely browned (12 minutes in our oven, but start checking after 10 minutes).
  6. Serve the biscuits with butter, jam, honey, or whatever you like.

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
Notes

  • You can probably get away without greasing the baking pan because there’s plenty of fat in the biscuit dough. Or you could line the pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (be aware, though, that some brands of parchment paper can singe or burn at high oven temperatures). We find it easy to grease the baking pan, so that’s what we do – typically with a light coat of baking spray. 
  • The original recipe for this dish specifies 2 tablespoons of sugar. We find that way too sweet. If you want a touch of sweetness, use 1 tablespoon. Or just omit the sugar altogether.
  • Buttermilk is often the liquid of choice in biscuit recipes, partly because of its acidic quality. But what if you don’t have buttermilk on hand? Just substitute a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar for one tablespoon of milk (you want 1 cup of liquid total). Mix the lemon juice/vinegar with the milk, then wait 5 minutes before using.
  • You can also buy powdered buttermilk (mix it with water). The Saco brand is what we use (it’s in the baking aisle at our supermarket). Once opened, you should store powdered buttermilk in the refrigerator, where it will last for months. We find powdered buttermilk to be better quality than the liquid commercial stuff found in the diary case at most supermarkets. 
  • We don’t have a pastry blender, so we just use a fork for cutting the butter into the biscuit dough. Some cooks use a pair of table knives. 
  • You could also add the flour mixture to a food processor, then drop in the butter pieces. Whirl 2 or 3 times, and you have the perfect consistency. That said, we often cut the butter in by hand because it doesn’t take that long (a minute or two) and it makes for fewer things to wash.
  • BTW, don’t over blend the butter. If you do, the biscuits will be less flaky.
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.

Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
Son of a Biscuit

“Yum!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “These are delish, and so easy to make.”

“Yup,” I said. “This recipe really takes the biscuit.”

“Was that joke dropped from a great height?” said Mrs K R. “I think it’s broken.”

“Just trying to leaven our comments with humor,” I said.

“Don’t overdough it,” said Mrs K R.

“No crumbs of praise for wit?” I said.

“Sorry, I was busy eating,” said Mrs K R. “Did you say wit or twit?”

Guess I’m just a corn flake.

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48 comments:

  1. The biscuits look great. You mentioned reading “Kindred” — I loved it — reviewed it here:
    https://maefood.blogspot.com/2021/11/me-among-neanderthals.html

    best… mae

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    1. Hi Mae, they are great! And I missed that you reviewed "Kindred"! (So this makes sense to everyone reading this comment, I suggested "Kindred" when I read her review of _The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity_ by David Graeber and David Wengrow that she posted yesterday). Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Replies
    1. Hi Anne, sometimes I think we write the blog so we can do the puns. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Cornmeal must have given the biscuits extra crunchiness. It looks fabulous!

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    1. Hi Angie, they do have a tiny bit of crunch to them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. They look delicious. I am thinking they would be great with a fried egg breakfast

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, these are terrific with eggs! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Perfect for Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Denise, Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for the comment. :-)

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  6. That sounds like a perfect partner for a good fried chicken, nice one

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    1. Hi Raymund, fried chicken and biscuits is an awesome combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. So much easier than cutting out biscuits---and they look delish! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Liz, dropping is definitely easier than cutting! The biscuits don't look as neat and symmetrical, but they taste the same. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. John - a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours ! Now you know I am going to be 'difficult' and call these 'scones' as biscuits in this country are those small hard things you call 'cookies' And I have never seen cornmeal used for such ! Interesting to read the recipe and wonder how it would taste - and there is only one way to find out ! Shall do ! Oh . . . naturally we do not celebrate Thanksgiving but you should see how vigorously we have adopted Black Friday sales ! On for the next week . . . !!!

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    1. Hi Eha, these are scone-like, as we noted. :-) Cornmeal works really well in this sort of recipe -- really worth trying. I'll be curious to see how like them. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Hello Breakfast plans! Thanks for the inspiration John. These are going to be fabulous for breakfast tomorrow. If we have any leftover we can make turkey mini biscuit sandwiches for lunch. Hope you Thanksgiving was special.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, we had a terrific Thanksgiving! Had these for breakfast this morning. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I'm a sucker for fresh biscuits. This look incredible and less work than cutting them out.

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    1. Hi Laura, fresh biscuits are the best! Leftover are pretty good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. John, we love making drop biscuits, much easier than rolling them out. And we like the texture and look of the finished biscuits. I never thought about using cornmeal in them, but sounds like a delicious twist on cornbread muffins. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. Hi Terry, these are somewhat similar to cornbread muffins. But biscuits. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. That top photo stops me in my tracks! The rest is just butter on my biscuit, so to speak. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, gotta do a black acrylic photo every now and again. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. These do sound tasty, and very easy to make. Doable even for a non-baker like myself. Love the idea of something that bakes up in 10 minutes.

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    1. Hi Frank, these are good! And easy. So nice how quickly they come together, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I’m a huge fan of cornbread, so I would love these cornmeal biscuits! The recipe sounds simple and so quick!! must give this a go tonight or may be for some lunch. Thanks you for this wonderful recipe.

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    1. Hi Balvinder, if you like cornbread, you will really like these biscuits -- a somewhat similar flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. These look perfect for brunch, lunch or anytime you've got the hankering for something buttery and tender. Easier than biscuits, too!

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    1. Hi Carolyn, easy and really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Love these biscuits John! They are like individual cornbreads with the butter incorporated on the inside rather than melted on top. I need to make these. Thanks!

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    1. Hi MJ, you DO need to make these. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. John I was raised eating buttermilk cornbread biscuits. But, I hadn't thought of them in years. Now you've gone and embedded the thought of tasting them again in my mind, so I'm going to have to make a batch of these soon...

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    1. Hi Ron, you will! And you'll love those memories. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. YUM! It's been far too long since I last had a cornmeal drop biscuit.

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    1. Hi Pam, time to make a batch again, soon. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. While I love cooking a meal that can take hours, I really appreciate a recipe that can be spur of the moment, like this one. These delicious biscuits can really be almost an afterthought to add to a meal while you're already cooking it. Hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving! Love it! :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, we really like long, complicated recipes too. At least some of the time. :-) But always good to have an easy quick one like this when we need or want it. Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I love an easy recipe like this one and it looks delicious. Enjoyed your little jokes too.

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    1. Hi Judee, we need an easy recipe now and then! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Why this looks like the perfect snack! Perfect anything. I just love anything that has the word corn associated with it and that includes jokes!

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    1. Hi Abbe, when it comes to jokes, we know all about corn. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. They are absolutely perfect with soup. I love them just out of the oven so the butter can melt into it’s already rich flakiness! So delicious.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, these are wonderful with soup -- or chili. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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