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.
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.
- ~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)
- Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Grease the baking sheet.
- Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar (if using), baking powder, and salt to a bowl. Whisk together until the ingredients are well combined.
- 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.
- Add the buttermilk, then stir until the mixture is just combined (see Notes).
- 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).
- Serve the biscuits with butter, jam, honey, or whatever you like.
- 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.
“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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