Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits
Mom’s Buttermilk Baking Powder Biscuits with Chives
This recipe makes delightful flakey baking powder biscuits with layers of flavor. It is really simple to make. My mother made these often to accompany weeknight suppers. You can omit the chives and Parmesan if you want the biscuits to be served with a sweet topping, or if you want to keep them New England traditional.
3 cups unbleached white all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. non-aluminum baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. fresh chives, finely minced
OR 1 tbsp. freeze-dried chives
Preheat oven to 450 degrees; you’ll want a nice hot oven, make sure it is preheated.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Add shortening and working quickly with your fingers incorporate the fat until it resembles coarse meal. You can also do this with a few pulses in the food processor, but I like the feel of making the dough by hand. Be gentle though, you do not want to over mix or overwork biscuits or they will be hard and tough.
Add the buttermilk, Parmesan, and chives, to the flour, working it gently together, little pushes of the dough at first. Turn out onto a floured board and push it together to form a large mass. Cut it in half and set one half aside.
With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out gently to the thickness of about ¾ of an inch. Using a basic round cookie cutter with sharp edges, cut each baking powder biscuit out with a quick, vertical motion. Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, or one you have covered with parchment paper. Repeat the process with the second portion of dough.
Gently brush the top of the biscuits with a little egg wash (an egg yolk beaten with a little water) and sprinkle a touch more Parmesan over the tops.
Check the biscuits at 15 minutes. By this point, they will have risen beautifully, showing off their layers of tenderness, but they will probably need a few more minutes to finish browning. Look at these flakey things!
But what if you don’t have buttermilk on hand?
We don’t always have buttermilk in our refrigerators. There is a dry variety out there that is handy to have on the shelf, but easier and fresher is to use sour cream or plain yoghurt added to skim milk to acidify it. A quarter cup or so per cup of milk will work.