flying biscuits

Growing up, my dad used to make biscuits every Saturday morning.  He would get up early and roll them out carefully while my mom cooked sausage.  My dad was obsessive about his recipe.  I remember he spent months perfecting it, and there were a few Saturday mornings where we chewed on biscuits that were too crispy and flat.  But eventually he had the exact recipe for wonderfully buttery and creamy biscuits.  I always remember that they held their heat in perfectly, and when I cut mine open to spread butter and jelly on them I could practically get a facial of steam.  They were wonderful.

And these are not those biscuits (don’t you just love when I make that turn?).  But they might be even better.  Might be.

For about a year and a half in college I went to school in Atlanta, which was amazing food-wise because the restaurants they had there, and particularly the restaurants that were near our school, were absolutely delectable.  And unfortunately, I discovered The Flying Biscuit Cafe a little too late in my stint in Atlanta to get my full use out of its proximity.  But believe me I tried.  I’m pretty sure we waited over an hour for breakfast once.  Breakfast.  The first meal of the day, with all those biscuity scents wafting out onto the street and we sat there and ate nothing until our name was called.  And it was worth it.  Although we did learn a lesson, so the next time we just ordered biscuits to go and had a breakfast picnic on our dorm room floor.

Here’s the deal about these biscuits.  They are tall (although I can’t seem to get mine as tall as they are in the restaurant).  The generous helping of baking powder plays a large part in this, but you also have to make sure you cut them thick.  I’ve made that mistake before, not thinking about what I’m doing and rolling them out like a regular flat biscuit.  They are also sweet, with a bit of sugar mixed inside and sugar sprinkled on the top so that in the oven they get this nice crispy sweet coating.  They are also a bit addictive because of all this.  And they are perfect for Saturday mornings.

Flying Biscuits
adapted from The Flying Biscuit Cafe*

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

Makes about 12

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, room temperature**
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup half and half (plus more for brushing on the outside of biscuits)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut butter into these dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender.  Make a well in the center of these dry ingredients and pour cream and half and half into it.  Then use a fork to slowly swirl it all together until a moist dough forms.
3. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top or other work surface.  Knead the dough 2 or 3 times and then roll it out to a 1 inch thickness.  Use a 2-inch biscuit butter (or, if you don’t have biscuit cutters, a drinking glass would work as well) and cut into biscuits.  Gather the scraps of dough and repeat the process until you have cut as many biscuits as possible.  As you cut biscuits, place them onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
4. Brush the top of each biscuit with half and half, and then sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake biscuits for about 20 minutes, until they are tall and golden brown.  Serve hot with butter, honey and/or jelly.

*via somewhere on the internet a long time ago
**I don’t understand what the deal with room temperature butter is here, as it seems unusual in a biscuit recipe.  I’ve used both cold butter and butter closer to room temperature, and both have seemed to work fine.

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