Hands-on comfort food, flaky and tender
This is the second of four parts.
For many people, biscuits are comfort food. Show children how to prepare the dough for them and you may instill a lifelong appreciation for these buttery, flaky homemade buns.
Biscuits have two components: dry ingredients and wet ones. The flour, sugar, and a leavening agent (baking powder or baking soda to make then rise) go into a bowl. Then you add very cold butter. Cut it into small pieces and chill it so your dough will make tender biscuits. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a fork until it coats the grains and the butter is broken down into tiny crumb-like pieces. Notice that the flour turns from stark white to cream color.
Then add the liquids. Drizzle buttermilk (or milk mixed with vinegar) over flour and, using a fork, gently stir it together to form a soft dough. Don’t squeeze or mash the dough or your biscuits will be hard. Buttermilk makes especially flaky biscuits.
Either roll the dough or pat it out (we like the pat method). Use your fingertips rather than the center of your palm (which is hot). Make a 1/2-inch-thick square and cut it like a tic-tac-toe board into nine pieces. Bake them on parchment paper, so they come off the baking sheet easily.
Biscuits are forgiving and the more you make them, the easier they get. While they’re warm, split them and spread with honey mustard or apple butter. Fill with roast or smoked turkey and Swiss cheese or cheddar. Add a salad or cut-up vegetables and your comforting supper is complete.