I found this biscuit barrel at an estate sale. This definition of biscuit barrel from the Collins English Dictionary sums it up pretty concisely: “an airtight container of circular section equipped with a lid and used for storing biscuits.” The same source offers this use of the term in a sentence: “She looked with favour at the contents of his biscuit barrel.” (Snicker.) I’ve got quite a few biscuit barrels that I’ve picked up at estate sales, in cut crystal, oak, and silver-plate. Most of them are in my kids’ rooms, where they hold “collections” of all sorts, including glass buttons, miniature Pokemon figures, ribbons, and coins. I bet “she” would not look “with favour” at these contents. About the only thing we don’t store in them are biscuits.
Recently my daughter and I treated ourselves to one of the giant biscuits with jam and crème fraiche at Blacksmith:
Biscuits aren’t something we indulge in very often, and that big biscuit, with its fluffy interior and craggy exterior was worth the calorie splurge. Inspired by the biscuit barrel and the monster creation at Blacksmith, I thought I’d surprise my daughter by making homemade biscuits for breakfast. I looked at a bunch of recipes, in search of one that would be suitably tender inside and craggy outside. Tips for biscuit success include using well-chilled butter, working quickly to keep the butter from softening, not overworking the dough (to prevent tough biscuits), and baking at 400 degrees or higher (for high-rising biscuits).
The recipe I wound up working from was billed as the “best, fluffy, flakey, buttery biscuits ever.” I want to stop here and say that I chose the recipe because the picture with it looked like what I was looking for, and NOT because someone declared these the “best ever.” Don’t you find it obnoxious when someone declares something the “best ever?” How about just saying your family or your guests loved these, or they disappeared quickly, or you like them best of all the recipes you’ve ever tried in your whole life? But “best ever?” No.
The same is true for “amazing,” one of the most overused words around. How is your coffee? Amazing? Really? A-ma-zing? I noticed a while back that “super” had slipped into our vocabulary, as in “super cute” and “super fun” and “super easy.” What does “super” add, other than the impression that you are perhaps 12 years old? And yet, there are apparently some things that even “super” won’t adequately describe, and lately I’ve been seeing “beyond” replacing it, as in “that outfit is beyond cute” or “I am beyond blessed.” Like “super,” tacking on “beyond” adds nothing, and is best saved for describing that area of the bed and bath store that doesn’t neatly fit into either the bed or bath category.
So were these the best, fluffy, flakey, buttery biscuits ever? I have no idea. But I did think they were really good, although perhaps not beyond amazing (wink), and slathered with butter and jam, warm out of the oven, they made a pretty indulgent breakfast. “She” would look with “favour” at these.
|BIG OL' BISCUITS|| |
- 2 cups flour
- 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup salted butter, cut into small pieces
- ⅔ cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Place flour, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and honey, and stir until a shaggy dough is formed.
- Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface and knead several times. Pat dough into a circle about ¾" high. Cut out biscuits using a 2" biscuit cutter. Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet, spacing them approximately 2" apart. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, until tops are golden brown. In the last minute of baking, brush tops of biscuits with melted butter. Remove to serving platter and serve warm.
A brush with butter is better than a brush with danger
Big ol’ biscuits with butter and jam
We used this Hand Rolled Butter, which has been showing up in grocery stores lately (including Kroger). Not sure why hand-rolling is special, but the butter was sweet and creamy had a smoother texture than the sticks we usually buy.