The in-laws have departed, and contrary to my expectations, the house feels empty and rather bleak without them. I guess that's family for you. So I decided to make biscuits. A fresh warm biscuit with grape jelly was my standard post-call breakfast in the first year of residency, and as far as I'm concerned, thats comfort with a capital C.
This biscuit recipe is from the Veganomicon's Cassoulet with biscuits, and it makes the best biscuits ever.
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus a few tbsp extra
1/4 cup butter/Earth balance, chilled in the fridge
3/4 cup buttermilk (For a vegan version, add 1 tsp apple cider vinegar to 3/4 cup soymilk)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
If using milk + vinegar, mix them together at this point and let stand for 5 minutes.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Cut the butter into small cubes and crumble in the flour with your fingers. The idea is not to cream the butter but to leave little pieces in. A food processor does a magnificent job as well.
Add the buttermilk/milk-vinegar mixture and bring together to make a loose dough. (Minimal handling is the key.)
Now flour your hands with the extra flour and generously dust the dough. Pat the dough down into 1/2 inch thick sheet and using a cookie cutter, cut out round biscuits. Or you can pinch off golf-ball sized pieces of the dough and shape them into biscuits.
Place the biscuits on a greased sheet and into the oven. Bake for fifteen minutes or until the tops are browned.
Serve with gravy, or butter and jelly.