Hello and welcome back to Be A Badass Baker, where I’m putting the “digest” in Badass Digest since, like, July. So far we’ve created banana bread cupcakes with peanut butter and Nutella frosting and a dark chocolate-frosted vanilla pound cake decorated like the Supernatural Impala. So yeah, we’ve enjoyed a pretty diverse array of random gluttony, and it’s only getting randomer and gluttonier! Today I present to you…
Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits Prepared Five Ways
And definitely stick around for the bonus brunch cocktail at the end, the totally ingenious if I may say so…
Frozen Green Tea Bellini
I am excessively preoccupied with breakfast. I especially love breakfast items of the buttermilk variety: pancakes, waffles, biscuits. That’s my PLEASURE. Furthermore, I credit the sandwich to be the pinnacle of food consumption. It’s like: here are all of these tasty things in one condensed handful, and it’s not considered uncouth to eat them that way! So I thought that a variety buffet of breakfast sandwiches made out of buttermilk biscuits would be a really fun way to host a brunch party. You can make the biscuits and prepare the ingredients the day before, and then display the fixin’s for your guests’ brunching pleasure. Or you could just make a dozen of one kind of biscuit for yourself and gorge your face off all day long. Choose your own adventure! Either way, let’s get ‘er done, dudes.
First things first! Beer and tunes. I selected The Complete Otis Redding and the refreshing blonde wit from @cityacrebrewing, but this is an intensely personal decision that must be made by you and you alone. Also, go ahead and pre-heat that oven to 450°F.
Ingredients! Repeat readers know that I always separate my ingredients into cute little bowls in the order I will use them, at least partially because it appeals to my meticulous aesthetic but also because I drink while I bake, and I don’t want to forget anything.
I always use the Southern Biscuits recipe from Alton Brown. It’s a solid recipe that’s hard to screw up and turns out really tasty.
Buttermilk Biscuits Ingredients:
2 cups flour, leveled
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled (NOT softened)
2 tablespoons shortening, chilled (put it in a bowl in the fridge before you begin)
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
This recipe makes a dozen biscuits. Double it if you have more friends coming around.
When was the last time you bought baking powder? If you don’t know, throw that business out and buy yourself a new can. It’s cheap enough and not worth the risk. Write the date on it and throw it away after a year or your baked goods will not rise properly.
Get butter-flavored shortening, because why the hell not? Butter tastes better than no butter, right?
Okay, today we’re going to learn the biscuit method, as opposed to the muffin method that we used for the cupcakes. Mix together in one large bowl all of your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. The chilled fat ingredients are a key element of the biscuit method. The more chilled, the better, because that creates little dabs of fat dispersed throughout your dough that later reveal themselves to be buttery pockets of awesomeness.
So, cut your butter and ball up your shortening into little 1/2 inch bits. Use your fingers to incorporate the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients, rubbing it with the dough into a crumbly mixture. Do it fast. You don’t want the butter and shortening to warm up through too much handling, because remember: buttery pockets of awesomeness. Never lose sight of that goal.
Once your dough looks like the above crumbly mixture (with no crumbs bigger than pea-sized), create a well in the center using the bottom of one of your cute little bowls and pour in the buttermilk.
Stir the dough together just enough to incorporate everything. Don’t overmix or the dough will be tough.
Do some hard-core flouring of your counter. I’m talking that scene in Scarface. You know the one.
Place your mound of dough on the counter and flour it liberally as well. Then gently fold it over itself 5 or 6 times, never working it too hard. The folding creates those flaky layers that are utterly critical to the tastiness of a well-made biscuit. Next you’ll use your hands to gently press the mound into a circle that’s one-inch thick. Use 2-inch biscuit cutters if you have them. If you don’t, buy some. They’re cheap and these ingredients cost almost nothing. You can make homemade biscuits for less than the cost of canned biscuits in no time! In the meantime, you can use a (clean, obviously) tuna can or the rim of a glass, but it won’t work quite as well.
Push straight down with the cutter—don’t twist! The biscuits won’t puff up as well if you twist. The dough is sticky enough that you should be able to cut it and transport it in the cutter to the baking sheet easily.
Place biscuits so they are just touching on the baking sheet.
Go all the way around the dough with the cutter, and then reform the remaining dough ONCE, working it as super-lightly as possible (the more you handle it, the tougher the biscuits!), until you’ve formed all the biscuits.
Use your thumb to press a bit on the center of the biscuit. It rises all puffy and delicious around the thumbprint and just makes for better biscuit tops.
Then use a brush to sweep some melted butter over the tops of the biscuits for a glossy, buttery wash of deliciousness.
Pop those babies in the oven (450°) for 15-20 minutes, until they’ve risen to a height of golden dignity.
Let me make this clear: these biscuits are divine by themselves, but I’m offering several other options for serving in case you want to go the buffet route.
So while the biscuits are baking, you can get started on the other two ingredients that will be easiest to make the day before. The rest of the sandwiches are a snap and can be made the morning of your brunch.
Cinnamon Honey Butter Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
3-4 dashes of ground cinnamon
If your butter is unsalted, add 1/4 tsp salt
A quick way to soften and warm up your butter is to squeeze it (while it’s in the packaging paper, otherwise: messy!) in your hands until it softens.
Throw it all in the mixer and mix it up! Super easy.
Berry Preserves Ingredients
2 cups frozen fruit
2 tablespoons sugar
You can use any fruit you want for the preserves (I went with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries), but use frozen. The ice crystals help puncture the cell walls of the fruit, allowing it to break down more easily into a spreadable texture. You might have to mash bigger fruit like peaches a little, and you can strain berry seeds if they bother you. I’m pro-seed, myself.
Leave it all in a pan over medium heat for around 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until about half the liquid has evaporated and it looks like jam.
If you’re using berry preserves, you can check their readiness by chilling a spoon and dropping a dollop of the preserves on the back. If it solidifies, you’re ready!
There they are: butter and jam, biscuit’s two besties. It’s best to chill both for a bit at first, and then set them out again for a while before serving. The chilling helps the flavors really meld, and the sitting helps them spread more easily when you’re ready to coat your warm, flaky biscuits!
Incidentally, you should know that Labor Day was my best day ever, because I seriously ate six biscuits five different ways. In one day. It was biscuit heaven.
All right, so you’ve got your biscuits, preserves and honey butter made and ready for guests. Now it’s the morning of your party: brunch crunch time!
A croque-monsieur is just a fancy, grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Add a fried egg to that baby, and you have a croque-madame!
Croque-Madame Biscuit Sandwich Ingredients
Fried Eggs, lightly salted and peppered
Emmental or Gruyére cheese (I prefer Emmental, but Gruyére’s a little easier to find)
A very nice, thinly sliced ham (I selected an organic, dry-cured ham)
You should only need one store-bought egg per biscuit; we used two per biscuit because our eggs are smaller than most, as they are courtesy of these pretty ladies.
I’d like to thank you for your generous offering of tasty business, Henrietta and Fluffernutter.
Okay, first you halve your biscuit. Go ahead and place the ham and cheese on the inside of the bottom half of the biscuit. On the top of the top half, put another slice of Emmental cheese so it melts all over the top. Heat your biscuit in a toaster oven until it warms up and the cheese gets all melty. Don’t toast it very long or it’ll dry out.
Meanwhile, fry your eggs in a small pan.
I think the best method for frying eggs for sandwich purposes is to puncture the yolk as it fries. This spreads the yolk throughout the egg, creating plenty of yolk taste through the whole sandwich without scrambling the eggs or spilling yolk everywhere as you bite into it.
After the eggs are fried the way you like them, use your biscuit cutters to cut out the tastiest-looking part of the egg so it’s the same size as your biscuit. The amount of time it takes you to fry the eggs should be comparable to your biscuit-toasting time, so everything should be ready at once! Stack it up and get ready to swoon.
The result is an outrageously rich, remarkably delicious pile of melty, buttery decadence. SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. I can’t even handle looking at this picture because it makes me too sad that those are not in my mouth right now.
Caprese Biscuit Sandwich Ingredients
Fresh buffalo mozzarella (or the freshest, fanciest mozzarella you can find)
Halve your biscuits, warm them up just a bit in the toaster oven or microwave, and layer in the ingredients. I put the tomatoes in between the basil and mozzarella so they didn’t get the biscuits all soggy.
This is a much lighter biscuit sandwich (paradox much?). It tastes fresh and crisp, and the tomato is so juicy that the sandwich doesn’t require any dressing.
Sausage Gravy Biscuit Sandwich Ingredients
1 pound pork breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lightly colored (not light in calories! eww!) beer
5-6 dashes of black pepper
Okay, not all of these quantities match up. You’re probably going to end up with extra mozzarella, extra Emmental, extra sausage, extra gravy, depending on how many of each kind of biscuit you make. My friends and I like to call that a “caviar in my martini problem,” stemming from the time I spilled caviar in my martini and then actually uttered those words aloud in an exclamation of dismay before realizing how insufferable that made me. “Oh no, I’ve got caviar in my martini!” “Oh no, I have too much sausage, gravy and cheese!” Just count your blessings and move on.
Halve and very lightly toast your biscuits as before. (All this toasting is only necessary if you made your biscuits the day before. If they’re still warm from baking, just eat them as is.) While they’re toasting, form half the sausage into patties and crumble the other half. Brown all of it in a pan. Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and cook for two minutes, and then add the milk and the beer. I used a pale ale—just don’t use anything too hoppy or too boozey. Save that stuff for drinking. Sprinkle pepper throughout.
Once the gravy’s holding in one place instead of running all over the pan, it’s ready. Stick a sausage patty between the biscuit and DROWN THAT SHIT in gravy. If you’re looking for moderation, you’re in the wrong post, my friend.
YES! Look at the pure, unadulterated majesty of that thing. It tastes every bit as badass as it looks and then some, believe.
But we’re not done yet! We need booze, or else this noble brunch is just a puny old breakfast, am I right? I totally invented this guy based on a random raiding of my bar, and I’m really proud of how it turned out.
Frozen Green Tea Bellini Ingredients
1 pound frozen peaches
4 ounces peach brandy or peach schnapps (the peach brandy isn’t quite as sweet and is a little boozier, so that’s the way I went)
4 ounces green tea liqueur
4 ounces dry sparkling white wine to be blended
More sparkling white wine to top the beverages
Blend together the peaches, brandy, liqueur and champers. (This makes a blender-full.) Fill a champagne flute 3/4s with the blended beverage and top the remaining amount with more sparkling wine. Garnish with a slice of peach and a sprig of mint. Guzzle with gusto.
Yes! We did it! We ate ALL THE THINGS! Thank you for joining me in my experiment into the alarming world of flagrant caloric intake. You think this was decadent? Just wait for the boundless debauchery of next month’s post: I’m bringing you guys the award-winning recipe for beer-battered, deep-fried balls of oatmeal butterscotch cookie dough. Yeah. I KNOW.