Homemade buttermilk biscuits

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with Smoky Sweet Butter

March 14, 2010 · 23 comments

Everyone, this is Erin.   Erin, this is everyone.   Now play nice…

I have to admit it—I was pretty giddy when Allison invited me to do a guest post on Local Lemons.  Although I am Allison’s good friend and business partner for our restaurant-to-be, Little Mac, having the spotlight on Local Lemons felt like a special honor.  Allison asked me to introduce myself to her friends and fans so they could get a sense of the other half of Little Mac . . . so here it goes.

My name is Erin Wade—and I had the good fortune to meet Allison a little over a year ago at a café in Oakland, where we instantly bonded over our shared love of food. I come from a loud Jewish family where life revolved around food, and that deeply ingrained obsession with eating ultimately led me to write about food (as a restaurant critic in college, and recently as a correspondent for the Bay Area Newsgroup), apprentice as a cook, and work as a chef. Though I have worn many professional hats over time (I am also a lawyer), I continue to find myself sucked in by my passion for all things related to the kitchen.

Although I love cooking, my greatest food-crush is on baking.  There is something magical about putting raw dough in an oven and having something completely different emerge minutes later.  What was once a gooey mass of flour, water, and yeast becomes a loaf of chewy rustic bread–or a lump of sticky cookie dough grows into a crumbly, buttery, chocolate cookie.

The only problem with the magic that I love in baking is that something about it that intimidates people.  Maybe because baking is a less forgiving process than cooking, but look no further than the latest season of “Top Chef” to see that many great cooks don’t know the first thing about baking.

As an encouragement to those who are intimidated by baking (or as a gift to those who already enjoy it), here is one of my all-time favorite recipes, which also happens to be one of the easiest—buttermilk biscuits.  This particular recipe takes 20 minutes from start to finish, and yields the most rich, flaky and downright delicious biscuits I’ve ever eaten.

I love to whip these up to eat with dinner, or if my husband Uri and I want to impress guests, I’ll serve them with homemade flavored butters. Some of my favorite are fresh herb butter, salted maple butter and smoked Serrano and honey butter, but it all depends on what works best with the food on the table. The great thing about flavored butter is that you can pull almost anything from the spice drawer, mix it with room temperature butter and fleur de sel, place it in a pretty serving dish, and feel like you are eating something special.

Other than wanting to encourage people to bake, I am highlighting  this recipe is because it speaks to what Allison and I are trying to accomplish at Little Mac.  In food, many of the most rewarding dishes are also some of the simplest.   Although I love high-end restaurants or tackling challenging recipes, the dishes that I come back to over and over again are always those that are simply prepared with quality ingredients and lots of love. So despite my years of mastering the art of baking, there is nothing quite like that first bite of a warm buttermilk biscuit.

I hope you enjoy them.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes about 8 biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powd
½ tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter cut into chunks
(plus a little extra butter for brushing on top)
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450F, and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, and with a paddle attachment mix butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add buttermilk and mix just until ingredients come together.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a 1 inch-thick round.

Cut dough with a cookie cutter into two-inch rounds (you can make them as big or as little as you like—two inches is just a suggestion). Transfer the biscuits to the parchment paper, and brush with melted butter.

Bake for about ten minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Smoked Serrano and Honey Butter

2 tbsp room-temperature unsalted butter
¼  tsp
smoked Serrano powder½ tsp honey
de sel to taste

Blend all ingredients with a fork, and season to taste.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is March 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

The smoky sweet butter sounds to die for. I’d love to try that on a multitude of things.


Rainier Wolfcastle March 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

As a refugee from the Deep South, I cannot bring myself to make buttermilk biscuits without access to the silky soft soft Martha White flour. But that butter looks *incredible*, and I just happened to have smoked, dried, powdered, and vacuum packed a ton of serranos a while back.

Excuse me now; I have to run. That butter and I have a date with a length of baguette left over from last night’s dinner. I can’t wait til you guys open your restaurant.


Erin Wade March 14, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I know that a lot of Southerners would consider this heresy, but I have found Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached white flour to make biscuits ALMOST as fluffy and delicate as some I’ve eaten in the South. At $7 a bag, it may bankrupt you, but it’s very tasty stuff :)


maggie March 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm

These look just amazing!


Heather @ chik n' pastry March 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hi Erin! This is a recipe that totally on par with my favorite things. being southern, I always get a kick out of various versions of buttermilk biscuits and peoples’ intimidation in making them. but you’re right, they are so easy, so quick, and so freakin’ awesome. and the special butters? so fancy, and most people have no idea they’re so easy! great post :)


Maria March 14, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Great guest post. homemade biscuits are the best!


Megan Gordon March 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hi Erin!!! I’m into these. Big time. I recently made english muffins, and was thinking of doing hot-cross buns this week, but I may try these instead. They look heavenly. Thanks for sharing!


carla newton March 14, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I have been enjoying your food writing immensely. I am greatly looking forward to trying out your delicious sounding biscuits. Thank you.
Carla newton


Lisa March 15, 2010 at 5:38 am

Congratulations, ladies. I can’t wait to come visit your restaurant-to-be. :-)


Alexis Wade March 15, 2010 at 9:06 am

You ladies make my day (and help me make my meals…)!


bianca March 15, 2010 at 9:45 am

Yum! This looks like the perfect breakfast, lunch, hell even dinner!


Angela@spinachtiger March 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

Nice to meet you. Hooray for biscuits. Now Living in Tennessee, I am trying to embrace some of these foods I didn’t grow up on. I’m going to give these a try. I’m sure the people around me who will get to eat them will be thrilled.

Good luck on little mac.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Yum! Your biscuits look amazing. I want one right now… at 11pm at night!


Jen March 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Hi Erin,
As a complete baking fiend (and also a lawyer) I feel like I know a bit about you already. But, then you posted these amazing biscuits with a glowing review and topped them with a butter to die for, and now I need to know a lot more!!

Looking forward to future posts and the opening of the Little Mac! Congrats.


The Food Hunter March 16, 2010 at 8:25 am

Nice to meet you Erin and thanks for such a wonderful recipe.


Nicole March 17, 2010 at 10:39 am

I love the concept of something simple and very delicious with the special touch of the smoked butter. With food like this, I’m sure Little Mac will be a treasure!


Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen March 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

They look perfect!


Irais April 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

With the bases loaded you srtuck us out with that answer!


simone January 18, 2012 at 10:15 am

Iwas looking through the internet for buttermilk biscuits and found this one . I am so happy to find a biscuit without eggs .My family is vegetarian so we dont use egg.I make some and it was gr8.thanks so much.Iwish u all the best in opening ur resturant. I love cooking too.


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