buttermilk biscuits

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BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
I like to use a food processor to cut butter into flour when I’m making biscuits or tarts. It’s quicker so the ingredients are sure to stay cool, but feel free to incorporate the butter with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers. Before I mix the dry ingredients, I cut the butter and put it in the freezer to chill.  Like all biscuits and tart crusts, it’s imperative the ingredients are cold and they are not overworked.
After being cut into rounds, the biscuit dough can be frozen on a sheet pan and then put into a zip-top bag and stored in the freezer for a month or so.  You’ll need to add a few minutes to the baking time for the frozen dough rounds.  The biscuit dough can also sit in the refrigerator over night.  Last year I made the dough Christmas Eve, baked the rounds Christmas morning and  served them with sausage gravy and fried eggs which is my husband’s all-time favorite. Today we had them with ham from Vermont Smoke & Cure and honey mustard which was equal parts honey, Dijon mustard and coarse grain mustard.

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Ingredients
3 cups/12.75 oz. all-purpose flour
1 cup/4 oz. cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks/8 oz. butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)

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Procedure
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process util combined.
Add the butter to the bowl and toss gently to coat with flour being careful of the blade.
Pulse the food processor in 1 second intervals about 8-10 times.
The mixture should look like sand and the largest pieces of butter should be the size of peas.
Pour the mixture out of the food processor bowl into a large bowl.
Add the buttermilk, holding back a few tablespoons and mix together with a fork.
As the dough comes together you will start to see if you need the rest of the buttermilk.
If there is a lot of flour at the bottom of the bowl not getting incorporated, you’ll need to add the rest of the milk.
Once all of the ingredients are well combined, pour the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
If the dough has gotten too wet, add more flour to the work surface.
Flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1-inch tall.
Fold the rectangle in half, rotate the dough a quarter-turn and pat down again.
Repeat the fold one more time and pat down.
Cut about 12 3-inch rounds out of the dough.
Place the rounds on a sheet pan about 1/4-inch apart.
If you’d like, brush the tops with the cream.
Let chill in the freezer about 10 minutes.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit 3-5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

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