I am a sucker for a biscuit recipe. I’ll try them all out, even though I’ve worked out a consistently successful master recipe for quick biscuits and discovered the best buttermilk biscuit recipe, courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated. Now, Cook’s Illustrated has passed on the recipe for best drop buttermilk biscuits in the November issue, and of course, I had to try them.
The main difference between the drop biscuits and the just plain best buttermilk biscuits is that the drop biscuits are significantly easier to make. There is no messing about with the food processor or trying to shape the dough into balls. This recipe relies on mixing melted and cooled butter with the buttermilk, so that the butter forms into clumps, producing the same effect as pulsing or cutting cold butter into a regular biscuit dough. The resulting dough can then be dropped onto the baking pan, rather than shaped or cut, shaving some time off what was already a fairly quick recipe. Just beware of making your “drops” too big, as I did, or you’ll wind up with fewer biscuits that require longer baking time, although they will still be good.
The other big difference is that this is the only biscuit recipe I have tried that requires 1 full stick of butter (plus 2 tablespoons for brushing on top). My other recipes only call for 4 tablespoons. With that much butter, of course they are going to be good! They are just not going to be that good for you. You’ve been warned: Even though these biscuits are easier to make, they should probably be consumed in moderation.
Here’s the verdict: They are delicious. Big, flaky, moist — these are everything biscuits should be. My husband declared them “the best biscuits he’s ever had at home.” Enjoy.
Best Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Yields: 12 biscuits, if you’re careful about apportioning out the dough
Time to make: ~25 minutes
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 stick + 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
- Melt the 1 stick butter and let cool about 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, combine the melted butter and the buttermilk, and stir until clumps form.
- Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until just incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a ¼ cup dry measure, scoop out and drop 12 balls of dough onto the baking sheet (this is easier if you spray the measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray).
- Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 14 minutes.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter and brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter before serving.
Notes: This recipe is from the November-December 2007 issue of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.