Very rarely do I develop recipes on my own. While my friends may all affectionately give me accolades of my cooking, I can’t honestly call myself a chef or an innovator. As flattered as I am by their praise – I am a Leo after all- the pure and simple truth is that I’m just really good at following directions.
Give me a process, I will study it and make it better (it’s on my resume so you know that it’s true). Give me four walls and a roof, and I will make it a home. Give me a recipe, and I’ll make it my own. Give me butter, and well, you’re in for quite a treat if there is a cast iron and some flour on hand as well. This cast iron biscuit recipe is just one of those combos of boredom and the desire to cook.
My Grandma who was born and raised in a working farm family in Long Island has never quite understood it when people say “I don’t know how to cook.” I can almost hear that Yankee sass all but spit out “Well you have two hands and a working brain right?” She isn’t one to sugarcoat, as most judicious elderly ladies have long lost their filter- but not tact- with age. She gave me an appreciation for cast iron cookware, cooking with real ingredients, and the confidence to fail and try again if something doesn’t turn out quite right the first time. Life is full of second chances; luckily if you follow directions well, you don’t need a second chance with this biscuit recipe.
And since we’re being transparent here, if you live beneath the Mason Dixon line, call all soda products “Coke”, and have said y’all at least once in your life non-ironically, you better know how to make biscuits from scratch. I’m not saying you need to ditch the bisquick everytime, but for all intents and purposes of Southern authenticity: ditch the bisquick!
Also, heed this warning, you must make these biscuits with the name brands I suggest below. Substitutions with store brands may work okay, but if you want biscuits that I claim are better than your previous attempts, then you’ll need to use what I used. A cast iron is a necessity to get a sturdy, slightly crispened biscuit base.
There is no heaven that’s greater than one of these biscuits when they are fresh from the oven, topped with homemade vanilla bean whipped cream and nestled on a smattering of fresh rose strawberry preserves. BUT that is a heaven you will have to get to know later this week when I post the recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits.
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- 2 cups White Lily Flour plus more for rolling
- 4 teaspoons calumet baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt I used pink Himalayan
- 3 tablespoons unsalted Kerry Gold butter cold and cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons full fat cream cheese
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- *optional Powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a pastry blender (or a fork, but for $5 dollars this was beyond worth it), quickly cut cream cheese into the flour mixture until combined.
After cream cheese has been cut in, cut in butter into the flour mixture until you have various sizes of dough (no larger than peas). This should take less than a minute. Don’t over work the butter, you don’t want it to become greasy from overheating in the flour.
Make a well in the mixture and pour your buttermilk in the center.
Working from the outside in, bring the flour into the center with a large wooden spoon, scooping and turning the bowl until the buttermilk is incorporated into the flour. Use a light hand here and be sure to not over stir the dough. You don’t want it to turn into a stick over combined mess.
Heavily sprinkle flour and powdered sugar onto a marble pastry board. Turn the dough onto the marble pastry board and flour the top of the dough and your hands.
Bring the dough together and flatten and fold the dough 4-6 times until well combined.
Pat dough into a square or circle and cut into even sized squares with a large, sharp knife.
In a greased (with butter) cast iron skillet, place biscuits face down into skillet making sure that all sides are touching and that they fill every inch of the pan. There is a theory that if the biscuits have no room to spread they will rise up to be taller and more fluffy.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk, place in the center rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
*powdered sugar is not necessary, but it gave the biscuits the most subtle sweetness that was perfect for the sweet biscuit I was aiming for. If going for savory, skip the sugar.