Easy Cream Biscuits
“It seems too good to be true that you can simply mix cream and flour to make a biscuit. When I found this recipe in a dusty old file cabinet in a back storage room at White Lily Flour Company about twenty years ago, I didn’t think it would work. After trying the recipe, though, I wondered why everyone doesn’t use it to make biscuits. It bakes up tender and moist with very little effort because you don’t have to cut in the shortening.
When my daughter, Katrina Moore, moved to Seattle, her roommates enjoyed her biscuits, which she made as an occasional treat. Finally, she tired of their begging for biscuits and taught them this simple recipe. One Christmas morning, she got a call from a former roommate, John Huddleston, who asked, “How much cream is it you add?” Getting that type of phone call lets you know that you’ve “arrived” as a true biscuit maker. I was thrilled to see the tradition being passed along.
Cream biscuits don’t brown much, so don’t overbake them. They’re tender but not flaky. This won’t stop anyone from enjoying every bite.” – From Biscuits, a Savor the South cookbook by Belinda Ellis
2 cups soft wheat self-rising flour
1–3 tsp sugar (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing the tops
All-purpose flour for dusting
Melted butter for brushing the tops
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Use a nonstick cake pan or baking sheet. Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar, if desired. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Starting at the sides of the bowl, use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss the flour over the cream. Continue to work in the flour from the sides of the bowl, just until the dough comes together. If the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to your fingers, you have the right amount of cream. If there are dry spots and the dough isn’t sticky when you touch it, add more cream.
Dust a surface with all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto the surface. Flour your hands, then cuddle the dough by pressing your hands around the outer edges. Pat and press the top of the dough with your floured hands. Fold the dough in half, pat it, and fold it again. Repeat this two or three times until the outside of the dough feels less sticky and becomes smooth. Use a rolling pin or pat the dough to flatten it to the desired thickness: 1⁄2 inch for traditional biscuits or up to 1 inch for very tall biscuits.
Cut the biscuits using a 2-inch biscuit cutter without twisting the cutter. Place the biscuits in the cake pan or baking sheet so they touch if you like soft sides or about 1⁄2 inch apart for crisper sides. Combine the leftover pieces of dough and cuddle them with your hands, handling the dough as little as possible. Cut more biscuits. Form the remaining scraps into a snake and place it around the biscuits. This will make the biscuits rise more evenly. (And the snake makes a crispy extra for the cook.)
Brush the tops with a bit of cream. Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven until they’re light golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter. Makes about 12 biscuits.
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Copyright © 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu.