When I am sick of cooking and sick of answering the question, what’s for dinner? I turn to breakfast for dinner.
It never fails to satisfy and it gives me an excuse to make fresh hot biscuits. There is nothing like splitting open a just-baked biscuit, slathering it with butter and watching as the steam melts the butter and it’s absorbed by the soft pillowy interior … except eating it – hits the spot, every time!
I’ve made biscuits every way that you can imagine and have used lard, butter, Crisco, milk, buttermilk and heavy cream to bind them and make them flaky.
I learned to make biscuits by measuring flour, salt and baking powder and I’ve used self-rising flour as well. I watched seasoned biscuit makers mix biscuits by touch and feel with lard, buttermilk and self-rising flour. Since their biscuits are some of the best I’ve ever eaten, I made it their way as well. And, the verdict is that I like them all for different reasons and different purposes.
I used to think that a cream biscuit made with heavy cream and a touch of sugar should be reserved for strawberry shortcake or the top of a sweet fruit and biscuit cobbler. But then I made Nathalie Dupree’s Two Ingredient Biscuits. With a name like that, it’s essential for any biscuit maker to give them a try.
Nathalie’s biscuits are made with self-rising flour and heavy cream. If you’ve never used self-rising flour, it is flour that comes mixed with baking powder and salt. It is a great baking shortcut and you can buy it or make your own. [To make self-rising flour, whisk in 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt for every cup of flour.]
Nathalie Dupree is a chef and the author of 15 cookbooks including “Southern Biscuits” that she wrote with Cynthia Graubart. She is generally regarded as the “Grand Dame” of Southern Cooking and is a woman who was ahead of her time working in kitchens when literally no other women were doing it. She is as gracious as you would expect a southern hostess to be and as peppery and straight forward as her cuisine.
The first time I baked up a batch, I had to eat my words, and it was a delicious penance. The texture of the Two Ingredient Biscuits is soft and fluffy; tender and more refined than it has a right to be. The crumb is moist but not greasy at all.
I used self-rising White Lily flour which is made from soft winter wheat and it is low in protein and gluten. This is important because even if you over-work your biscuit dough, it is almost impossible for the biscuits to turn out tough and hard which can happen when you use standard all-purpose flour. If you don’t have White Lily flour in your local grocery store, you can buy it online. You can also substitute cake flour – add an additional 2 tablespoons for every cup of all-purpose flour in the recipe – and you can buy self-rising cake flour.
If you have always wanted to make biscuits and feel like it’s not your thing, try this recipe. I promise it will deliver. And, if you already have a favorite biscuit recipe, keep this one in your back pocket for those times when you want a batch of fresh homemade biscuits in a fraction of the time. Because the cream is both the liquid and the fat, they come together as fast as any mix and taste 100% better! With this recipe, there is no excuse not to make your biscuits from scratch.
A pile of fresh biscuits is always a reason to celebrate and when they are as easy as Nathalie Dupree's Two Ingredient Biscuit, there is no excuse not to bake them!
Two Ingredient Biscuits
Adapted from Nathalie Dupree
I use Natalie’s basic “Two Ingredient Biscuit” recipe and add my family technique of buttering the dough and folding it several times to create flaky layers which technically makes these biscuits three ingredients if you are counting.
Makes 14 (2-inch) biscuits
- 2 (generous) cups White Lily self-rising flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
- ½ stick or 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- Biscuit cutter
- Small baking sheet such as ¼ sheet pan or square 8-inch cake pan.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Fit baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk a generous 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Add 1 ¼ cups cream and stir with a fork.
3. If there is some flour remaining on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in just enough reserved cream to incorporate remaining flour into dough. (If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.) The dough should be sticky.
4. Lightly sprinkle a cutting board pastry mat with a couple tablespoons of flour. Flour your hands as well. Place dough in the center and if it is sticky, sprinkle it lightly with flour.
5. Fold the dough in half and pat it into a ⅓-thick round. Brush all over with melted butter and fold in half. Press the dough out to another disc that is 1/3 of an inch thick and repeat. Keep buttering and folding until the dough is folded at least four times.
6. At this point, I pat the dough into a round and use a rolling pin to lightly roll it out before I cut the biscuits. Note: I roll the dough into a ½-inch-thick round for normal biscuits, but if you want bigger biscuits, roll it out to ¾-inch-thick for tall biscuits, or a 1-inch-thick for giant biscuits.
7. Dip a 2-inch biscuit cutter into reserved flour and cut out biscuits, starting at outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. If you twist the cutter, you will seal the edges and they won’t rise as well. I combine the scraps to make additional biscuits, although Southern bakers warn that they will be slightly tougher.
8. Move biscuits to prepared pan. Bake in the middle rack of oven until light golden brown, about 12 to 16 minutes. Your oven may take longer depending on how brown you like your biscuits. Remove biscuits from oven and brush tops with softened or melted butter. Place on a cooling rack or in a basket lined with a cotton or linen towel.
9. Serve immediately.