I’m pretty sure I reached biscuit nirvana when I first tried Joanna Gaines’ biscuits. I had long admired her and her husband Chip’s home renovation artistry on their hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper, but after my initial bite, I had yet another reason to swoon. Buttery, flaky, and tender, JoJo’s Biscuits, as these cuties are known, came after more than a year of taste-testing among the opinionated Gaines clan. Hey, biscuit prowess doesn’t come overnight.
What makes this recipe an incredible one are two noteworthy additions: eggs, which are not so common in biscuit recipes (unless you’re using one to brush the tops); and salted butter. The eggs enrich the dough, while the salted butter give ‘em that lip-smacking quality that has you going in for the next bite. Lucky for us, Jo shares her family recipe with us and in her new book, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering. Read on for the backstory below.
EXCERPT FROM MAGNOLIA TABLE: A COLLECTION OF RECIPES FOR GATHERING
It took me a year of Saturdays to get these biscuits just right. Almost every weekend for months I worked up another batch for Chip and the kids to taste and then wrote down their feedback. Biscuit after biscuit was judged to be too heavy, too light, too flat, too salty, too dry, or just... not right. I don’t entirely know what kept me going back to the mixing bowl, but something inside me was clearly determined to prevail. All those failed batches didn’t discourage me—instead each one spurred me to tweak my formula and try again the next week. Of course it helped that I had a houseful of agreeable taste testers who delivered their criticisms with kindness, and encouraged me to keep at it with the kind of enthusiasm that can only be mustered by people who really love biscuits.
I vividly remember the moment I finally nailed it, when the whole family declared simultaneously, “This is it.” They have been our family s Saturday-morning breakfast ever since. Among the tricks I worked out along the way are the somewhat unusual addition of eggs and the way they are arranged for baking so that they all touch, both of which contribute to the moisture, lightness, and loft of these biscuits.
Chip thinks they are nothing less than heaven on earth. Every Saturday he has the same breakfast— fried eggs cooked over-medium and two biscuits, one slathered with butter and strawberry jam and the other one tucked under a generous serving of sausage gravy. Every week he declares that it’s the best breakfast he has ever had. And every week the kids reply, “Dad, you say that every time!” These biscuits have become so ingrained in our lives that when our oldest, Drake, went away to summer camp for the first time he wrote me a card that said, in part, “Dear Mom, I miss you so much. All I can think about is home and your biscuits and gravy. Promise me that as soon I get back, we’ll have biscuits and gravy.” Naturally, I framed the card.
When we opened Magnolia Table, there was no question these biscuits had to be on the menu, so I turned the recipe over to the chefs to transform it to suit the needs of a restaurant kitchen. (I make only twenty at a time; they make hundreds of them every day.) When the time came to decide which of my family's favorites would go in this cookbook, I knew not only that I had to share the biscuits, but also that the recipe had to be the very first one in the book.
You Know What Would Go Great with These Biscuits?
- 4 cups self-rising flour, plus more for the work surface
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) salted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or grated
- 2 large eggs, beaten, plus 1 large egg for brushing
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or as needed, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
- Strawberry jam or classic gravy, for serving
What's your idea of a perfect biscuit? Share your thoughts below!