Shirley Corriher's Touch-of-GraceĀ Biscuits

December 23, 2011


Author Notes: A genius technique for guarding against dry biscuits. Food scientist and baking expert Shirley Corriher says the dough "should be a wet mess" -- a moist dough steams up into fluffy biscuits in a hot oven, and a low-protein self-rising flour like White Lily will make them extra tender, if you can get it. Note: Corriher, ever the scientist and tinkerer, published one version of this recipe in CookWise in 1997, and a fairly different one in BakeWise in 2008. We tried and loved both, the newer one edged out. Note: If you can't find self-rising flour, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, and increase the salt to 1 teaspoon. This version is adapted slightly from BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking (Scribner, 2008).Genius Recipes

Makes: 12 to 14 medium biscuits

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing, or nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups (9 ounces/255 g) spooned and leveled self-rising flour (preferably low-protein Southern U.S. flour like White Lily)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or less, if you prefer your biscuits less sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk, or enough for dough to resemble cottage cheese (if you are not using low-protein flour, it will take more than 1 cup)
  • 1 cup plain all-purpose flour, for shaping
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. Gently stir in the cream, then some of the buttermilk until dough resembles wet cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess -- not soup, but cottage-cheese texture. If you are not using a low-protein flour, this may take considerably more than 1 cup of buttermilk.
  3. Spread the plain all-purpose flour (not self-rising) out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium (about 2 inches, #30) ice cream scoop or spoon, place three or four scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hands. Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up, and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place this biscuit in the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball in the same way and place each shaped biscuit scrunched up against its neighbor so that the biscuits rise up and don't spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all dough is used.
  4. Place the pan on the arranged shelf in the oven. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with the melted butter. Invert onto one plate, then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately. "Butter 'em while they're hot."
  5. Note: Do not use self-rising flour for shaping, as the leavener will give a bitter taste to the outside of the biscuits.

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Biscuit|Bread|Grains|Buttermilk|Cottage Cheese|Summer|Winter|Christmas|Easter|Fourth of July|Memorial Day|Thanksgiving

Reviews (32) Questions (8)

32 Reviews

tanya April 1, 2018
I only added a heaping tablespoon of sugar, these were lovely to go alongside bacon and eggs. My daughter's new favorite biscuit. My happy liked them, but he prefers the flakier traditional biscuits. These are special though, tender and delicate. I used all butter, and 1/2 and 1/2 (no cream in the house) along with buttermilk.
 
Katie P. January 31, 2017
I've made these biscuits twice in one week. New favorite recipe! Thank you for including the weights for ingredients. I made them a little too wet the first time but they still turned out great! Cut the sugar a bit. I find they store well at room temperature lightly covered (not tightly wrapped). Can't wait for summer to try them with the corn butter!
 
Elaine L. November 13, 2016
Scones have sugar, biscuits don't. Angel biscuits may, but they are a cross between a biscuit and a roll. BISCUITS DON'T HAVE SUGAR IN THEM, UNLESS BEING USED FOR SHORTCAKE.
 
Paige A. December 29, 2016
Did you even bother to make them before you made your judgment?
 
Elaine L. April 3, 2018
I grew up in Georgia. We had biscuits every meal. They are traditional there. Biscuits DON'T have sugar, unless they are being used for shortcake.
 
Paige A. April 5, 2018
I also grew up in GA. Some recipes call for sugar and some don't. The ones that do call for sugar taste NOTHING shortcake.
 
T November 13, 2016
I'm always in search of a good biscuit. This one is the best I've come across so far. I didn't have the good self rising flour, I just used Washington. I had to add more buttermilk to get the right consistency. But they were across bit tangy. Next time I'll use a little more half and half/whole milk so I can use less buttermilk. I also did 1/8th sugar and had cooked them for 30 minutes. Deliscious.
 
T November 13, 2016
**they were a little bit too tangy
 
Jane October 4, 2016
Good thing you mentioned the "cottage cheese" point because honestly this looked like the craziest mixture! Turns out these are the most delicious and easiest biscuits ever. I made them with butter, not shortening and they were absolutely the moistest and tastiest biscuits ever! Served them with butter and maple syrup and they were heavenly!!
 
Amy V. November 15, 2015
I don't have self rising flour. Can I use all purpose with the addition of baking soda and or powder?
 
jifferb November 23, 2015
I was just going to ask that - see answer in Author's Notes above.<br />
 
sfmomma October 24, 2015
These biscuits turned out great. I ended up using half the amount of sugar and double the buttermilk probably due to the brand of self-rising flour I used. I froze the dough in the pan earlier in the week and thawed in the refrigerator for a few hours before putting them in the oven. I then brushed the top with a garlic mixture I made (room temp butter, garlic, italian parsley, etc). They came out amazing. Putting a parchment round at the of the pan really made a huge difference when baking from frozen. The only issue I had was the overpowering buttermilk flavor because I had to add so much extra to bring it to the proper consistency. Regardless, this is a keeper recipe!
 
Heidi V. April 15, 2015
This was my first time making biscuits. These were incredibly easy and delicious! My partner and I were both very impressed. The biscuits are, as others have mentioned, very sweet. If you know you like to slather on jam or honey reduce the sugar. If you enjoy being able to eat a biscuit without having to put anything on it keep the sugar as is. Either way, do yourself a favor and make this quick!
 
taxidog February 3, 2015
I must try these soon-they are guaranteed to work! If you are not familiar with Shirley, she is a biochemist specializing in all things food. She is fascinating in her explanations of how cooking and baking works. She authored 2 genius books on the how's and whys of cooking. They are good reads.
 
thebutterlab April 15, 2014
I'm excited to try these! I was just wondering if I could make the dough and then freeze the biscuits, shaped in the cake pan? Thanks!
 
EFF April 13, 2014
Can this be made with any of the non-gluten flours?
 
juicyrebound1 January 8, 2014
I agree with Elaine, these ain't my Granny's biscuits, but they are tender, light and quite delicious. Shortcake is a good call with fresh berries.
 
Sarah J. January 3, 2014
These are the most insane, heavenly biscuits I have EVER tried. I made them to bring to a dinner party. I did all of the steps up to the baking ahead of time, then brought them to my friends' house and baked them there. Perfect, melt-in-your-mouth, light as air biscuits.
 
Katie July 11, 2013
These are my new go-to biscuits. I've made them three times in the past few weeks and still can't get enough. Genius, indeed.
 
Elaine L. May 13, 2013
Scones have sugar, biscuits don't, at least not in GA where I grew up.
 
ChefJune April 9, 2014
Shirley is also from GA, Elaine... and these are some seriously wonderful biscuits. However, I don't remember sugar being in the version of these I got 25 years ago. And I don't use self-rising flour.
 
esther G. May 13, 2013
These sound delicious, just like I used to make years ago, but without the sugar. Has anyone tried them using Pamela's gluten free mix?
 
AnyaTika June 17, 2012
Always on the hunt for a biscuit recipe that was amazing and easy to remember. This is it. I've had a great time reading up on Shirley as well. What an interesting and inspiring woman. I will say that the amount of sugar was too much for my savory application of biscuits and gravy so I halved the sugar and they were perfect. Even passed the inspection of my very southern family. <br /> <br />I haven't come across a recipe that I've enjoyed and at the same time came out so perfectly as I have with this one. <br /> <br />Thanks!
 
Soozll May 29, 2012
I wandered in yesterday and this recipe was featured on the front page. I couldn't resist it! I watched the video, twice, and marched right into the kitchen and made these babies! Now, I didn't have White Lily, let alone any self rising flour, so I used regular all purpose minus 1 heaping tablespoon full and added 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda then followed the rest of the recipe exactly. Wow! These really are the tallest, lightest, fluffiest biscuits I've ever made...and the sweetest. I'd probably use this recipe as a shortcake for berries rather than a dinner biscuit, but Buddy..they were good. Did I say light? And fluffy? Amazing! Will knock back the sugar next time to maybe one tablespoon to use as a dinner biscuit, but the technique is genius!
 
meganvt01 April 10, 2012
We made this for Easter dinner and they were a hit! Definitely sweeter than I had anticipated but everyone thought they were lovely. Easy to make and will be a new staple.
 
meganvt01 April 10, 2012
We made this for Easter dinner and they were a hit! Definitely sweeter than I had anticipated but everyone thought they were lovely. Easy to make and will be a new staple.