Drop Biscuits with Molasses Butter

June  8, 2013
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

I hate throwing edible things away - and was beginning to get devastated by the idea of all the good whey I was discarding after making Jennifer Perillo's ricotta every few weeks (yes, I admit - I have a ricotta making and eating problem). I stumbled across an article that listed the many uses of whey, one of which being a substitute for buttermilk. I immediately applied it to one of my most made recipes - a version of my mother's incredible drop biscuits. The result was lighter and fluffier than normal - and I've been making them this way ever since! My mom puts dried fruit or (another favorite) dark chocolate chunks in hers - but I like them plain with good butter. —Erin McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Erinmcdowell is a writer, editor, and food stylist -- and occasional Food52 test kitchen assistant!
WHAT: Fluffy, delicate, lightly-sweet biscuits -- and homemade molasses-y butter to slather all over them.
HOW: Make butter (you can do it!) by whipping cream and molasses, and skimming off the liquid. Mix together your biscuits, drop them on a baking sheet, and butter them as soon as they're out of the oven. Feel very happy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Let's look past the fact, for a moment, that these were the best biscuits we've had in a long time. We love that erinmcdowell calls for making your own butter in such a nonchalant way -- because once you do it, you realize how easy it can be. And the fact that these biscuits are adaptable makes them easy to whip up whenever the mood strikes; if you have leftover whey from making ricotta, you should use it, but feel free to swap in buttermilk. —The Editors

  • Makes 1 dozen medium biscuits
  • Drop Biscuits
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup whey (from making ricotta or butter) OR buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • turbinado sugar, as needed to garnish
  • Molasses Butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Gallon generous pinch salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons molasses (Steen's is the best I've ever tasted)
In This Recipe
  1. Drop Biscuits
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Cut in the butter and mix until it ranges in size from peas to walnut halves in the dough. This can be done by pulsing in the food processor but I prefer to do it by hand.
  3. Whisk the whey/buttermilk, egg, and vanilla to combine. Add the mixture to the dough and mix just until it comes together - it should be pretty shaggy but evenly combined.
  4. Drop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake in a 375 degree oven until golden at the top and around the edges, 12-15 minutes.
  1. Molasses Butter
  2. Whip the cream in an electric mixer on medium high speed. You can follow Ashley Rodriguez' instructions for cultured butter. Whip until the buttermilk separates, then pour it off. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix for another minute or so, then pour off the liquid. Repeat 2-3 times or until the liquid is mostly clear when it is poured off.
  3. Season the butter with salt, and whip in the molasses. Mix until well combined. Slather on warm drop biscuits.

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I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.