Jiro dreams of sushi. But I dream of something else.
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love sushi and really all that Japanese cuisine has to offer, and it might be cuisine that I cook the most. (Or Italian – the number of risotto recipes I’ve racked up is a little alarming.)
But my true passion is baked goods. I once read that gluten has an opiate effect on people, that when you stop eating gluten, you can experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Well let me tell you, I went gluten free for six months and after two months, I simultaneously wanted to cry, hurt something, and stuff my face with bread. When I returned to gluten, I almost cried with happiness. It still gives me a headache (though I think this is more of a food coma effect from overeating every time I’m around sweets), but the tradeoff is (mostly) worth it.
Lately, I’ve been dreaming of biscuits. I never really loved biscuits until I went to Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston. (I already wrote about my experience before so I’ll spare you a longwinded repeat.) Immediately afterwards, I tried and failed to recreate them. Since then, I’ve been tormented by my failure, and I resolved to try again. Buoyed by my recent success with re-trying Shakshuka, as well as inundated with boredom on a Friday night (I have friends, I promise), I gave it my best shot.
Guys, I don’t know if I totally nailed it, but if I didn’t, I came pretty darn close. These biscuits are fluffy, with moist layers you could peel apart, and a shiny glazed and slightly crunchy exterior. Now I can finally lay my biscuit nightmare to rest, and move on to dreaming of other sweet things.
Island Creek Oyster Bar Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from Saveur) – makes 6 large biscuits
5 cups flour (using the dip and sweep method)
1 tbsp kosher salt (still think this is too much salt – I used 1/2 tbsp)
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
10 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I used 2 cups)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp honey (I added more to taste since I wanted a sweeter glaze)
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped (I used 2 tbsp)
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Using a box grater, grate 10 tbsp butter to flour mixture, then gently mix together using a wooden spoon or your hands. (I used a wooden spoon because my hands were super hot and made the butter melt.) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk, then gently mix together until just combined.
- Tip 1: If not all the flour is incorporated, don’t keep trying to incorporate it. You could overwork the dough and end up with chewy, dense biscuits.
- Tip 2: I knead the dough against the bottom of the bowl twice or thrice until it all sticks together, then I fold it in half, then quarters. By now, most of the flour should be incorporated.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into an 8in by 6in rectangle, about 2in thick. Cut into 6 squares, then evenly space them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes. (Mine kind of toppled over but whatever, still delicious.)
Melt remaining 6 tbsp butter in a small pan (or if you’re lazy like me, the microwave,) then whisk in the honey and rosemary. Brush over hot biscuits, then return to the oven until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. (I didn’t have a brush, so I just picked up the biscuits – disclaimer: it kind of hurt my fingers – and dipped the top and sides of the biscuit in the glaze mixture.)