If our pastry chef has finished the preparation of her exquisite desserts and petits-fours in plenty of time and she's
feeling benevolent, we're sometimes treated to these homey biscuits at our staff meal. We're very partial to this herbed
version, but you could omit the herbs and make plain biscuits or substitute other flavorings like a teaspoon of coarsely
ground black pepper for a change of pace. The secret to tasty biscuits is being sure to leave a few pieces of butter in
the dough that seem a little bigger than you think they should be.
These biscuits are best eaten hot out of the oven. Of course, it's hard to imagine that anybody would turn down a few
warmed leftover ones the next morning, especially if they were accompanied by plenty of butter and honey.
Makes about 8 biscuits
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2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, chilled
3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, flat-leaf parsley, chives, and dill leaves
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter a baking sheet.
||Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the butter and rub
it in quickly with your fingers until fairly well blended; the texture should resemble coarse meal, but it's okay to
leave a few larger lumps. Add the herbs and toss to combine. Add the buttermilk all at once and stir with a wooden
spoon until the flour is just moistened and a dough forms; do not overmix.
||Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly, just to rid it of excess stickiness.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough 1/2-inch thick. Cut it into round biscuits using a floured
3-inch biscuit cutter, or cut into 3-inch squares with a knife.
||Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the
biscuits warm from the oven or at room temperature.
Excerpted from STAFF MEALS FROM CHANTERELLE copyright © 2000 David Waltuck, Melicia Phillips.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.