Both look very similar in appearance, but accordingly to Wikipedia, most British scones are traditionally made with just butter, wheras American biscuits are more often made with animal fat or vegetable shortening. Most British scones are usually sweet, served with coffee and tea whereas most American biscuits are served more as bread and often as breakfast.
I remember eating my first American biscuit during late 80s... Strangely, I had this biscuit at a McDonald branch in Singapore. It was selling well as part of McDonald breakfast menu in Singapore but only for a limited time. Then, I don't remember seeing the appearance of American biscuits again until recently when Popeye came to Singapore.
In Australia, the definition of biscuit is totally different from the American and exactly the same as the traditional British kind...
"Cookies? No! Only the Americans name sweet biscuits as cookies. In Australia, sweet biscuits are biscuits, not cookies!."
My Australian friends don't like to name their cookies "cookies" and only insist naming them "biscuits". For this reason, I like to refer these buttermilk biscuits as American biscuits because they are never the kind of biscuits that we eat for our tea breaks.
As mentioned by Ree in this recipe, everyone seems a different idea of their biscuits. Her grandmother used to make drop and lumpy kind. Her mum made small and airy ones and hers are the relatively light with crispy surfaces. Based on Ree's description, I reckon hers are quite the true American kind of biscuits that I after. To experience the real taste of these American biscuits, I'm breaking my rules this time. Being a health freak, I usually don't prefer to use shortening for my baking but I'm using shortening this time.
Like how most Americans eat these biscuits, these biscuits are usually served as savoury with fried chicken and gravy. As suggested by Ree, I like to have mine with cream and fresh strawberries. Ironically, my American biscuits are just like the way how the British scones are typically served...
|Buttermilk biscuits (Pioneer Woman)|
|Making these biscuits is like making scones. So easy!|
|Traditional Baking: Ree reckons her biscuits taste better shaped by an old beat-up biscuit cutter. I like using drinking glass instead.|
|Ree's advise: Do not under-bake or the biscuits will be dough-y!|
|Indeed, these biscuits are relatively light with crispy surfaces!|
|With cream and fresh strawberry, this biscuits is for my breakfast. Yum!|
Here is the recipe from the book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
(With my modification and notes in blue)
|The shortening that I used|
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
(replaced with baking powder)
1/3 cup cold butter (5 1/3 tbsp), cut into pieces
1/3 cup shortening
(I used Solite*)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
* Please note that Crisco brand is the usual shortening that Ree used. The Australian Copha brand shortening is too firm and not suitable at all for this use. Solite brand shortening is the closest that I can find.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (or 200°C fan forced).
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir together.
Add the shortening and cold butter pieces. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until just combined. The biscuit dough will be sticky, not overly dry or crumbly.
Lightly flour a clean surface. Turn the dough out of the bowl and roll to a 1/3 to 3/4 inch thickness, depending on how thick you'd like your biscuits to be.
Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass) and place them in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 11 to 14 mins, until golden brown.
Note: Using 1/4 of the recipe, I baked 6 biscuits at 200°C fan forced for 15 mins and served them with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
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