Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits (Pioneer Woman)

Are American biscuits the same as British scones?

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
4 cups all-purpose flour
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.

Happy Baking
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  1. Oh wow, with cream and strawberries! My salivary glands are working overtime!. Yum!

  2. OMY Zoe really sooo good, delicious !!

  3. To confuse you even more, although I know what you mean by American biscuits resembling traditional British scones, American scones look like pastries, not like American biscuits (as you can see in the picture). And then, we call what the British call biscuits 'cookies.'

  4. Great idea to use drinking glass ha ha these biscuits look so fluffy and delicious.

  5. It is quite confusing, but being born a Brit, and living in the US for over 30 years, I can assure you that scones and American biscuits are different. The texture is different, and as you mentioned one is savoury and one is sweet. I made scones once and forgot to add the sugar, but they did not taste like American biscuits.

    I do like both, but must admit, I make scones about 10x more often than I make American biscuits! haha! ;)

  6. Cookies, biscuits or scones - just names.... so long they are delish, fine by me! But buttermilk brings this up a notch from the rest!

  7. Hi Zoe , I drop by for my biscuits , I brought my own jam . homemade biscuits are more delicious than McDonald's are Popeye's anyday ,thanks for sharing .

  8. Hi Zoe..thanks for dropping by my blog n leading me to your lovely do have a lovely collection here. Glad to meet you, and yes..happily following your space. Hope you drop by my "pick quicks" blog as well..its all other than cooking. Keep in touch..regards...

  9. Heavenly...I don't mind having these for breakfast everyday ^.^

  10. OMG...u're making me hungry,Zoe! it's been a while since i last made this with my sister...we love to use heart shaped cookie cutter...& i also love those biscuits they served at Popeye's...yummy! ;)

  11. your biscuits looks like cake to me...

  12. Doesn't matter how you call them they look delicious! :)

  13. Zoe, your "biscuits" really look like scones! Ree seems to love her butter and shortening. I have a tub of shortening in my cupboard but I've never used it before as well :P (for emergency purposes haha!)

  14. These biscuits look amazing.. I'll have to try them soon.. Thanks for sharing Zoe :-)

  15. Hi Zoe,
    Yes, it is always so confusing between biscuits and cookies. And our Asian cookies and biscuits are different altogether! We are so straight forward, "soda-peng" are biscuits, and "kuih bangkit" are cookies! Haha!
    Your scones looks wonderful, I've just made one of her scones too, yesterday, will be posting it in the next few days!

  16. Zoey, you did an amazing job on your American biscuits...biscuits here in the U.S. are the buttery flaky biscuits that you have just made....the British scones are on the sweet side...we never call those...biscuits; and for the cookies...they are simply cookies...unless; we're talking about the COOKIES on the web, which is a totally kind of cookies (don't even know why they are called cookies...LOL)

  17. Good looking biscuits! Actually I never use shortening in my biscuits - 100% butter. People just use shortening because it's cheaper, although it can make some things a bit more tender (biscuits are tender enough you don't need it). If you have really good lard, though, that's worth using in biscuits (or pie crust). Biscuits usually don't have sugar in them (although there are exceptions) which I think is the main difference between scones. Well, British biscuits do, but those of course are cookies. ;-) Funny how a common language can cause confusion, isn't it?

  18. Yeah, I was going to say something similar to chewingthefat. Our scones are hard, dry, and typically not sweet. I can't think of a great analogy to anything else. Biscuits tend to be softer, lighter, and fluffier.

  19. Nothing better than moist and flaky warm biscuits!!

  20. Soo heavenly .......and I feel to grab one piece through my laptop....So beautifully made and perfect. Gonna try this :) Thanks for sharing

  21. Hi Zoe,
    Looks like scone!
    With strawberry and cream... mmm... yum! yum!

  22. My first biscuits were from KFC and boy , they were quiet delicious ;D These biscuits sure look good !

  23. hi zoe, i'm also confused between scones and biscuits cos they look just the same..and here, strangely too, we refer those american type of baked cookies or buttery cookies as 'cookies' and those local made confectionery cookies as ' biscuits'.. i also like these scone alike biscuits to be eaten with whipped cream or jam too!

  24. Hi Zoe, love buttermilk, and love the biscuits!! (and also how you used a glass to cut the biscuit dough!)