Some nights you just need a magic wand and some kind of Potteresque spell, like “Accio Pizza.” Time is short, little ones are needy, and by 5:00 you’ve already had a long day. Mondays are those nights for us. I get home from work around 4:30. #1 has her toddler gymnastics classes (ADORABLE!!) at 5:45. That leaves, let’s see, approximately 45 minutes for me to prepare and serve dinner before we have to hit the road.
Alas, I don’t have a wand. (But for real, how great would it be to use “Petrificus Totalus” when you’ve got to put tights on a squirming two-year-old? Or the Impervius Charm to keep tomato sauce off her shirt on spaghetti nights?) I do have a modern form of magic, though: refrigeration. Things that can go straight from the freezer to the oven seem downright miraculous when you’ve got eighty things to do before you head out the door.
And thus I present to you make-ahead buttermilk biscuits. I usually make a double batch (or a 1 1/2 batch) of these when I have extra buttermilk left over from some other baking extravaganza. We can eat some immediately, and then I freeze the unbaked leftovers for those hectic Monday nights, lazy Sunday mornings, or any other time I just need a biscuit. These are soft, fluffy, and buttery–perfect for eating with gravy, making breakfast-for-dinner sandwiches, or giving a hungry kid a quick energy burst for gymnastics.Not that this particular kid needs much of an energy burst. But she will sit still to eat biscuits. That’s its own special kind of magic.
Time Commitment: 30-40 minutes, but only 15 minutes when you’ve got some of these stored in your freezer.
Mess: I kind of hate scraping up dough from my countertops. But for biscuits, it’s a labor of love.
Special Equipment: I use a food processor for this, but you could go old school and use a pastry blender.
Adapted from Chef John’s Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 8 large or 12 small biscuits
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into thin slices and chilled until firm in freezer
- 3/4 – 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Melted butter or buttermilk for brushing (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add butter to food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
- Transfer flour/butter mixture to a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in 3/4 cup buttermilk. Stir until just combined.
- If your mixture isn’t holding together into a soft dough, add in another 1/4 cup or so of the buttermilk.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured counter top and pat to about 3/4-inch thick.
- Cut your biscuits. Gently re-combine and re-pat your dough until you’ve used it all.
- Transfer biscuits to your baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or buttermilk (optional), and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Make-ahead option: Instead of lining your baking sheet with parchment paper, line it with wax paper. Use this baking sheet to freeze unbaked biscuits for a couple hours, until fully frozen. Then place biscuits in a freezer-safe baggie and store them for up to a couple of months. No need to thaw before baking; you’ll just have to add an additional 2 or 3 minutes to the bake time.