The South is known for many things, especially food. Everyone has their favorite recipe for Southern biscuits. They must be prepared the way their grandmother’s made them. They must be handled as little as possible. You must use cream. You must use buttermilk. You see where this is going.
Well, I never dreamed that I would find a biscuit that was to die for and….made in the Pacific Northwest…at Grand Central Bakery. This biscuit would stand the test of every born and bred southerner, I guarantee.
Try these flaky (on the outside) and soft airy (on the inside) biscuits and see what I mean. You could eat these straight out of the oven without any butter or jam, they’re that good. When you find a biscuit that can stand up to that test, you know you won’t have to look any further. For a trip to Nirvana…add butter and/or jam.
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups (10 to 12 fluid ounces) buttermilk
About 3/4 cup good quality preserves or jam
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
Dice the butter into 1/2″ cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime–to quarter–size pieces of butter remaining. If you’re preparing the dough the night before, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.
The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. It won’t look smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the jammers into circles at least 21/2 inches in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches and again cut into circles.
Use your thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty–cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb–shaped hole that’s a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think pinch pot). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit, to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of jam and put the jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches between them.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.
Makes 10 to 12 jammers
Check out Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson’s cookbook: The Grand Grand Central Baking Book
Bits & Pieces
This is one of those rare recipes that I don’t mess with. Its perfection just as it is. I made half of them into Jammers and the other half rounded out our dinner last night as just plain old biscuits.
Except, there’s nothing plain or old about these biscuits. They have a crunch to them when you take a bite…and then you have flaky goodness. What more can you ask?