This time last year I took one of my favorite trips ever. I’ve been to a number of places, you know. The move I made recently to the Twin Cities? That was number 16. In addition to relocating a lot growing up, I suppose I’ve had a few cool experiences. For example, I have had the privilege of eating a Margherita Pizza at the exact restaurant in Italy where it was created. During a layover in Paris, I was once actually mistaken for a French woman. I have fond memories of unwinding my car window to breathe in the mist while driving over the bridge above Niagara Falls. I have not-so-fond memories of little Italian boys screaming, “You beautiful beach!” at me and kicking soccer balls at my head. I have been to a discotheque or two, and I have breakfasted on Bratwurst, pretzels, and beer in Bavaria. Still, beyond that, one of my favorite trips of all was to Asheville, NC to see Explosions in the Sky.
At the time of this trip, I was working two TA jobs, writing my senior thesis, and managing a full course load. Translation: I made time where it didn’t exist. I drove 15 hours in the middle of the night from Florida to spend one day in North Carolina, see my favorite band, and drive back again in the middle of the night. And I still had work to do, homework to grade, and lessons to plan. I guarantee, I was stressed and exhausted; yet, for some reason, the thought of sitting outside Tupelo Honey Café, eating real southern biscuits drizzled with honey and anticipating one of the most brilliant shows I’ve been to, elicits a calm within me that I don’t think I sensed back then. I long for that weekend.
And so, I tried to make some biscuits to reminisce about one of my favorite adventures ever. These golden babies are impossibly multi-dimensional: crunchy, moist, crumbly, sweet, salty, savory. While I do want to stress the addition of honey,I sometimes feel that doing so neglects the other delightful aspects of these buttery treats. Like the deeply subtle crunch of fleur de sel and honey butter brushed atop each perfect biscuit. Or plating one fresh out of the oven, watching steam pipe out of its delicate center as you tear off a piece. Or the comfort of knowing that this one time, it was a good decision to give in to peer pressure…
Just try them. We both know you want to.
Honey Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 6-8 Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, divided chilled and cubed
1 cup buttermilk*
2½ tbsp plus 1/2 tsp honey
sea salt (preferably fleur de sel), for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl. Use your hands and fingers to crunch and rub in 6 tbsp butter until the mixture is a moist but crumby mess. Pour in the buttermilk. Stir to incorporate a little, then add 2 1/2 tbsp honey. Stir until just combined, then fold on a floured surface into a 1-inch thick round. Cut little biscuits using a 1.5-inch to 2-inch biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet (note: a larger biscuit cutter will affect baking time). When no more rounds can be cut, refold dough into a 1-inch thick round and continue cutting until there is not enough dough to make another biscuit (I mound up the last bits of dough into a mini-biscuit for straight-out-of-the-oven “taste testing”). Sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of sea salt before placing in the oven. Bake for 9-11 min, or until golden. While the biscuits are baking, heat 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan on low. Once butter has melted completely, turn off heat and stir in 1/2 tsp honey. Set aside until biscuits are done. Remove biscuits from oven and brush the honey-butter mixture on top. Serve immediately.
*Don’t have any on hand? Place 1 tbsp of vinegar in a 1-cup measure. Pour milk in until it reaches the top of the measure. Let sit (to curdle) for 5 min. Use. You can also refer to: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm