We’ve all done it. Or at least if you’ve cooked for any length of time and are more than a casual “I HAVE to cook so I do” sort of foodie you’ve done it. What the heck am I talking about? Food reinvention. Aka the times you want to make something you’ve made before but just want to do it differently. You want something traditional but you want something new. That train of thought has brought us so very many of the foods we all love. Though I doubt Twinkies and Cheetos were somebody’s brain child as to how to reinvent cheese and cake. Mores the pity.
I have been wanting biscuits. I have also been wanting croissants. But biscuits were boring and croissants are a pain in the proverbial tushie. I can make both with no problem. You can’t live in the south and cook without learning to make good buttermilk biscuits or you may as well hide in a hole. And I taught myself to make croissants years back just cause I wanted to prove I could do it. But neither was exciting me yesterday when I was contemplating today’s post. So I figured I’d make Angel Biscuits- those biscuit/yeast roll hybrids. But I wanted to play with them and see if I could get them to be more akin to croissants with out all the trouble and time that croissants take. I have to say; I’m pretty tickled with how they turned out.
Hours before I started the dough, I cut two sticks of butter in half. Then I rolled out each half in between sheets of waxed paper and froze them. After I got the dough finished later, I did the rolling and turning technique (more or less) that you use when making croissants after inserting the sheets of butter in them. After baking, I tried one (I wanted to eat more but controlled myself lol) with some of my home made Apricot Honey Jam. All I can say is… oh my. These turned out fantastic. Are they the prettiest rolls in the world? Nope. But I couldn’t care less nor will you. I promise. These are tender and buttery and the tops and bottoms get a slight crispy almost fried taste and texture due to the butter. You can see the layers in this and they are reminiscent of the flaky biscuits you can make from a can (the ones where you can peel apart the layers) but without the canned taste, thank God and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. So give these a try. They aren’t time consuming at all and taste so darn good!
Croissant Style Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 sticks butter (1/2 pound), room temp, cut in half (preferably salted for this recipe contrary to what I usually advise)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) regular yeast
- 2 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk (you may need a touch more if the dough is dry)
- Put one of your pieces of butter onto a large piece of waxed paper. Fold the paper over it and smoosh the butter down. Then roll the butter out flat into a thin sheet. Do this with each of the four pieces. Put into the freezer for at least an hour.
- When the butter has been in for about 50 minutes, preheat your oven to 400 and start your dough.
- Mix the yeast with the warm water in a small container. Set aside.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk, then the yeast. Mixture should leave sides of bowl and be a cohesive mass. If not, add a little more buttermilk at a time until it does.
- Place the dough on a generously floured board. Knead until it comes together smoothly. Gently roll out the dough into a rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Place one of the frozen butter sheets on it and fold the dough in half, enclosing the butter. Seal the edges well. Gently roll back out into a rectangle large enough to insert another sheet of butter.
- Do this three more times with each of the other pieces of butter. Make sure your board stays decently floured. Seal the dough well after inserting each sheet of butter using fingers moistened with a bit of buttermilk if necessary. Cover any cracks with a light sprinkling of flour and just continue on as you have been doing. Work quickly so that the butter doesn’t have time to soften up too much. The steam is what helps create the layers and warm butter won’t steam as well. When you have all the butter rolled in, you will end up with a thick fairly heavy piece of dough that looks more or less like this:
- Roll out a LITTLE bit. You’re not trying to flatten it out again just make it a touch bigger. Once you have this done, cut the dough into 16 pieces. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with jam or preserves or chocolate sauce if that makes you happy. But you won’t need butter on these I promise you.