Every holiday I make the Odyssean trek to Connecticut to spend time in a warm home surrounded by a vast forest. The drive from New Haven is a long one, and the road ahead is wrapped in a ticker-tape of trees that were once deciduous but are now covered in bone-white snow. This year my friend’s husband collected me from the train station, and as we passed the time in catch-up conversation, I slid further down in my seat. Taking comfort in watching my oldest and dearest friend’s husband drive.
I should tell you that I don’t like cars — they feel like metal coffins, and I’m always skittish when on the road. There’s not only you with your hands on the wheel and the road in front of you, but there’s all sorts of people, strangers really, to consider. So while my friend’s husband expertly navigated our way home, I found myself closing my eyes. Trying to forget the cars around me.
During the ride I did what I’m wont to do, which is ask after the food. We spoke of grilled fillets and chipotle sweet potatoes, and when he mentioned the biscuits, THE BISCUITS, I went weak in the knees. It should be noted that my friend Elizabeth makes the BEST. BISCUITS. EVER.
I mean, the BEST.
And after I managed to consume four in one sitting, I begged my friend for the recipe and she was kind enough to slip it into a package she sent a week later. So it’s with love and light that I honor Elizabeth and her kind husband by re-creating my true love. THE BISCUIT.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Food + Wine.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves
1 cup shredded Gruyère
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter—10 tablespoons cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled, 2 tablespoons melted
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a large shallow bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt. Add the chilled butter and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas. Add the chopped thyme and sage, and the Gruyère. Stir in the buttermilk just until the dough is moistened. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick disk.
Using a floured 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out biscuit rounds as closely together as possible. Gather the scraps and knead them together 2 or 3 times, then flatten the dough and stamp out more biscuit rounds. Pat the remaining scraps together and gently press them into a biscuit.
Transfer the biscuits to a large baking sheet and brush the tops with the melted butter. Lightly sprinkle the biscuits with a few grains of flaky salt and chill until firm, about 10 minutes.
Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, or until golden. Let the biscuits cool slightly on the baking sheet before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The unbaked biscuits can be frozen: Freeze biscuits in a single layer and transfer to a resealable plastic bag for up to one month. Bake straight from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the cooking time.