I love making biscuits and the quest for a really light and flakey biscuit is like looking for the holy grail. It can be hard thing to achieve. But I recently spotted a biscuit recipe which was adapted from an old Betty Crocker recipe, so I knew there was some sort of history behind it.
The recipe seems pretty standard except for the addition of cream of tartar, which as an ingredient sits pretty much untouched in my cupboard. I was curious what this odd little addition could do to the biscuits. I pretty much stuck to the original ingredients, but I dropped out a teaspoon of sugar and added in some vinegar into my milk for a bit of tang. But when it came to the method of flattening out the dough, I remembered reading that folding and refolding the dough creates air pockets and fat pockets and that helps to create flakey biscuit layers. So I tried that approach – folded and refolded and refolded some more.
I’m not sure if it was the cream of tartar or the folding method, but these biscuits came out perfectly dreamy! See the flakey layers? The lightly golden and crispy outsides? The perfect tender crumb? Yup, these biscuits are pretty perfect and can be served with brunch alongside some poached eggs and jam and would also be a nice side to a soup or stew.
Once again – just a reminder that this blog is up for Best Canadian Blog at the 2011 Bloggies (a kinda super big deal) and I’d love your votes! Thank you!
the flakiest biscuit (aka biscuits supreme)
(adapted from the Ugly Green Chair)
2 c flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cream of tartar
1 t sugar
1/2 c cold butter, cut into pieces
2/3 c milk (I used almond milk + 1 t vinegar)
Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients. Add in the cold butter and use your fingers to wear it down so the mixture looks like oats. Pour in the milk and stir around with a fork until the dough comes together. I found the dough to be a bit dry which worked out fine.
Turn out the dough onto a large cutting board and knead it into a ball. Flatten it into a rectangle shape and then fold it over into a square (2 folds). Flatten down again and keep folding a few more times. Shape into a rectangle 1/2″ thick and cut out biscuits into squares. I made tiny biscuits but you can cut them into how many you’d like.
Bake on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper for 10 – 12 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. If you make smaller biscuits, check on them sooner – within 8 minutes of baking.
These look delicious! I will most definitely be trying them the next time I get a hankering for biscuits! Mmmmm…which may end up being tonight!
I think it was the folding… my mom used to make her piecrusts that way and they were always super fantastic. I wonder if i have any cream of tartar so I can try it…
These looks great…cream and tartar always sits un-used in my kitchen also…so I’m curious to give it a try 🙂 Thx!
I’d say it was a combination of the two–biscuits made with Bakewell Cream, which is more or less cream of tartar, rise very high and light. And folding does indeed make nice, flaky layers. Cutting with a sharp cutter (or, as it looks in your case, knife) also helps them to rise higher.
Thanks for testing out my recipe! 🙂 These look AMAZING! I think I’m going to skip the biscuit cutter and just make mine square next time.
O! They look absolutely gorgeous.
YESSSSSSS!!! You tried the best biscuits EVAR. I was just telling whitney how the three of us have very similar food senses. Wait til you see what I just made! xoxoxo
These look amazing and I just voted for you! 😀 I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
oh yes i see, i sure do.
and i want
i love me some mile high biscuits.
did you ever see the ones i did w/ a choco center? tres fab just like these.
Thanks Brandi, I think I see a biscuit hankering coming on!
Adrienne, good to know! I’ll try it next with pie crusts – great tip!
So true, Eva! I have no idea why I even have it in the first place. It’s a cute box though 🙂
Good to know, Brenda – I like the way you think.
Whitney, thanks so much for a great recipe (and thank Betty C too!)
Tracy, we should all be neighbours I think! Yes!!
Thanks so much Liz. I appreciate it 🙂
Of course, vanillasugar! Yum.
Biscuits are definitely always something that give me trouble. I’ve yet to find THE biscuit but I’m glad to see you’re carrying on the search for me. These look perfect!
I am a big fan of biscuits and these do look intriguing. I’ll be it would be really good with buttermilk too, instead of the almond milk + vinegar.
Done, voted 🙂 good luck, I hope you win! your blog is so down to earth, that’s one thing I like. my mil makes killer biscuits, learned growing up in Nebraska but my last try from a recipe on another site was a big flop, so for my husband will give your recipe a try!
These are dangerous for me. Why? Well, because I love buttery doughy, flakey things and my stop switch not longer works 🙂 I’d definitely eat these with cherry or blueberry jam and clotted cream or whip cream and turn them into a Vachon flakey pastry that I recall from my childhood. Good luck, I hope you win the Bloggies award!
I love biscuits. I especially love mile high biscuits like these.
This is probably a silly question, but I’m English so I don’t know anything about making biscuits – does t mean teaspoon or tablespoon please? They look very good and I’d like to try the recipe.
Joanne, I’m shocked that anything would give you trouble! Well, give these a try and use the folding method!
Rivki, if I had buttermilk I certainly would have used it. I just made due 🙂
Thanks so much gia! Hope you and your husband love these biscuits.
Bijoux, I made my husband eat up most of them and he ate them gladly! Boy, I like the way you think!
La Rosa, I’ve written out what all my shorthands means in my FAQ page – but yes, t means teaspoon.
Gasp! These look perfect. Good candidates for the best biscuits ever, I’d guess.
these biscuits look so tasty! i have to say, the only thing i use cream of tartar for are snickerdoodle cookies (my boyfriend’s favorite). they puff up in the oven, and then right before they’re done, the puff deflates a teeny bit to make a nice crinkly top. the cookie is still light & fluffy.
don’t know what’s in that cream of tartar, but i like it!
Elizabeth, I think so too 🙂
Thanks Emily. I had no idea that cream of tartar was in snickerdoodles. I’ve never made any!! Shame on me, I guess. Will have to try to bake some soon. Thanks for your insight!
They are soooo pretty!
I wish I had some in my kitchen right now so I could have one or six with my coffee……
I saw something on the folding method too and since it works for puff pastry, I can see how it helps here too! Cream of tartar is one of those ingredients that I don’t really know it’s purpose other than working perfectly in my 7 minute icing. I will definitely try this method and recipe out soon…I will have to make it gluten free so my husband can have them too. These look perfect!
Mmmm! I made these last night and they were so delicious! My husband and I had them with turkey noodle soup and it was like they were meant to be together. Yum yum yum!
I make pie crust using a sort-of folding method – I dump my butter-flour-water mix out onto a counter, squish it all flat with the palms of my hands, fold it onto itself to make a rectangle, repeat, repeat – and it makes for a wonderfully flaky crust.
Quick question, though – what *is* a biscuit?? Coming from the colonies, a biscuit is a cookie. Is it a scone of some sort?
Those are epic biscuits! And I love that they’re square.
Thanks RMW, pretty + tasty, a knock-out combo 🙂
Sarena, yeah, what the heck is cream of tartar??? I think I’ll have to investigate!
Danielle, so glad you made them and loved them – they sure are delicious and I’m sure they’d be just lovely with turkey soup. Yum.
Rach, biscuits in North America are closer to a scone, but not dense – more light and airy. I think it’s a Southern US thing! I never had biscuits growing up in Canada, but maybe because my dad was from Eastern Europe and my mom was french Canadian. Who knows, but they are tasty!
Thanks Kimberly, sometimes you gotta switch it up and I liked how easy they were to make: just cut and bake!
Very cool post! I have to try and make these biscuits myself.
Love the square biscuits! I bought a square biscuit cutter in Vancouver just because I liked it, which is silly because a knife does the same job.. but I still love it. And square biscuits!
Made these today, took 15 minutes TOTAL from getting out my bowls to digging in with some raspberry jam! They turned out deliciously. If you’re having a craving for something sweet, sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top before baking. It makes the tops nice and crunchy and sweet!
Thanks Sonya, they’re delicious!
Thanks so much Julie, I really appreciate your support. A square cutter must be needed sometime, right?? 🙂
Catriona, so glad you loved these! Love the idea of brown sugar & cinnamon topping!
I made these tonight and served them with honey. They were wonderful!
Yummy! I made them tonight too and served them hot with butter and Grandma’s apricot jam. Perfect snack while I introduced my daughter to an 80’s movie classic…Adventures in Babysitting!
Anne, so glad you enjoyed these – with honey I can imagine they’d be fantastic!
Mmmm, jeni sounds so good! Love that you introduced your daughter to the classics! I saw that in the theater. Too funny.
I made these biscuits the other day and I just had to share the recipe. They are officially my go-to biscuits. Delicious and I love the texture! Thank you so much for solving my biscuit problem.
iscribbler, hooray! Glad you loved these and solved your biscuit problems. They are fantastic, I agree 🙂
Yumm those look so perfectly flakey!! I love how your biscuits are all different sizes.
Loved these! This was my first attempt at homemade biscuits and I won’t even bother trying another recipe. So easy to make (less than 10 minutes) and the result is perfectly delicious and flaky. I made them square like you because I don’t have a biscuit cutter, and I also like how there’s no wasted dough.
With the first batch I made biscuits and gravy and then used the leftover dough the next night for the topping of a pot pie.
This is my first time to this site . . so far it appears interesting and I am about to try your ‘flakiest biscuit’ recipe! A Question. Do you have a printer friendly version of your recipes?
Hi Ann, unfortunately my print function is very limited at the moment. You can click the print icon in the footer of the post (near the share button) and then choose to only print the last page which contains the recipe). A print recipe feature is planned for a future redesign. Thanks for asking!
I tried this recipe last night. Very good. I’ll be making them like this from now on!
Just tried this and surprised my mom and dad, AMAZING! Can’t wait to try your other recipes
I just made these and they are just as promised: flaky and well-risen. The tip about the vinegar was brilliant. I’m sure that was part of the success, along with the cream of tartar and the multiple foldings. Thank you!
I just made your biscuits but i used buttermilk instead. These make you break out the honey and all the jam you got…Thanks.
I LOVE this recipe! I never thought of just cutting the dough into squares — brilliant! Always despised reworking the “extra” dough from each cutting because it gets tough. You eliminated all that. Bravo! I read somewhere that biscuits rise best if they touch each other, so I tried this: I patted the final dough into an 8″x8″ glass baking dish, cut it into 9 pieces and baked. Also, I did another variation that was yummy. Just before you being your fisrt fold, sprinkle 1/2 of the large rectangle with cinnamon & sugar then fold in half, sprinkle 1/2 again, then fold. Press out to a large rectangle again and do the same, sprinkling cinnamon/sugar as before. Press into an 8″x8″ pan, cut into desired number of pieces and bake. I REALLY love this recipe!