Lighter, easier buttermilk drop biscuits

If you like biscuits, I have a little discovery to share with you.  This is an incredibly easy recipe for buttermilk drop biscuits.  They can be whipped up in about 20 minutes - no need to cut butter, roll out dough, or haul out any machinery.  As an added bonus, they are also lighter - a little bit better for you -than the average biscuits!
In the words of my 7-year old: "these biscuits are so good!"
This recipe really caught my attention though I was a tad skeptical at first because it sounded maybe a little too good to be true.  Lighter, easy and quick-to-make buttermilk biscuits...and they taste good?  Luckily, it really turned out to be all those things!

I found this recipe in the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine.  I automatically thought about giving them a try for one of our leisurely weekend breakfasts.  We love our pancakes and dutch babies on any given Sunday but I'm always on the lookout for something new to cook up for my family.  These biscuits were a snap to get on the table.  I was able to make them fresh and serve them warm, alongside some scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for an early Sunday breakfast this past weekend.
The easy part of this recipe  was what really lured me in.  The process literally requires simply stirring everything together and dropping the batter onto the baking sheet with a spoon.  There is no butter to cut or roll pin to contend with!  The secret is to stir melted butter into cold buttermilk.   You know how warm, just melted butter will get rather unattractive and clumpy when it hits cold liquid?  That's precisely what you want to happen here.  Those clumps of butter will help create a fluffy, moist buttermilk biscuit!  It's kind of like pancake batter.

And these biscuits are lighter, and a little better for you, by having less butter (just 4 tablespoons for a dozen biscuits) and just a bit of canola oil in them.  And rather than purely all-purpose flour, these have some white whole-wheat flour in them, and you could even use fat-free buttermilk (I used the typical low-fat kind).

These biscuits are fluffy and tender.  I love the bit of whole wheat nuttiness you get from white whole-wheat flour.  I'm not necessarily always looking to cut fat or "go light" if it means sacrificing flavor but I don't usually want a super heavy biscuit that leaves my fingers completely greasy and feels like a meal unto itself.  Plus, I think a lighter biscuit makes a lot of sense given all the stuff we're likely to put on or have with them - whether it be butter, honey, jam, or bacon and eggs as in my case here.

These biscuits are good all by themselves and doesn't even need all those accompaniments.  The little guy's reaction was "mmm..." at first bite and my husband and I were impressed by how good they tasted!  This is a great way to use up buttermilk and I plan to make this recipe a part of my regular repertoire.  In fact, it has not only shown up at breakfast but also been a part of dinner this week!  I'm really glad I clipped the recipe out of the magazine and gave it a try.  It's turned out to be a great little discovery (I'm not often this enthusiastic about a non-chocolate recipe)!


I'm eager to show you how fast and easy it is to get these buttermilk biscuits into the oven and onto your plate!

First, just mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  This recipe uses a blend of all-purpose flour and a bit of white whole-wheat flour, which I'm a fan of.  It has all the goodness of standard whole wheat flour but a milder taste (you still get that bit of nuttiness I really enjoy).  I also use whole wheat pastry flour in cases that call for whole wheat or where I want to substitute some of the white flour in a recipe (I think it works especially well in recipes containing ingredients like nuts, oats, bananas...).

If it looks like a small volume in the pictures, that's because I divided the recipe in half for our breakfast for 3. Making the half batch worked very well. I even froze a couple of biscuits, and will report back on how they bake up at another time.  (*Update: These biscuits froze well and baked up very nicely.  Simply take the frozen biscuits straight out of the freezer and bake according to instructions, adding a few extra minutes to the bake time.  They are done once they turn golden brown.)
Those clumps of butter are exactly what you want!
Now secondly, all you need to do is combine the wet ingredients.  I place cold buttermilk into a measuring cup, add the microwave-melted butter, stir it together and add the small amount of canola oil.  Once the warm, melted butter hits the cold buttermilk, you'll see the butter congeal.  That is exactly what you want!
All that remains to be done is to combine the wet ingredients into the dry.  Stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. 

The recipe noted that the batter will be very wet, which made me worry a little, but it came together very nicely and was very easy to work with.  You'll see bits of the butter dispersed within the mounds, which will help the biscuits bake up fluffy and tasty.

Take a spoon and drop about 2-tablespoons of batter per biscuit onto a lined baking sheet.  No need to be neat - just drop them free-form; the rough edges will brown and be the best part.  You could make them slightly larger than the recipe suggests, depending on what purpose you have in mind for them.  I ended up making 5 biscuits (instead of 6) for the half recipe.   
Into a 450 degree oven, the biscuits are done in about 10-11 minutes, once they turn golden.  I particularly love the crispy browned bits, edges, and bottom.
Let the biscuit cool for a minute or two and then get them on the table while they're still warm.  Enjoy them all by themselves or sliced open with whatever stuffing you want! 
I love our leisurely family breakfasts and any meal where we can relax and spend time together over some good grub!


Recipe:

Lighter, Easier Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Adapted from the May 2013 issue of Cooking Light

- For 12 biscuits (though you could make fewer, slightly larger ones, if you like) -

5.6 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3.6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups very cold fat-free (I used low-fat) buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.

Whisk the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl to combine. 

Place buttermilk in a 2-cup measuring cup or large bowl.  Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on "high" for about a minute, or until completely melted.  And the melted butter to the cold buttermilk, stirring to combine.  You will see clumps of butter form in the liquid; that's what you want.  Add oil and stir to combine.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients.  Use a rubber spatula and stir together until just combined.  Do not overmix.

Divide batter and drop into 12 mounds with a spoon, about 2-tablespoons each (or make fewer, slightly larger biscuits).  Bake until golden, about 11 minutes.  Remove from the oven, let cool for a couple minutes and serve biscuits warm.

To freeze biscuits:  Drop biscuit mounds you'd like to freeze onto a baking sheet or plate lined with wax or parchment paper.  Place in the freezer for several hours until biscuits are frozen.  Then remove the biscuits, wrapping each in plastic wrap and foil, then placing them in a freezer bag.  To bake, place the frozen biscuits into a 450 degree oven, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.  They are done when they turn golden.





26 comments:

  1. I actually haven't made biscuits yet, but it's on my to-do list. Thanks for this recipe - sounds like a winner, especially if it's lighter despite tasting like its full-fat cousin!

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    1. Eva - these are so easy. They're light but in a good way, where you can still taste each ingredient. I made a batch to serve with dinner last night and it was a big hit. My little one loves it and that makes it a big winner in my book! : )

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  2. OK, I adore biscuits so ridiculously much. Too much actually. Which is why a "lighter" recipe is absolutely what I need! Will definitely be trying these, thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm thinking about these biscuits with some of your amazing looking brisket! Oh boy - that would be good!

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  3. I have actually never made biscuits before. On my to-do list, thanks for this!

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    1. Hi Cathleen - I've only made cheese biscuits twice in the past and it was the old-school way with food processor, rolling pin, cutting, etc. When I saw this one didn't require equipment, rolling, and such, I had to try it!

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  4. Thanks heavens - an easy biscuit recipe! These look divine and bonus points for being so easy. I haven't made biscuits since living at home with my mom several years ago and now I'm craving them!

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    1. Yes, easy is so key for everyone. I don't mind a challenge once in a while but for everyday, it's got to be fast, easy, healthy, and tasty!

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  5. As soon as i saw these, i knew - i just KNEW - these were the Cooking Light ones from this month. I HAVE THE ISSUE! I made the raspberry chipotle chicken out of it for dinner the other night and it was lovely, and these biscuits are totally on my radar; so many good things this month, right? And they look gorgeous, just like CL's photo. nice job! Needless to say, they've moved up on my "to make" list thanks to you. :)

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    1. lol...glad you recognized them! : ) I am definitely a fan of Cooking Light magazine, though every issue (the cover) looks the same to me!

      I am no gourmet cook like you, Shannon, and I don't generally use recipes for cooking dinner, preferring simple, tried and true dishes. Lately, I've ventured out a little and it's been a lot of fun but I still prefer simple, short-ingredient list meals. I had to share these - they're so quick and taste really good...light but in a good way. I was so glad the recipe was exactly as they promised!

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  6. America's Test Kitchen has the same recipe! That's funny! And I already did the groundwork to let you know that it doesn't work with buttermilk powder. :) They still were tasty, but were super flat.

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    1. Why am I not surprised! ATK has probably tried and tested everything...and nothing's really new but I sure love it when I discover something tasty that is easy for me to do. Very interesting about the buttermilk powder - because I don't even know where to get that! I have so much to learn!

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  7. yum!!!! This looks fantastic. Love that you don't need to beat butter!
    Hoping we can follow each other!
    (: xx
    gemma @http://andgeesaid.blogspot.com.au/

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  8. My husband's favorite breakfast treat. Must make soon! Looks delish :)

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    1. Hi Kiran, I hope you try it and your husband enjoys it.

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  9. I saw someone else post about these recently and was amazed that they came from Cooking Light! Definitely need to give them a try!

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    1. I'm definitely glad I took action on this recipe. I keep looking at the leftover buttermilk in the fridge and thinking I need to use it up and make another batch... : )

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  10. Easy and delicious. This is exactly what I need! Ryan loves biscuits, but they are sometimes too time-consuming for me to make in the morning. I love how simple this recipe is. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. We are need easy and delicious, that's for sure!

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  11. These sound awesome! You know what's so funny, I would never think to make biscuits for breakfast, but this little meal here looks so tasty :)

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    1. Amy, I totally understand...I associate biscuits with dinner or like holiday meals but I was thinking about those breakfast sandwiches we can pick up at drive-throughs. : ) I made them again for dinner another night and honestly, they are just good by themselves!

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  12. I have some leftover buttermilk in my fridge and was trying to decide what to make with it! I think you have made my decision for me! Easy and delicious sounds perfect for a Monday night. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Isn't it always either we need to buy buttermilk or we have extra in the fridge that we need to use up?! That's why I'm so happy I discovered this recipe. This, along with buttermilk pancakes, and I've got it covered!

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  13. I can imagine how great these scones are, especially on weekend breakfast! these can be savory or sweet... I love buttermilk in scones!

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    1. Thanks, Nami. I love buttermilk in baked goods all-round!

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