Three months and three days ago I blew up my life: sold most of my belongings, packed up the rest and dragged my cat with me to San Francisco to be closer to family. There’s nothing like a 2,000 mile move to make you appreciate the value of simplicity. And simple I must be. After living very comfortably in Chicago for eleven years, San Francisco has proven itself to be quite a beast, despite the layered landscape and wistful weather.
I love it here. I do. But I ache to bake. I haven’t so much as turned on an oven in the last 90 days and I’ve forgotten how much joy and serenity baking brings me. But I’m not yet settled (you do not choose housing here, it chooses you) so I have to keep my baking simple.
So, today, on a chilly (61℉) July day, I’m baking for the first time since I’ve moved west of the Rockies. This is the simplest, easiest recipe you can make from scratch that doesn’t involve a mix from a box: butterless biscuits.
Typically, you make biscuits with cubed butter that you cut into the flour and milk and make a big mess. BUT: rather than butter and milk , this recipe uses heavy cream which cuts down prep time significantly and there’s very little mess to clean up.
To take simple a step further, this recipe doesn’t require any special equipment (though I did employ my Drop scale for the very first time and, I must say, it’s pretty fancy and ridiculously easy/fun/amazing to use — it definitely helps keep baking simple), just bowls, measuring spoons, a biscuit cutter, and a wooden spoon.
OK, easy peasy, lemon squeezy:
- 10 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TB baking powder
- 10 oz heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Grease a cake pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Make a well in the flour mixture.
- Pour all of the heavy cream into the flour well at once.
- Stir very quickly until everything is just moist — do not over mix!
- Gather it all into a ball.
- On a smooth surface (doesn’t have to be floured), flatten the dough with the palm of your hand so that it’s a sheet of dough.
- Fold the sheet in half and flatten again until it’s about ¾” thick.
- With a biscuit cutter, cut dough into rounds (the number depends on how big your biscuit cutter is).
- With the scraps, gently squish them together and flatten again to cut more rounds (the less you handle them, the flakier and light they will be).
- Place them in buttered cake pan.
- Brush melted butter on tops (of course then they won’t be butterless, but who cares?)
- Bake for about 16 minutes and the tops are golden brown.
They’re easy. They’re perfect. And they’re glorious vessels for honey. Make them. They’re impossible to mess up.