I know I'm home in Santa Barbara when I wake up to the sounds of my parents' glorious coffee maker, the dog nuzzling my blanket to curl up next to me, the sunrise is a million pastel colors and my Dad is making something fabulous, like buttermilk biscuits.  At this very moment, he's just brought me a chai tea in bed -- it's a miracle I ever left their cocoon of love and delicious foods.  We've been having a nice holiday, watching double features in the evenings, walking Vito, then planning the next meal together.  My Mom has been wrapping gifts with wild flourish, this year's theme is characters from the news paper with sassy thought bubbles, and getting serious with the slow cooker.  It is so rad!

Dad's Buttermilk Biscuits
(adapted from Gourmet)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. 

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda onto a sheet of wax paper, then sift again into a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms (dough will be moist). 

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface with floured hands, reflouring surface if necessary, into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle. Trim all 4 sides with a knife, dusting knife edge with flour before each cut. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares, flouring knife between cuts. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.


  1. Knead them less. Anytime you think you need to knead more...You need to knead less. This is not needless advice....Or maybe it is. No biscuit ever came into this world light from the delivery of a heavy hand. As the biscuit said to the shrink "He kneads me too much!"

  2. they were almost perfect, a little less kneading next time, indeed.