Image courtesy Chronicle Books
Erika Council
Updated: February 14, 2018
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Food writer, recipe developer, and cookbook author Julia Turshen is a hero to countless home cooks for her achievable, affordable, and endlessly excellent recipes. Fed up with the current political climate, Turshen marshaled her resources and with the help of a diverse range of chefs, published the cookbook/manual Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved, with the pledge to donate proceeds to the ACLU. Atlanta-based chef and blogger Erika Council is the granddaughter of the legendary restaurateur Mildred Council—known to many as Mama Dip—and she contributed her favorite biscuit recipe in the hopes of lending strength to the movement.

Persistence Biscuits

Reprinted from Feed the Resistance by Julia Turshen with permission by Chronicle Books, 2017

Makes: 1 dozen biscuits

Hot buttered soul food and a basket full of biscuits bring people to my Sunday Supper dinners in Atlanta. Seated around the table, they find common ground and fried chicken, fostering relationships that help us work better together as a community. As the menu changes with each dinner, these biscuits remain by request, along with a few extra you can take home with you. These are little rounds of baked dough that are made with the same biscuit recipe I watched my grandmother make on Sundays and serve to the kids she felt might not have money for breakfast. Now the biscuits help fund programs that teach computer science to kids in under-represented communities in Atlanta.

Let the flaky layers of these biscuits warm your soul and grace your table. Invite some folks over to break bread with and make an impact in the lives of those around you. If you’re feeding a crowd, bake smaller biscuits or make several batches of this recipe. — Erika Council

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and thinly sliced, plus 2 melted tablespoons
1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
1 teaspoon cane syrup

Directions

1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 450°F.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Work the shortening into the flour mix by breaking the shortening into chunks with your fingertips until only pea-size pieces remain. Work in the butter slices the same way until all of the butter is incorporated. Freeze the mixture for 15 minutes.

3. Add the buttermilk to the chilled flour mixture, stirring with a fork until the dough forms into a ball and no dry bits of flour are visible (the dough will be soft, shaggy, and sticky). Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and dust lightly with more flour.

4. With floured hands, pat the dough into a rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds, dusting lightly with flour as needed (don’t be shy, it might need quite a bit as you shape it since the dough is so soft). Pat into a rectangle again. Lift the short end of the folded dough and fold into thirds again, forming a rectangle. Repeat this process, folding and patting the dough into rectangles that are ½-inch thick, 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds of folding. Cut the dough into 12 rounds using a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Be sure to firmly press the cutter straight down into the dough. Do not twist the cutter, as twisting will seal off the biscuit edges, preventing the biscuits from rising.

5. Evenly space the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. (A NOTE FROM Julia Turshen: Bake the scraps too and enjoy them as a snack!) Place the 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a small bowl with the cane syrup and whisk together. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the mixture.

6. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

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