The first time I made biscuits I was in my teens — or maybe younger — and used the same mix we made pancakes from. After spying the recipe on the box, I couldn’t help but try making them — even if it felt a little illicit to be using our pancake mix in a different way. I measured and mixed, feeling like I was doing something incredible. They were dropped from spoons in lumps on baking sheets and baked. Then, the next time I made them — feeling a little adventurous — I mixed in some cheddar. There was such joy when my family oohed and aahed over the rough-shaped lumps of biscuit.
Little did I know that biscuits are among the fastest and simplest baked good you can whip up. Also, it’s easy to make them a little more shapely.
Making biscuits is one of my very favorite things to do in the kitchen. I love the way a few very simple ingredients come together to create flaky, fluffy little bundles of bread-y goodness. There’s something about the feeling of dough in the hands that is both calming and enlivening. I typically use a set of fluted biscuit cutters when making biscuits, but you can use clean cans, jars or even cookie cutters to cut your biscuits.
If you’ve never made biscuits from scratch, I cannot tell you enough how easy it is — and how worthwhile. My favorite recipe for biscuits is a simple Baking Powder Biscuit recipe that I adapted from a 1926 cookbook. They take minutes are are perfectly flaky on the outside and soft on the inside.
I adapted that recipe for these little raisin biscuits.
When I was challenged to create an appetizer using raisins for the Amazing Apps Culinary Challenge that’s part of Eat Write Retreat, I immediately started thinking of breads — focaccia, French, rolls … but I kept coming back to biscuits. Even as I made plans for a chicken dish, I kept thinking about little biscuits dotted with raisins.
And finally, I just made it happen.
These Itty Bitty Raisin Biscuits are a fabulous cracker alternative for cheese plates — with a touch of sweetness and a lot of fluffy goodness, they are a nice constrast to sharp cheeses like asiago or cheddar.
Also, I am speaking at Eat Write Retreat in about a week and a half. Let me know if I will see you there!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp low-fat milk
- 1 tsp salted butter
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder until well combined (about 30 seconds). Cut the pieces of cold unsalted butter into the flour mixture until they are tiny and dispersed throughout. Add the milk and stir well until the dough forms a rough ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (I use a big wooden cutting board). Then knead lightly with floured hands until the dough is a smoother ball. Pat down into a circle. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out until it's 1/2-inch thick. Use a 1-inch biscuit cutter to cut circles from the dough. Knead scraps and re-roll the dough as needed until you've used as much as you can.
- Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet. They shouldn’t touch, but they don’t have to be far apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the biscuits rise and have a dry appearance on top.
- Meanwhile, melt the salted butter on the stove over medium heat. Continue heating and lightly swirling the pan until the butter turns a rich golden brown color. Remove from the stove.
- Once the biscuits are out of the oven, brush the tops with the browned butter and then return to the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes. This will give the tops that lovely golden brown. Be sure to watch very carefully, as they can color very quickly.
- Serve immediately with cheeses on a cheese plate.
Adapted from Watkins Cook Book, 1926.
Disclosure: I was provided with goodies from California Raisins and OXO that I used while making these biscuits. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.