Rosemary Parmesan Biscuits with Whipped Maple Butter


I didn't grow up with a "granmom." You know, the southern grandmother who doesn't actually use measuring utensils while baking and just throws in a handful of this and a handful of that and it's always the most amazing thing you've ever tasted? One of my best friends has a granmom. We called granmom frequently during our college years to get recipes for things like frozen peaches, chicken and dumplings, dressing...the list goes on. Rarely did we call her and come away  with a recipe that involved any real measurements. And when we asked granmom to guesstimate exactly what a "small handful" of flour was, she would respond with, "well hell, I don't know!" I think that's called making it as a southern cook. 

Now don't get me wrong, I have wonderful grandmothers, both of whom are excellent bakers, but I'm pretty sure you need a a granmom who says something is "cattywompus" instead of calling it "crooked" in order to inherit the perfect buttermilk biscuit recipe. I've tried quite a few different recipes, and they've all turned out pretty well, but not that perfect flaky goodness that I want so desperately to master!

For Easter this year, I was determined to find THE recipe to end my search. I finally found this one on Smitten Kitchen, where I also learned that I'm not the only northerner to have faced the biscuit struggle. This biscuit recipe is a keeper for sure! I added Parmesan and fresh rosemary to dress them up for Easter, but you can omit those two ingredients if you'd rather enjoy a simple biscuit. 

Rosemary Parmesan Biscuits
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (makes 12 biscuits)

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp to 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (use less for more savory biscuits, more for sweeter biscuits)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 c + 2-3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
9 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 c buttermilk

To make the biscuits: Heat the oven to 400 degress F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese in large bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk. Stir gently until large clumps form. Then use your hands to knead the mixture several times until the dough just holds together.

To form the biscuits: Transfer the dough to a floured surface and pat out until 1/2 to 3/4 in thick. Using a round biscuit cutter (a mason jar top works well if you don’t have a biscuit cutter), press straight down and transfer rounds to the baking sheet, spacing biscuits 2 in apart. Sprinkle tops of biscuits with remaining tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.

To make the maple butter: Mix 4 tbsp of unsalted butter with 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want the butter). Blend on high speed in a standing mixer or with a hand held mixer.