September always seems to be a month of transition. Kids head back to school. Football teams gear up as fans hope for a winning season (particularly weary Dallas Cowboy fans). The weather begins signaling a change in season, and everyone in Texas breathes a sigh of relief that most of the high temperatures should be in our rear-view mirror. I’m not sure who was given the authority to deem September as National Biscuit Month, but it seems like a fitting time for a celebration as we move into fall. For your celebratory pleasure, we are recapping our favorite biscuits and the artisans who make them.
Callie White was a renowned Charleston caterer perhaps best known for her buttery country ham biscuits. Her daughter, Carrie Morey, took over the helm of the family business when Callie was ready to retire and redirected it to a nationally-recognized artisan biscuit bakery. Their cocktail-sized varieties include buttermilk, black pepper bacon, cheese and chive, country ham, cocktail ham, shortcake and cinnamon. The cheese and chive biscuits we tried were nothing short of awesome. You may find a retailer near you, or you can order directly from the company’s website. Anyone want to join the Biscuit of the Month Club and celebrate buttery biscuit perfection all year?
In 2014, Carrie launched a new downtown Charleston bakery, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. In addition to their regular biscuit flavors, the bakery offers a “biscuit of the day”, often featuring foods from local restaurants and artisans. It would be a required stop for us in Charleston!
Chef Michael Gagné created “the love child born of a biscuit and a croissant” by laminating layers of cream cheese biscuit dough in same method used for making croissants. When the biscuits became a patron favorite at his Maine restaurant, Robinhood Meetinghouse, his young daughters began selling the biscuits out of the back porch of the restaurant. As the Gagné girls grew, so did Chef Michael’s biscuit business. Today, they offer the original cream cheese biscuits, along with sweet potato, triple ginger, blueberry, herb parmesan, and cheddar chive biscuits. The biscuits are widely available at retailers or through the company’s website.
The original layered cream cheese biscuits just made our breakfast, and they would be equally delicious as the foundation for strawberry shortcake. One of Chef Michael’s daughters, who blogs as “The Biscuit Girl”, was married earlier this year and had a biscuit bar at her reception. The featured selections would be fantastic at any gathering:
- Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham and Peach Chutney
- Cream Cheese Biscuits with Carmelized Onions and Goat Cheese
- Herb Parmesan Biscuits with Filet of Beef and Horseradish Sauce
- Blueberry Biscuits, Triple Ginger Biscuits, and Cheddar Chive Biscuits served with local honeys and jams
YUM to all the above!
Want a fool-proof recipe for your own kitchen? Try these easy Duke Dining Hall Biscuits made with King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. It is as good a basic biscuit recipe as I have ever tried.
Duke Dining Hall Biscuits
Servings – About 5
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 4 teaspoons baking power
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450°.
Mix dry ingredients, and cut in shortening. (A food processor works great, but you can use a pastry blender, or 2 table knives.) Add the milk all at once, and stir only slightly. Place dough on slightly floured surface and knead very gently for only a few seconds. Roll into 1/2″ thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter or small glass, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. (Note: press the cutter straight down; do not twist it back and forth.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Makes 8 – 12 biscuits, depending on size of the cutter.