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They wake me up

Lately we’ve had a lot of friends passing through, lots of changes of sheets on the guest bed. Sam has been around a bit. Ben, our friend who moved here a couple of years ago but was quickly wooed away by work, is doing a short-term gig nearby and comes around on his days off. And Ryan, who also lived here briefly and was wooed away, is flying in tonight for a visit. The bourbon in the bottle is two fingers lower than it was last week, and the apartment feels nice, lived-in. Most days, days when we don’t have house guests, I spend long stretches of time alone, working. I like the quiet. I don’t need a lot of company. But then someone comes into town, or maybe only across town, with a pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and the first season of Mad Men, and we squeeze on the couch with the dog who growls because we’ve stolen his spot, and we all know to ignore him because we’ve heard it before, we’ve done this before, many times, and then I realize how much I’ve missed my friends. They wake me up from wherever I’ve been.

This was the scene on Sunday morning, and that’s Ben’s leg there, and the edge of his napkin, after what I believe can only be called a biscuit feed. Ben’s wife Bonnie is out of frame, and Brandon, I believe, had retired to the couch by this point. You will note that there are no biscuits in sight, and that is because we ate them. But you know what biscuits look like. You don’t need a picture.

I don’t think there’s anything I like cooking quite as much as breakfast for house guests. Because if they’re sleeping in our house, we’re obviously fond of them, and who better to cook for than the people you’re fond of? Especially at the start of the day, when everyone is still a little soft, before any crap gets in the way. You can hear them coming up the stairs from the guest room-slash-dungeon in the basement, trying to be quiet, and then the shower turns on, and while it runs, you can sneak out of bed and into the kitchen and grind the coffee, boil the water, get started. You might even remember that you bought some very foxy tangelos, real supermodels, stems and leaves still attached, and decide to put them in a bowl on the table. Tangelos go with biscuits. Biscuits go with raspberry jam and a giant vat of honey.

The biscuits on the table on Sunday were Marion Cunningham’s, of course, because that’s how I’m doing things this year. This woman is teaching me so much! Like that cream biscuits are virtually impossible to mess up. Impossible! Even if you, like me, become convinced that you messed up the recipe and want to throw away the dough without even baking it and your husband and house guests have to talk you down by promising to eat said biscuits, no matter how bad they are. Which they aren’t. They’re outstanding.

Cunningham says that these biscuits belong in your permanent recipe file, and she is right about that. I’ve tried a lot of biscuit recipes, and this is my new go-to, easy. It is not for those seeking a light breakfast - the amount of cream and butter is, shall we say, festive - but it feels light going down, if that makes any difference. And it’s an epic biscuit: perfectly salted, tender-crumbed, so flaky that you can pull it apart in fine, lacy sheets.

I can say all of this, and I’m actually pretty sure I didn’t even make them quite right. I don’t think I used enough cream - the amount called for is a range - and so my dough felt tough and heavy, and by the time I started to worry, I had already worked it too much to go back and add more cream. The biscuits looked puny going into the oven. Very sad, flat, unpromising pucks. But then! In the heat of the oven, they puffed to about three times their original height, and maybe even four. Yeow. What I’m trying to say is, you can’t screw this up. No one can screw this up. And first thing in the morning, that - that, and the company of a few favorite faces - might be the most a person can hope for.

Cream Biscuits
Adapted from The Breakfast Book, by Marion Cunningham

These are terrific with jam or, of course, honey.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 to 1 ½ cups heavy cream
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you don’t have parchment, leave it as it is, ungreased. The parchment is just for easy cleanup.)

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a mixing bowl, and stir with a fork to blend. Slowly add 1 cup of the cream, stirring. Gather the dough together gently: when it holds together and feels tender, it’s ready to knead. If it feels shaggy and pieces are dry, slowly add enough cream to make the dough hold together.

Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute. (You don’t want to overwork it.) Pat the dough into a square about ½ inch thick. Cut into 12 squares. Brush each with melted butter so that all sides are coated. Place the biscuits 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Yield: 12 biscuits


OpenID lacaffettierarosa said...

You made me remind how much I am missing my friends, right now. I guess one of the few bonuses of having friends living far away from you is that when they visit, you get to host them, and cook for them a lot of meals, and it is such a joy.

2:05 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Nicole said...

We live far away from all our "tried and true" friends, being overseas. When we've had visitors, breakfast has been the best part. It's nice to get to feed people a meal you wouldn't normally feed them. And then there's coffee talk. I've never baked biscuits before, but anything with cream for breakfast is too good to pass up.

3:04 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Maria said...

Awesome. Perfect. I love cooking breakfast for those I love, too. You've described the social introvert to a tee.

3:13 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Jennifer Jo said...

I've been making cream scones (and for friends, too---what is it with cream scones and friends?), but with more than double the butter and less cream. Super light and luscious.

And the scones I made a couple days ago? Date and bacon! Before you pop them in the oven, you get to brush the tops with bacon grease and sprinkle with demerara---wheee!

3:18 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Beautiful post. It makes me miss my friends. Maybe it's time for guests...and some biscuits!

3:21 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Emily said...

This echoes my feelings one of my most favorite things in the whole world - sleepy friend breakfasts! And, as always, you've written about it so beautifully! But it's true, what is there to not love about sleepy friend breakfasts? Good company AND good carbs (usually in pajama pants! be still, my beating heart)? Completely heaven sent. These biscuits also sound divine and I will have to try them out toot sweet.

3:24 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous lauren @ spiced plate said...

I love the feel of deep bliss that fills me whenever I have house guests and we've just finished breakfast or brunch. My husband and I sometimes host a pancake breakfast, open invite to neighbors and friends. After all the pancakes have been eaten, there's this calm happiness that just fills those empty plates back up.

This biscuit recipe sounds amazing. I wonder if I can adapt it to be gluten free...maybe some experimenting will ensue on this cold friday morning.

3:43 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Kathy said...

The reason cream biscuits work (as I'm sure you know by now) is that the fat and the liquid are all rolled into one glorious container of heavy cream.

It whips, it makes great pan sauces and ice cream, it gilds coffee's lily... god, I love cream.

3:48 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Foodiva said...

I'd like to try making these biscuits that you can't screw up - especially in company you're trying to impress early in the morning. I would've loved to see how they looked liked in your bread basket, though.

3:59 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Belinda @zomppa said...

I love breakfasts with house guest - either being one or having one - something so nice about that bonding moment when everyone's still in their jammies....

4:47 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Brandon said...

I purchased Marion Cunningham's book after reading about your glowing reviews. It has now jumped to one of my favorite cookbooks. And we've only made the pancakes so far!!

I must also second that cooking breakfast for house guests is the best. Nothing beats a slow early morning with friends and a pot of coffee.

Great post!

5:11 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Jess said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing, Molly. I know just what you mean about visiting friends.

5:14 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Nancy said...

So true - a foolproof baking recipe in the morning is a very valuable thing. The recipe looks great, and I might add some whole spelt flour 'cause I like a touch of whole grain nuttiness in my biscuits.

5:21 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Sasha (Global Table Adventure) said...

Supermodel tangelos, unphotographed biscuits, a knee, a napkin. Love it all.

5:21 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Liza said...

A no-fail biscuit recipe? How did you know? I'm making these this weekend!

5:26 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Nan said...

Beautifully written! And biscuits always make me think of my grandmother. A perfect way to start my morning. Thanks!

5:30 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Heather K said...

Thank you for this - my grandmother made her biscuits this way, and they are just about the most delectable bites on the planet. What a good way to start the morning.

6:05 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Elena said...

What a cute post!! I love your last sentence as it is SO true!!
You know, we judge by taste and not by looks anyways, right!? And reading your post they must have been a blast :) Thanks for sharing, Elena

6:14 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Okay, it's official.

You have finally put M.F.K. Fisher and Laurie Colwin to shame.

Just beautiful writing. And it didn't hurt that I'm reading it on a day when the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. Yes, it's still 2 degrees, but with a little sun and a fire going, it doesn't seem to matter.

So with something lovely to read, a damn good cup of coffee, and a little sunshine, I'm convinced that at least for this minute all's right with my world.

I wish the same to everyone who visits this blog, and, of course, to you, Molly.

6:14 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Pei-Lin said...

It's been ages since I last made and had (homemade) biscuits! My American mom often whips up a big batch of biscuits, drop biscuits to be exact, for breakfast. As a Malaysian in the States, back then when I was a college student there, I'd learned a whole lot, and I believe, besides chewy cookies, eating biscuits is totally an American experience! Funny though, the people here who were under and are still influenced by the Brits think that the American biscuit is basically the British scone. LOL! I always wind up having a good debate over these with my friends here.

6:28 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger sillygirl said...

There should be a Life Learning Course taught that include these biscuits - with these you can face anything. By the way I miss your writing in Bon Appetit - what happened?

6:31 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Jackson said...

Yum! I made those muffins, and those were great, and I can't see any reason not to try these (how could anything be bad with that much cream and butter in it). Thanks.

7:12 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

These biscuits lookkkssss so good. I will definitly give this a try because I'm definitly a breakfast girl (even if it's all for me:)

7:21 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger amelia said...

I keep swearing to myself that the next time I'm home in Georgia, I'll bring back a couple bags of White Lily flour to properly make biscuits, but I'll give these a shot so perhaps I won't have to run the risk of a flour explosion in my suitcase.
I also love these :
from Joy the Baker. I've actually made them with sour cream when I was out of goat cheese, and they seem to be un-ruinable as well.

7:25 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Anna said...

These sound divine. I've made the biscuits in the Art of Simple Food many times, and I can't wait to try these. Thanks!

7:31 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Jesse said...

i trust your breakfast thoughts more than anyone. after all, you introduced me to the lovely dutch baby, and clearly, my life has never been the same. i may make some cherry jam this weekend to pair with these pillowy biscuits. can't wait.

7:33 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger J+K said...

those sound lovely! i'm thinking i'll make them when my baby comes home from college!

7:36 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Angharad said...

Biscuits are one of those things I've never tried - very American and a bit intimidating for some reason; maybe just because of the unfamiliarity. But with the promise of not being able to mess them up - I may have found my entree. Thanks :)

7:54 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Charcuterista said...

thanks for the beautiful descriptions and for reminding me of some of the things I truly love about having houseguests - I need to go make some invites!

7:55 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Megan said...

Molly, the only thought I can manage, on the most gray morning of the sleepiest Friday of the most dreary month, is: you write good. Thanks for this post and for writing so winningly about being with friends.

7:55 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Jen said...

also love to have company, especially for breakfast.

No company this weekend, but a long sunday of re-organizing furniture in our apartment. These cream scones will make perfect breakfast.


8:12 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Katie (Mama May I) said...

I love biscuits~probably because I love things like butter and jam even more. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe.

8:16 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger alexandria said...

These sound simply amazing. I can't wait to get started on this recipe this weekend. Thank you, Molly.

8:18 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Cakewalker said...

I understand the quiet space you wrote about and how peaceful it can be. Thank you for saying it because when I'm in that space, it sometimes feels a little self-indulgent. However, the part about cooking for loved ones and friends is equally, if not more than, rewarding. Though the photos were sans biscuits, your beautiful words conjured up enough imagery to fill-in the blanks... It leaves me with no excuses to dash off to the pantry and gather ingredients!

8:25 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Deanna said...

Makes me want to have company this Sunday:) I love how you describe the amount of cream and butter as festive. One question on the recipe...the 5 TBSP of butter is just for brushing the biscuits before baking? None of it goes into the biscuit dough if I am reading the recipe correctly. I am definitely going to make these on Sunday. Mine will be served with homemade apricot preserves.

8:30 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Jon and/or Kamilah said...

i LOVE biscuits more than I should, and i feel i've been searching for my definitive biscuit recipe for at least 5 years. i can't wait to try these. Thank you!

8:38 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger jacqui said...

I love to feed house guests breakfast to. There's always something about feeding people in the quiet of the morning and starting their day off right. These biscuits sound amazing, especially with jam and honey.

8:41 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Michelle Stiles said...

I have a house full of guests for the weekend - this will surely grace one of our morning meals.

8:44 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Sammie said...

Those biscuits sound amazing but sight of jam makes me crave scones!

8:46 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Gorgeous photographs -- so inviting.

8:55 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Gabrielle said...

Your story reminds me of sneaking around in the kitchen with my sister making scones for our parents for their birthdays. We were probably too young to be using the oven unattended but they didn't seem to mind. We used to use the garlic press to squeeze the butter into little "mountain goats" to go on top of the craggy scone mountains. Hmmm... I think I need to go find the jam :)

9:12 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Whitney said...


You put such a smile on my face with this post. Oh to be lucky enough to be one of your house guests!

Thank you for sharing.

9:19 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Chihiro said...

A "festive" amount of butter and cream. I love that.

9:52 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I have two cream biscuit recipes and a cream scone recipe. I may have to make this one and all the others just to compare....

10:14 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I love Marion Cunningham! I like that story in Garlic and Sapphires where she gets so upset at Reichl for being a horrible person to the server in one of her personas. And the inspirational description of the beginning of her career in The Tenth Muse too.

There's a modified version of her cottage cheese lemon pancakes in the NYT Jewish Cookbook that is sooo good and so easy. I confess I'm sort of the opposite of you when it comes to making breakfast; there's something about the sleepy fuzzy-edged feel that hour that makes it seem an insurmountable feat (the weekends I do make us something more elaborate than cereal or toast, it's brunch really because I don't get started 'til 11 or later). But these pancakes are so easy (to use parlance I keep seeing on mommy food blogs lately, "I think even a cat could do it") I can whip them up immediately. And they're so, so good. They've got lemon zest and cottage cheese and not much else in them. They come out light and airy and tangy and they're my favorite easy breakfast thing now except for dutch babies.

Anyway, that was a long-winded way of saying Cunningham is great!

10:22 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Two by the Sea said...

Great post! I have made these bisquits for many years and sometimes make them the night before, cut out on a parchment lined sheet pan and pop them in the oven in the morning. They are also good on pot pies!
Thanks for the reminder.

10:25 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger HarmlessColor said...

I love biscuits.
Like onions, they are such a good start to an "I don't know what to make and I don't have all morning/evening" type of meal.

10:41 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Kasey said...

What a beautifully-written post, Molly.I, too, love making breakfast at home for friends. It's so true that cooking for the people you love is kind of the best way to cook :)

10:47 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Shaheen {The Purple Foodie} said...

This is the second post that I'm reading that attests to Marion Cunningham's stellar recipes. Gotta put that book on my list. And just by reading your blog post, I wish I had guests over to cook breakfast for.

10:53 AM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Nooks and Cranberries said...

You make me remember how much I love a good, civilized breakfast with those I love, and how it happens way too infrequently. I'm planning on casting off Saturday morning commitments this spring (they can happen during other times of the week), and I hope that will restore the beautiful practice of making--and sharing--breakfast. Thanks.

11:09 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

"...and then I realize how much I’ve missed my friends. They wake me up from wherever I’ve been." I love that. Beautifully said and so very true, I feel exactly this way sometimes. I love your description of these biscuits, they sound absolutely scrumptious. This is something I'll be making this weekend for sure.

11:21 AM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Emily Rae said...

I love the "festive" comment. I may being trying these with chocolate sauce soon (like biscuits n gravy... chocolate gravy!).

12:30 PM, March 04, 2011  
OpenID highplainsdrifters said...

24 years in the Army, and no one wakes up before i do. So breakfast is invariably my job. Thanks for another great idea to file in my "good eats" folder. Cheers!

12:47 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Susan said...

My daughter has been asking me for a homemade breakfast (as opposed to cereal, or toast, or Eggo multigrain waffles with blueberries that you pop in the toaster), and the prosepct fills me with horror. The thought of actually cooking breakfast just makes me nervous. Then I read your post and knew that a solution was at hand. Fool-proof biscuits! And I think that I actually own the cookbook the recipe came from! I either own it or gave it for a gift. Marion Cunningham cookbooks are very giftable. And Molly, I saw you on the cover of one of the Somersets! Haven't had time to sit down and read the article, but just wanted to tell you that you looked so pretty.

1:05 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Lauren Montanaro Norster said...

Hi Molly -- I did end up making those biscuits gluten free -- they turned out lovely, as I hadn't had the treat of them since turning gluten free. Thought you might want to see them.


1:09 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger nathalie said...

So nice to read this because it reminded me of how I like small and private things. Now I understand why I always photograph my own environment, and it feels so natural. I've just started reading your blog and I loved this close feeling.

1:21 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger haanpc said...

I just made some apricot butter yesterday. Apricot butter and cream biscuits...that doesn't sound undelicious at all. Well, I think I know what I am doing tomorrow.

1:36 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous jules said...

I've just moved to the country and the only thing I miss about Sydney is my friends.

I have house guests this weekend and I couldn't agree more about how lovely it is to have them around.

Can't wait to try those biscuits - they sound like scones to me!

2:49 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yum, these sound delicious. And I love your use of the word "festive." :)

2:54 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Brandi {not your average ordinary} said...

Molly, your writing always steals me away to a better place. It's like suddenly the sun is shining just a little brighter. There's nothing I love more than making breakfast for guests, and I've yet to do a proper eggs-potatoes-biscuit breakfast. Thanks for the inspiration.

3:16 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I purchased The Breakfast Book way back when it was originally published in the '80s! My sons grew up with my husband making these very same cream biscuits, and they have always been a family favorite. In fact, just last weekend our son and his wife surprised us by showing up for coffee, and my husband whipped up a batch. We all agree they are delicious! And by the way, thank you for writing A Homemade Life. I have tried several of the recipes since receiving the book for Christmas, and I can’t wait to try them all! You have such a beautifully poetic way with words. I am anxiously awaiting your new book!

4:34 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Lee said...

Would those biscuits also be no fail 5800 ft. above sea level?

5:31 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger deborah said...

To be honest Molly I don't think I'll even wait for house guests to make these. The part where they triple in size got me.

This recipe reminds me of a good ole Australian scone. Sometimes we make them with buttermilk, but my favourite is the scone made with cream and perhaps served with strawberry jam AND double cream. Ahem.

5:38 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Ilke said...

There is something innocent and homey about breakfast! I love having long breakfasts with bunch of people around the table.
I bet you appreciate your quiet time more though :)
By the way, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your book and can't wait for the next one, and how much it inspires me to write...

5:50 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Claudia said...

Decades later in my adopted state, I still miss my friends. Maybe the solution is to bake cream biscuits and send them to all those lovely people.

5:51 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Sadly we can only bunk one (daring) friend at a time on the couch in the living room. But people are rather vulnerable when they first wake up, especially if they find themselves not at home, and there's something very quiet and meditative and loving about making them breakfast while they're in that state. Lovely post.

6:40 PM, March 04, 2011  
Blogger Today's Gift said...

I need to try these. I've never had much success in the biscuit making department, so a "no one can screw this up" biscuit recipe is right up my alley. And! I just bought some parchment paper tonight.

7:27 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Melinda said...

I'm very intrigued by this vat of honey you speak of. Was it made by someone local?

8:42 PM, March 04, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they sound lovely!!! can u post a pic of the biscuits? =)

8:24 AM, March 05, 2011  
Anonymous Kimberley said...

Ah, biscuits. And foxy tangelos! Breakfast with friends is the absolute best.

1:46 PM, March 05, 2011  
Blogger LeeAnn said...

When I lived in Ireland, I enjoyed the best biscuits and scones. Scones being my favorite. They are different than the Americanized scones you'll find in the US. Not all that sweet but remind you of a creamed biscuit. Very moist and they have a big crumb. In fact, your creamed biscuit recipe is very similar to the Irish scone recipe I own, minus the butter. Add dried fruit (apricots are my favorite) dust with sugar before baking, and you have my must favorite breakfast treat!

3:21 PM, March 05, 2011  
Blogger Brown Memsahib said...

How lovely! I am expecting a couple of my girlfriends next week.
And this seems like the perfect recipe for our lazy breakfast chat sessions.
Thanks for sharing :)

3:56 PM, March 05, 2011  
Anonymous Laura said...

...And I am now salivating! They sound lovely, especially since they were enjoyed with good friends :)

6:26 PM, March 05, 2011  
Anonymous Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) said...

This post brings back so many memories. My family has spent our summers in the White Mountains, NH, for as long as I can remember. I would wake up to the smells of ground up coffee beans and my dad's famous veggie omelette. I felt like the luckiest girl alive.

Now I'm the one most often doing the cooking and I love carrying on this tradition. At home and on vacation. I can't think of anything I enjoy more than serving friends and families a little bit of love every morning.

Thank you for such a brilliant post! :)

4:46 AM, March 06, 2011  
Anonymous Leslie said...

I keep trying these recipes from The Breakfast Book and each one is more delicious than the next. I finally broke down and bought the book. Lovely.

8:14 AM, March 06, 2011  
Blogger Amanda said...

Your writing makes me want to invite people over just so I can serve them these biscuits in the morning. They sound delicious.

9:32 AM, March 06, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post. I enjoy nothing more than cooking for my friends. I made these biscuits this morning and they were delicious. Buttery and brown on the outside. Light, soft and warm on the inside. I served them with honey and my boyfriend and I loved them!

10:52 AM, March 06, 2011  
Blogger Joy said...

Ohh the recipe looks so good.

5:21 PM, March 06, 2011  
Anonymous Lauren said...

I'm definitely going to try this with my class of kindergarteners. You've put me in the mood for some wholesome, together time this morning. Thank you.

8:38 PM, March 06, 2011  
Blogger Kate said...

"festive" is a great way to describe a surfeit of cream and butter. I am going to have to borrow that one!

7:27 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger caroline said...

I just came across cream biscuits while searching for recipes to use at my sister's tea-themed wedding shower. The sheer volume of cream is somewhat off-putting, but maybe I should give them a try after all...

8:20 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Jen H said...

I'm horrible at biscuits. I always work the dough too much. So I am absolutely giving these puppies a try and I'll have a very happy husband if they work out! Thanks for sharing!.

10:33 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger haanpc said...

You know, I have followed and commented on this blog for the last few months purely because I enjoy your whimsical writing and photography.

But I have never actually used any of your recipes until today. Those biscuits kicked ass. I made them for my girlfriend and we had them with apricot butter I made few days ago. Perfect way to start the day.

3:20 AM, March 08, 2011  
Anonymous ellen said...

I have a new method I use with all biscuits (and pie dough) which is to roll, fold, roll like you do for puff pastry. I fold in thirds like envelope, make a quarter turn and then do it again, about 6 times. This makes the flakiest, puffiest biscuits ever - they rise super high.
I think Cook's Illustrated covered it but I stole the idea from Pim of Chez Pim who does it for pie dough.
Try it sometime - it's really not that much more work and you get fantastic layers of dough.

3:34 AM, March 08, 2011  
Anonymous (no longer dc) sarah said...

My father's coming to visit in a couple of weeks-our first Seattle guest, yay! Though he really, REALLY does not need to be eating cream biscuits, I might make them anyway. I think our apartment will start to feel more like a home once we've had friends and family to stay-really looking forward to it.

8:29 AM, March 08, 2011  
Anonymous Feeding Fuss said...

Biscuits intimidate me, but you've convinced me to try. Thank you from a Southerner who really should know how to cook a proper biscuit. You just might have changed my life. Or, at least my mornings. Like you, I'll probably wait to try them until we have a full house...I guess I love danger. :)

9:36 AM, March 08, 2011  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi Molly! Imagine my delight - I walked into a New York CityBorders bookstore (one of the ones that's not closing), heading for the cooking magazines, and what do I see? Your smiling face on the cover of Where Women Cook! Congrats!

9:51 AM, March 08, 2011  
Blogger Drew said...

These sound great. When we do biscuits, they are usually just drop-style. My go-to breakfast lately have been these buttermilk-cornmeal pancakes: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/1998/02/cornmeal_buttermilk_pancakes

Served with some simple blackberry syrup (it pays to have several gallons worth of berries in yer freezer).

11:48 AM, March 08, 2011  
Blogger Katie said...

I made the dough for these last night, cut them out into pretty, scalloped discs, popped them in the freezer for an hour to harden up, and then put them in a Ziploc bag for (relatively) quick breakfasts on future mornings. I baked a few of these up today (brushed them with butter right before baking)--they turned out pretty nicely. Lofty, rich, and golden--very nice with a drizzle of honey.

I'm not sure that these really "go down light." There's no mistaking the cream in them for something else! But if you don't mind an indulgent breakfast...

11:58 AM, March 08, 2011  
Anonymous Kim said...

Our company just left -- if only I knew... These will definitely be on my "to make" list, with a few trial batches to taste-test before they return! There's nothing better than cooking for those you love. Happy memories. :)

5:42 PM, March 08, 2011  
Blogger Joseph the Butler said...

My first job cooking was making biscuits in a Southern restaurant one semester when I was out of college. About 100 a day, and 300 on the weekends. I got pretty good at it, but the first time was terrifying. I don't do them often anymore. But my recipe, never written--it was all taught by texture--contained no sugar. I can't even imagine adding sugar.

9:15 PM, March 08, 2011  
Anonymous Colin said...

Always good to take the time to make biscuits. Sort of like doing exercise, seems daunting at first but after you get started its easier and you¿re happy you did.

4:09 AM, March 09, 2011  
Anonymous alyce said...

I've made biscuits like this before and they are incredible.

10:44 AM, March 09, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coffee Heath Bar Cruch ice cream - I knew you were a woman aftermy own heart!. I'm a middle aged southern woman so biscuits are part of my life. I will give these a shot this weekend - they look divine!

11:00 AM, March 09, 2011  
Anonymous Tamami said...

The biscuit recipe sounds great! I'll give it a try! Thanks! xx

3:21 PM, March 09, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe on Wednesday night and so amazing - you undersold the recipe! The next day they still tasted amazing. This is now my biscuit recipe, end of discussion.

9:49 AM, March 10, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking you cut the cold butter into the dried ingredients and then add in the cream? Or do you melt the butter and add to dough?

2:24 PM, March 10, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi, all! To those who had questions about the butter, the recipe is correct as written. The butter does not go into the dough itself; it gets brushed on just before baking. (Marion Cunningham called for dipping the dough in butter, but I brushed it. Dipping seemed a little, I don't know, excessive.)

2:27 PM, March 10, 2011  
Blogger Kristina Emmons said...

Your writing always makes me smile and feel all sunshine-y. Since I have made hockey pucks in the past, I haven't tried biscuits again, but you have inflated me with hope and I'm running, RUNNING, to get some cream.

4:23 PM, March 10, 2011  
Anonymous elizabeth said...

These sounds so good -- I love Mare Cunningham's custard cornbread too!

7:50 PM, March 10, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been using marion cunningham's book for so long it is tattered! so many good recipes. the lemon ginger muffins are outstanding!!!

10:21 AM, March 11, 2011  
Blogger Rachel said...

If these are like anything like the cream scones from Whole Foods, then I am incredibly happy that I found this recipe!

6:14 PM, March 11, 2011  
Blogger Catherine said...

These biscuits look wonderful and sound delish! You have such a wonderful blog...I am so happy I found it. You have man beautiful photos too!
Have a lovely weekend,

9:03 AM, March 12, 2011  
Anonymous Ian said...

These *do* sound good, though not my idea of traditional. For a real Southern buttermilk biscuit with no rolling, patting, or cutting required, you should really try this recipe (http://chemistscookbook.blogspot.com/2006/04/biscuit-ology-101.html) with a Lodge cast iron biscuit pan (http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Pre-Seasoned-Drop-Biscuit/dp/B00063RX7O). Best. Biscuits. Ever. (If I say so myself.) Made some this morning, actually, just for myself.

5:04 PM, March 12, 2011  
Blogger Jennifer said...

With the recent tragedy in Japan, I want to bring those I love close. I had a group of friends over for breakfast today and made spinach and tomato omelets, fresh berries, and your cream biscuits with homemade spiced pear butter. The biscuits were perfect, and I do mean perfect. And having my loved ones around me was the best part of it. Even better than the biscuits, and that's saying something.

10:29 PM, March 13, 2011  
Blogger claire said...

i cannot wait to have a try and screwing these up :)

10:36 AM, March 15, 2011  
Blogger Dorothy said...

Thanks so much for this recipe. And thanks to Marion Cunningham, too. I went a little heavy on the cream (I used the full 1.5 cups) and the biscuits didn't pull apart in flakes, which makes sense. However, they were delicious. The biscuits were lovely on a rather depressing day. I'll just have to keep experimenting.

8:53 AM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Bethany said...

I just tried these... and these are absolutely delicious. I wasn't sure if I would miss the tang of buttermilk but they are just savoury enough and perfectly light. You'd never know how much cream is in them. Thank you for sharing this! The Breakfast Book may have to be the next addition to my cookbook collection. And I want to have someone over for breakfast very soon!

10:36 AM, March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This recipe posted just before my son and his family moved back here (Bothell) from Colorado, and are staying with us temporarily. I knew when I saw it I would be baking it their first morning back and it didn't disappoint. It truly is impossible to mess up. Thanks for helping me welcome them back the best way possible.

2:59 PM, March 16, 2011  
Blogger Miss said...

We have overnight visitors fairly regularly but lately, not so much. However I will be making these yummy cream biscuits this weekend for us 5. And I'll plan on spreading the extras out to neighbors although I doubt they'll make it that long...

8:16 AM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger Shannon Marie said...

This recipe looks tremendous. I'm thinking maybe smearing the cream biscuits with some strawberry jam...with Nutella. Or even stuffing them with some black forest ham and gruyere. I'm salivating just thinking about it. I will definitely be making these this weekend!

11:59 AM, March 17, 2011  
Blogger mayapamela525 said...

Hey Molly! What camera do you use? i just love your photos.

7:21 PM, March 20, 2011  
Anonymous SaraM said...

These were/are AMAZING! Delicious, simple & excellent the next day as well.

Thank you!!

6:18 AM, March 21, 2011  
Blogger Erin said...

your post was so beautifully written and inspiring that i just had to make these. so perfect. http://flic.kr/p/9rXWVg

5:41 PM, March 21, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are simply the easiest and BEST biscuits ever. I substituted 1/2 cup of King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour for 1/2 cup of the white - mmmmmmmmm! I've been following your blog for quite a long time; your book was the first cookbook I put on my Kindle. Thank you for all the great writing and ideas for eating!

7:22 PM, March 28, 2011  
Anonymous Lisa said...

(Hiya - I think these aren't in your recipe index yet. The word "cream" does appear there 19 times, yay!, but not yet for these.)

5:45 AM, March 31, 2011  
Blogger Eva said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. It took me back to my childhood, when my cousin, Wanda, would be with our family during the summer. During her teenage years, Wanda wasn't much of a cook, but I always remember her making baking powder biscuits on Saturdays. They were so light that they seemed to levitate off the plate!

I recently discovered a recipe for cheddar cheese biscuits that are an accompaniment to an oxtail stew. The recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse. I make the biscuits just to have on hand. Here's the post, if you're interested:


7:23 AM, April 04, 2011  
Blogger panda said...

Why did I put off making these for so long? They were incredibly easy and just marvelous. I even screwed up the recipe (too much baking powder and not enough cream) and they still came out perfectly. I want to make these every day. I also want to buy Marion Cunningham's book, right this second.

7:40 AM, April 09, 2011  
Blogger Heather Morgan / aka Daisy said...

Great Blog

1:55 PM, May 03, 2011  
Blogger Melinda said...

I am coming to you late, but if you haven't yet read Marion Cunningham's preface to the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (my edition is from 1983), it will make you weep to hear her talk about how we have to teach cooking to women who did not learn from their mothers and grandmothers.

10:21 AM, July 12, 2011  
Blogger sara. said...

Hi Molly,

I have made these biscuits twice now and I am honestly struggling with them. In order to get them to cook all the way through, I have to bake them to a point where the bottoms burn. The rest of the biscuit is perfect and the outsides are just golden brown, but every time, the bottoms are black. Any tips on how to avoid? Thanks!

7:27 AM, July 16, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These were easy to make despite the fact the dough seemed way too heavy. I ended up using the full 1 1/2 cups of cream in the end, and then when kneading I folded the dough over itself over and over a few times. Then I rolled it into a ball with everything tucked under, heavily floured the dough and surface so it wouldn't stick, and rolled it out with a rolling pin in two directions. It made it so much easier to get it into an oblong shape for cutting and that was uniformly 1/2" thick.

For the person who had the bottoms of the biscuits black I'd suggest trying to cook at a lower temperature for a longer time (if needed). Maybe it's the oven. I didn't have that problem at all, but I also brushed the bottoms with butter, not just the sides and tops. Came right off.

I also ended up cooking for probably 7 more minutes than stated, checking each minute until the tops were golden brown. That's probably just an oven thing.

11:26 AM, January 12, 2013  
Blogger Raychel said...

Molly, these are SO good! I made them this morning and am so pleased. I made your French granola this weekend which I am never disappointed with! Thanks for sharing.

7:01 AM, February 18, 2013  

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