Buttermilk Biscones (Biscuit crossed with a Scone)

I think my fellow biscuit lovers will agree that a good biscuit can be hard to come by.  All too often, I’ve been lured in by a restaurant’s promise of “world’s best biscuit” only to be disappointed when the biscuit shows up as a dense, dry, flavorless mound of bread.  But I’m here to tell you that there’s hope for biscuit bliss, and you can find it with these Buttermilk Biscones.  The recipe combines the best parts of a scone and a biscuit into a tender, flaky, light, and flavorful buttermilk biscuit.  And if you thought things couldn’t get any better, the recipe is also easy to make (no rolling and cutting the dough, and no mixer needed).

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Buttermilk Biscones

Make about 12-14 biscuits
(from The Back in the Day Cookbook)
My notes are in [   ] below.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) [it’s worth it to use cake flour so your biscones will be light and airy]
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon herb mix (optional) [I had an Italian herb mix that I added for some additional flavor]
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, or as needed
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of fine seal salt, for egg wash
Sea salt/kosher salt for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the over to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and herb mix (if using), and whisk until completely incorporated.
  3. Add the  butter, and working quickly, cut it with a pastry lender.  You should have various-sized pieces of butter, from sandy patches to pea-sized chunks, and some larger bits as well.
  4. Gradually pour in the buttermilk and gently fold the ingredients until you have a soft dough and there are no bits of flour in the bottom of the bowl.  You should still see lumps of butter in the dough; these will give you lift and flaky biscones.  If the dough seems dry, you may need to add a little more buttermilk.  The dough should be moist and slightly sticky.
  5. Gently pat down the dough with your hands right in the bowl until it resembles a loaf of bread. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour.
  6. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, arranging them about 1 1/2 inches apart so that the biscones have room to rise and puff up.  Lightly tap down on the tops of the biscones. [I didn’t tap down on my biscones because I like they a bit puffier.]
  7. Brush the tops and sides of the biscones liberally with the egg wash.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  8. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through for even baking, until the biscones are lightly golden and fully baked.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

[Note:  These are best eaten the day they are made.  They’ll lose their light, airy texture as time passes.]

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