I remember the first day of my ninth grade Home Economics Class. A class filled to the brim with giggling, and not so serious, ninth grade girls. Half listening to our Teacher talk about the foundation of Southern cuisine. The biscuit.
Bet you thought I was going to say Fried Catfish or Grits. Which can be quite delicious, especially if my Mother-in-law is preparing the dish.
However, on that first day of ninth grade Home Economics, the Southern biscuit ruled. It was the very first pastry I learned to bake on my own.
I ended that class with huge pride for my biscuit baking talent. I baked biscuits for my family, for my friends, for my extended family and for my Grandparents when I went to stay with them for the summer. Even the “not so soft” biscuits were consumed by my darling Grandfather. He said they were good for his teeth. I had become a biscuit baking machine.
And that… is the extent of my baking career.
I really do love a good pastry. When I have time, it’s fun to hang out in the kitchen testing a new scone recipe or test my not so evident baking skills with a homemade cake or pie. But if I had to choose something to bake, it will always be a biscuit.
I love rising early in the morning while the rest of the family sleeps. Tank with his sleepy eyes half watching me cut in the cold butter and then roll out the dough, hoping something will fall to the floor so he can be helpful and “clean it up”. Yes, this is why Tank is sometimes affectionately known as Pork Chop. My sweeper of crumbs. My little piglet.
And when my nose is greeted with the cheerful aroma of baking biscuits that permeates the house, my soul feels comforted. Pulling out the perfectly golden medallions from the oven and serving them in a linen lined basket with homemade preserves and fresh salted butter; makes me feel like every weekend morning was made for biscuits.
These little lovelies are filled with the essence of lavender. You can add most anything to your biscuits, but living here in the Pacific Northwest where lavender grows abundantly, it seemed the perfect aromatic herb to include in my cherished biscuits.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, one of our largest Lavender Festivals happens every July in Sequim, Washington. We used to fly over to Sequim every year to sample all the lavender wares and of course eat our fill of culinary treats filled with lavender.
Makes about 8-12 small biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or regular sugar
1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender buds
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 cup whole milk, or more if needed
Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
In a small spice grinder, coffee mill or food processor combine the sugar and dried lavender. Grind until the lavender is fine and nicely dispersed in the sugar. Just enough so someone doesn’t’ get a woody piece of lavender in their biscuit. You can also do this in a sturdy mortar and pestle.
In a large bowl combine flour, lavender sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like course cornmeal. Make sure you leave pea sized pieces in your flour mixture for light and fluffy biscuits. There is an entire science behind this explained to me by my friend and Pastry Chef, Laurie Pfalzer. Check out her incredible baking blog at www.pastrycraftseattle.com
Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly add milk into the middle. Knead dough with your fingers and add milk when necessary. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. Cut with a small biscuit cutter.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Place biscuits on the parchment and then sprinkle with additional sugar or brush with heavy cream. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with homemade preserves, Devonshire cream or make breakfast ham and egg sandwiches with Gruyere cheese. Delicious!
I also make this biscuit dough to top my blueberry cobbler. Making it a Blueberry Cobbler with Lavender Biscuits. 🙂 I’ll post the entire recipe someday soon!