Warm biscuits (otherwise known as scones) are a perfect way to start the morning. They also make for a fantastic afternoon snack, one that is adaptable to whatever you are craving at the moment, whether it’s jam, cream, butter, eggs, cheese or anything else you want with your biscuit. Sweet or savoury, the choice is yours, and there are very few wrong choices to make. (Except sausage gravy. Please don’t make me eat sausage gravy.) [Editor’s note: How dare you. — Claire]
That said, as much as I love a hot, homemade biscuit straight from the oven, there are a lot of days when cutting the butter into the flour, then mixing in the liquid ingredients, is just too much work, especially when you’ve got an overactive toddler you need to keep alive.
When that happens, the choices are usually to either forego the biscuit or to crack open a can. From a practical standpoint, although I have very few objections to food out of a can, sometimes you just want the homemade taste.
You can make biscuits with just two ingredients
The good news is that there is an even simpler way to make biscuits, one that involves stirring just two ingredients — self-rising flour and heavy whipping cream — into a dough, which you then shape into biscuits. As our always-astute food editor Claire Lower points out, butter is just cream that got its shit rocked. What that means is that heavy whipping cream contains the fat and liquid that normally goes into a biscuit recipe, only it’s just one ingredient. Meanwhile, self-rising flour is just flour with baking powder and salt added right in, which lets you skip adding those ingredients as well.
As King Arthur flour points out (which is where I first discovered this recipe) although you can make your own self-rising flour by combining all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt, pre-made self-rising flour has a slightly lower protein content, which will help yield a softer biscuit. That said, if you don’t have any hand, don’t sweat it, as all-purpose flour works well enough.
To make your own self-rising flour, for every one cup of all-purpose flour, mix in 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and a ¼ teaspoon of salt.
With all of this said, here is the recipe for making two-ingredient, idiot-proof, homemade biscuits, as adapted from the King Arthur flour website.
- 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
- ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
- Optional: A little bit more salt, up to ¼ tsp, for a slightly saltier biscuit
Preheat the oven to 230C.
Stir the heavy cream and self-rising flour into a dough. If the dough isn’t quite coming together, add in a little extra cream, so it’s just barely holding together. Avoid overworking the dough, as that will make it tougher.
To shape the biscuits, either roll the dough out, then cut it into squares or rounds, or make drop biscuits, which is just a fancy name for “scoop out a ball of dough and drop onto the pan.” (Somewhere, there was a busy mum with zero time, who decided, “Fuck it, I’m just going to drop little balls of dough onto the baking sheet and say it was intentional.” To that mum: We salute you.)
With drop biscuits, the result is a craggy, somewhat unshaped biscuit, with a few more crunchy nooks. I’ve made both, and to be quite frank, I prefer the drop biscuits, both for the ease and for the additional crunchy parts. To make drop biscuits, it helps to either have an ice cream or cookie scoop, to maintain some semblance of an even size and shape. Depending on how big you like your biscuits, this recipe will make 6-8 biscuits.
Once the biscuits have been shaped, put them onto a sheet pan that has either been coated with baking spray or covered with parchment paper. Once you’ve done that, the recommendation is to brush the tops of the biscuits with a little heavy cream. Supposedly this helps the biscuit rise more, but the biscuits rise just fine without it. What this will do, however, is help brown the top of the biscuit a bit more. (That said, this is the step I’m most prone to forgetting, and the biscuits turn out fine anyway. So don’t sweat it if you, too, forget.)
Bake the biscuits at 230C for about 10 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. If even half of them survive the cooling stage, you can now call yourself a model of restraint.
Suggested biscuit variations to try
When it comes to making these biscuits, there are a lot of variations you can try, whether it’s adding in herbs, cheeses, cinnamon and sugar, or whatever else you desire. My personal favourite is adding in a little garlic powder and some shredded cheese, for garlic cheddar biscuits.
If you want something a little on the sweet side, a few tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla will get you sweet cream shortcakes, which are just begging for some strawberries and whipped cream on top.
Another option is to freeze the raw biscuits to be baked at a later date. To do that, stick the sheet pan with the uncooked biscuits into the freezer. Once they’ve frozen hard, transfer them into a freezer-safe container. Whenever you want a biscuit or two, take the frozen biscuit dough out of the freezer, place it on a baking pan and bake at 230C. It will take a few extra minutes to bake, but you’ll soon have a fresh, hot biscuit, for which your future self will thank you