GLORY BE by Danielle Arceneaux: Buttermilk Biscuits

No longer married, Glory, my protagonist, is smart, messy, charming, and complicated. She isn’t interested in the housekeeping or cooking a household requires. Instead, she picks up food in and around Lafayette, and the book features a number of restaurants from the area. In a smaller Southern city, you’re more likely to find delicious hole-in-the-wall institutions than fine dining with crisp white tablecloths, and Glory prefers it that way. She’d rather grab a po-boy from Olde Tyme Grocery or a Sunday plate dinner at Dwight’s before they run out. I wanted to share a particular kind of biscuit recipe, the kind that might be included with a Sunday plate dinner or served at a church luncheon. When it comes to biscuits, height matters— a flat, hockey puck of a biscuit may taste fine but will never impress. Regular flour will work, but White Lily flour is best for tall biscuits, if you can find it. When you cut the biscuits into a round shape, it’s also important that you go straight down and then straight up. Avoid the temptation to twist your cutter, as that will seal the sides of your biscuits and prevent them from rising as high as they should.

Once baked, you can even wrap a couple of biscuits up in a napkin and stuff them in your purse for the road. It’s what Glory would do!

For a morning or brunch book club, prepare the dough in advance, and pop the biscuits in the oven as your first guest arrives. They’ll be ready 15 minutes later. Consider a spread with room-temperature butter and various jams. Alternately, you could assemble bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for a heartier meal.

For afternoon or evening book clubs, consider a baked ham, which is a tasty and affordable way to feed a crowd—and you’ll probably have leftovers, which is never a bad thing! Glaze the ham with orange marmalade, brown sugar, and a dash of orange juice with a sweet, crunchy exterior. Serve with Champagne or Prosecco! If you’re feeling especially Southern, pull out your best china.

-Danielle Arcenaux

Book Club Menu, Note, Giveaway

Servings

12 servings

Prep Time

30 mins

Cook Time

14 mins

GLORY BE by Danielle Arceneaux: Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe adapted from Blackberry Farms

  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, White Lily brand if available, plus extra for dipping cutter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening  
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 12 ½ tablespoons soft butter, divided
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender. The lumps will be very small, but still visible. Stop when the texture of the flour becomes coarse.
  3. Pour the buttermilk into the dry mixture, and fold with a spoon, incorporating, the buttermilk as quickly and as gently as possible. Adjust the consistency if needed.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and work lightly, folding and patting dough until the texture is smoother. Shape into a large rectangle, about the size of a baking sheet.  Spread 2/3 of the dough with 1 ½ tablespoons of soft butter. Fold the unbuttered side on the middle 1/3 of the buttered side, then fold the 1/3 buttered side onto the top of the unbuttered dough. Turn dough ¼ turn and repeat, buttering 2/3 dough and folding. Repeat once more. Pat out dough to ½-inch thickness, use a rolling pin gently, if needed.  Cut biscuits, dipping a 3-inch biscuit cutter in flour to keep it from sticking to the dough as you cut.
  5. Place biscuit dough rounds on the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 14 minutes, turning halfway through the baking, until tops are lightly golden brown when finished. Remove and brush the tops with the remaining soft butter.