Photo by Judith Hausman
Once again, I’m indebted to the Moosewood Collective’s cookbooks for a simple, healthy recipe. This basic biscuit recipe is so fast and adaptable, and it does not use the rich butter usually cut into biscuits and scones. You can even avoid rolling and cutting out the biscuits with this method. I love adding in the chopped, fresh herbs that I nurse through the winter in pots by the windows. If you only have dried herbs, use about half of the amounts given here.
Either yams or sweet potato will work in this herb biscuit variation, and mashed winter squash or pumpkin can also be substituted. Any of these will pair naturally with warm spices, such as cinnamon and ginger, but you might try savory spices, such as chili powder or curry, for an unexpected twist. Don’t add the extra tablespoon of sweetener if you go that route.
To accompany a hearty soup, break open the savory herb biscuits and tuck in a chunk of cheese. Or just dip them into the soup! I like to cut the sweet style in small triangles (i.e., sixteenths) to serve with a cup of good tea. The biscuits taste best freshly made, but they will keep well and are best reheated by toasting them.
Herb BiscuitsAdapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home (Fireside, 1994).
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup Whole-wheat flour OR a combination of whole-wheat flour and cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup buttermilk (or low-fat, plain yogurt)
- 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together the oil and buttermilk. Then add liquids and chopped herbs to the dry mix, mixing quickly but thoroughly.
Gather the dough on a floured board and pat it out to a circle about ¾-inch thick. Carefully divide the circle in eighths. The dough can also be cut into circles. Place triangles on parchment paper or a silicon baking pad on top of a cookie sheet. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
Sweet variation: Omit herbs and scallion. Add 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut. Use vanilla yogurt instead of the buttermilk. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on the dough before dividing it into triangles.
Sweet Potato Biscuits: Omit scallions and herbs. Reduce buttermilk to 1/3 cup and add 1 cup mashed sweet potato or yam and 1/3 cup orange or apple juice. Increase oil to 3 tablespoons. Reduce baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoons Add ½ teaspoon baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. You can also add 1 tablespoon brown sugar, maple syrup or honey.