From Cooks Illustrated.
Makes eight 2 1/2-inch biscuits
Bake the biscuits immediately after cutting them; letting them stand for any length of time can decrease the leavening power and thereby prevent the biscuits from rising properly in the oven.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough from bowl to countertop, leaving all dry, floury bits behind in bowl. In 1 tablespoon increments, add up to 1/4 cup cream to dry bits in bowl, mixing with wooden spoon after each addition, until moistened. Add these moistened bits to rest of dough and knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds.
3. Shape the dough into a round, 3/4-inch thick. Cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or cut into wedges with knife. Place rounds or wedges on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking.
CREAM BISCUITS WITH FRESH HERBS
Use the herb of your choice in this variation.
Follow recipe for Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits, whisking 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs into flour along with sugar, baking powder, and salt.
CREAM BISCUITS WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE
Follow recipe for Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits, stirring 1/2 cup (2 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/4-inch pieces into flour along with sugar, baking powder, and salt. Increase baking time to 18 minutes.
CREAM BISCUITS WITH CRYSTALLIZED GINGER
Follow recipe for Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits, adding 3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger to flour along with sugar, baking powder, and salt. Before baking, brush tops of biscuits with 1 tablespoon heavy cream and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.
TWO WAYS TO SHAPE BISCUITS
(please see illustrations, below)
For Rounds: Shape the dough into a round and cut with a biscuit cutter.
For Wedges: Press the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turn the dough out and cut into 8 wedges.
My Reaction, from August 2003:
These were tasty! Sweet, flaky, and tender (and probably more calories in ONE than a person should eat all day). Made 12 rather than 8, and Neil loved them. I put minced parsley in them, and couldn’t taste the addition but it was very pretty.
I also want to try, using the same base recipe:
Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits
for Quick Cream Biscuits May, 2000
Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits
Makes 8 medium biscuits:
1 recipe Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits, prepared through step 2 and rolled into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle, about 3/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon egg white
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Dash vanilla extract
1. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; set aside.
2. Brush surface of dough rectangle with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Roll, cut into 8 rounds, flatten, and arrange biscuits in ungreased 10-inch pie plate; bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
3. While biscuits are baking, whisk together egg white, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in small bowl until smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Spread icing over hot biscuits.
My Reaction, from September 2005: I made this a few months ago, from my set of bound Cooks Illustrated magazines (the best birthday present ever? Quite possibly.). It was very sweet, very tasty, a bit grainy for some reason but still an indubitable hit.