Washing Machine Cinnamon Biscuits
It has been gray and cold in Paris, with crazy days of rain and snow mixed together, and I have been thinking about what I could bake — toxic oven fumes be damned! — to warm up my insides.
Naturally, biscuits came to mind. (Biscuits, I love you more than ice cream. No, that’s not true. I love you both, and far too much, I’m afraid.)
Light and fluffy insides with crispy bottoms, there’s nothing that tastes more like home to me. When my mom made biscuits, she always doubled her batch and made one half regular and the other half rolled out with cinnamon and sugar – that way, you could have biscuits and gravy on one side of your plate and cinnamon and sugar ones on the other. Plus one or two with butter and honey. Biscuits are so versatile.
People think biscuits are hard to make and that they take a ton of time. Neither is true. They are easy to put together and take 15 minutes or so to bake. You really can’t ask for anything much simpler.
The trick to making great biscuits is this: you’ve got to put together the dough quickly, making sure you have very cold butter, then handle the dough very little after that. Baby the dough. It’s delicate. A rolling pin isn’t necessary. You don’t want to smash all of those bits of butter you tried so hard not to pulverize in the flour. They will act as little steam pockets, making your biscuits fluffy and light.
I made only six biscuits with this recipe, and they are huge, as in nearly the size of big ol’ Texas hamburger patties, because what’s the point of a whole bunch of little biscuits?
Here I’ve made buttermilk biscuits with a ton of cinnamon and sugar, which oozes out the sides when you bake them.
Be sure to use a fork to take off the tops for the cinnamon and sugar layer so you don’t smash the dough.
In my shrinky-dinky Paris kitchen, I don’t have the counter space for a cutting board, much less to roll out a batch of biscuits. So I use the top of my washing machine. Sometimes the dryer, too.
Making biscuits for one: Make the dough as you normally would. If you have people to feed, by all means, double the batch if you need to; but if it’s just you, just bake off one or two biscuits for breakfast, then put the rest (after you’ve cut them out into biscuit shapes) in the freezer in a Ziploc bag. To bake the frozen biscuits, pull them straight from the freezer – no thawing necessary – and bake at 400°F for 3 additional minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned.
Washing Machine Cinnamon Biscuits
Makes 6 big ass biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and frozen or well-chilled
- 1 cup buttermilk (maybe a bit more)
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar or just pulse a few times in your food processor. Add the cubes of butter and pulse quickly until the butter pieces are pebble-like throughout — or if you’re using a pastry cutter, you’re going for the same texture.
- Pour in the buttermilk and gently mix or pulse until the dough begins to come together — don’t overmix or your biscuits will be like hockey pucks.
- Dump out the dough onto a floured surface (such as a Silpat spread out on the top of your washing machine) and gently bring the dough together with your hands so it’s a fat rectangle, about 1-inch thick. You don’t need rolling pin, just pat the dough down with the palms of your hands. Be gentle. Go easy with the dough, and you’ll be rewarded with light and fluffy biscuits. Now, using a knife, cut the biscuits into 6 pieces. I like to gently shape them into rounds, but if you want square ones, go for it.
- Mix up 6 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a little bowl. Gently pull the top half of the dough off of your biscuits and shove a tablespoon-ish of the mixture inside. Put the tops on the biscuits, transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.