This is an old favourite that I made this week for the couple that were putting hardwood on our stairs. They were working so hard and I wanted to do something a little special for them. I pulled out the Harrow Fair Cookbook and made these in under 30 minutes. While the biscuits were baking, I filled my little red kettle and boiled water for tea. They sat down for a quick tea-time break of buttermilk biscuits with butter and marmalade and strong cups of Barry’s Irish tea – they thoroughly enjoyed it.
What reasons can you come up with to treat yourself, or someone you like, to a tea and biscuit break?
FYI, I always use butter in these but the prize winning biscuits at the Harrow Fair are made with shortening.
Makes about 12.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (or cold butter, cubed)
1 cup buttermilk (approx)
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Working quickly and using a light touch, incorporate the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
Add the buttermilk, stirring until the dough leaves the side of the bowl. The dough should be slightly sticky. If the dough is too dry, add up to 2 tablespoons more buttermilk.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured board, 5 times or until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough, using a floured rolling pin, to a thickness of ¾-1 inch. Cut dough into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or a straight-sided glass.
Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet, making sure the biscuits don’t touch. Bake for 12 minutes or until the biscuits begin to turn golden. Serve warm with butter and jam.