[Reposting from “Baked!” at Yummy.ph, December 7, 2009]

Start your day with a batch of soft, flaky, buttery biscuits.

Since October, I’ve made several batches of buttermilk biscuits, mostly on weekends. They’re great for breakfast—with tart orange marmalade and fluffy scrambled eggs—or for random snacking—plain or with strawberry jam.

Buttermilk is relatively easy to find in big grocery stores in the U.S. In Manila on the other hand, a quick Google search yielded me the following (very ingenious and convenient) substitutes:

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make one cup; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

• 1 cup milk and 1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar

• yogurt or sour cream

As in the first case, instead of lemon, today I experimented with calamansi juice. And so far, the results have turned out great, nothing strange or extremely funky and sour—just flaky, buttery rounds of breakfast goodness.

Here’s the Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuit recipe from Ina Garten, which I normally use:
[source: FoodNetwork.com ]

2 cups all-purpose flour; add more as needed for the board
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon iodized salt)
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
½ cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra large egg
1 cup grated extra sharp Cheddar
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk
sea salt, optional

(Note: The original instructions call for a mixer. Below is the modified version easily done by hand.)

1 Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a metal sheet pan with parchment paper (or the locally available, Glad Cook ‘n Bake).

2 Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Using hands, work in the diced butter into the dry mix until the butter is the size of peas.

3 In a small cup, lightly combine the buttermilk and egg. Pour the wet mixture onto the flour-and-butter mixture only until moistened (you’ll most likely have a little extra liquid left).

4 In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with a small handful of flour and add this to the dough until roughly combined.

5 Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about six times. Roll the dough out until about half an inch thick throughout. Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter, or slice even-sized rectangles using a sharp, floured knife. Transfer onto sheet pan and brush the tops with the egg wash; sprinkle with salt if desired.

6 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until biscuits are browned and cooked through (for a smaller batch, lessen baking time). Serve hot or warm and store in zip-top bags or in an airtight container.

For shiny tops, brush dough rounds with egg wash before baking.

Mariel Chua is Yummy.ph’s official baking blogger. For breakfast, she scrambles eggs in hot olive oil sprinkled with red pepper flakes. To finish, she grates Cheddar cheese on top while the eggs are still steaming hot. On random occasions, she uses Gorgonzola.

(Orange marmalade photo courtesy of Smuckers.com)