All about biscuits: recipes from Jackie Garvin

Jackie Garvin has been on a quest to find the perfect biscuit recipe. She found it, along with dozens of other biscuit recipes! They are all showcased in her new cookbook: Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen.  

Garvin provided Good Day Atlanta with a few of those recipes on Wednesday. 

Tavern Biscuits: 

Yield: about 3 dozen (2½-inch) biscuits

Preheat oven to 400°

"This recipe first appeared in Mary Randolph's The Virginia Housewife in 1824. The dry ingredients were listed in weights and not measures with which American home cooks are familiar. I weighed the dry ingredients and converted to measures. Soft winter wheat flour is lighter than standard wheat flour. I substituted ground ginger for mace because I had ginger on hand and rarely use mace. I estimated "a glass of brandy" to be four ounces. This slightly sweet biscuit has a marvelous flavor and the appearance of a historical biscuit."

  • 3½ cups all-purpose soft winter wheat flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ½–¾ cup milk

  1. Add flour, sugar, nutmeg, and ginger to a large mixing bowl and stir.
  2. Rub or cut in butter until the flour resembles coarse meal. Stir in brandy.
  3. Add milk until the dough is wet and forms a soft ball.
  4. Turn out onto a well-floured surface. Roll out to rectangle ¼-inch thick. Cut with a 2 ½-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour.
  5. Gather scraps and repeat.
  6. Place biscuits on a baking sheet that has been greased or covered in a baking mat.
  7. Prick the tops of the biscuits a few times with the tines of a fork. Brush tops with cooking oil.
  8. Bake for 17 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Check carefully during last few minutes of baking to make sure the bottoms are getting too brown. Remove them if the bottoms are browning too much.

Brandied Apricot Jam and Goat Cheese (with Tavern Biscuits)

Yield: 6 to 8 appetizer servings 

"I found Mrs. Dull's Tavern Biscuits so interesting, I wanted to come up with a way to use them on a cheese board in the same manner as crackers. While they're slightly sweet, the flat appearance and tiny holes make them favor crackers more than modern biscuits. A tangy cheese, such as goat cheese, would offset the sweetness of the biscuit. Brandied apricot jam would complement the brandy in the biscuits. Since apricots were out of season, I experimented with dried apricots to make the jam, but I could never get it just right. Adding brandy to a good-quality commercially prepared apricot jam and heating produced the desired results."

  • ½ cup quality apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Tavern biscuits 

  1. Add apricot jam and brandy to a small sauce pan. Heat until the jam melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and chill before using.
  2. To serve, top the cheese with a small amount of jam and spread on tavern biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Yield: 12 to 15 (2.5 inch) buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 450°

"This is my standard biscuit recipe. Buttermilk contains a mild acid that further tenderizes the already tender southern winter wheat flour. The flaky layers are the result of pea-sized pieces of butter left in the dough and a folding technique that builds layers similar to puff pastry. If you want to perfect one biscuit recipe for your favorite collection, this is it. Folks are fools for hot, flaky buttermilk biscuits."

  • 2 cups soft winter wheat self-rising flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk

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