Rosemary and Black Pepper Olive Oil Biscuits

For as long as I can remember, my dad has made a particular type of biscuit. He whips them up in about ten minutes at the drop of a hat. Since we never had a biscuit cutter, they’ve always been the shape of an old Chex tumbler that’s been kicking around in the cupboard since god-knows-when. They go well with just about anything – and growing up in a family that loved starches, well, we had them with just about everything. Spaghetti? Time for biscuits. Soup or stew? Biscuits, of course. They’re even good with sweet dishes – cut the salt, add a little sugar and vanilla, and you’ve got a nice base for a strawberry shortcake.

I like my dad’s biscuits. A lot. They lack the mouth-coating greasiness of quick breads made with shortening. They don’t take as long, nor are they as fussy, as yeast rolls. They’re versatile. Because of that, they’re one of the first recipes from my childhood that I started making once I was on my own. It took me a few tries to get them to turn out the way I remembered. Then, I started creating my own variations. This recipe is one of those variations (which I created to go with a rabbit stew we recently made) – but I’ll give the original recipe as well, so that you can start from the basics if you like.

Also, in the spirit of my dad’s original recipe (and the recipe card my mother gave me), I’ll provide large and small ingredient breakdowns (with the larger amount in parenthesis), since this recipe can be scaled up as needed. I usually make the smaller amount unless I know I’m going to be feeding a crowd.

rosemarybiscuits

Rosemary and Black Pepper Olive Oil Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour (3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 2/3 cup milk (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp salt (1.5 tsp)
  • Coarse-ground black pepper to taste (I used about 8-10 turns of the mill)
  • Rosemary to taste (I used about 1 tsp)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly (I use a wire whisk – it’s quick, easy, and not nearly as messy as using your hands).
  2. Combine the milk and oil and stir until roughly emulsified (I use the same whisk as the previous step – efficiency!).
  3. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix them together until they’re more or less combined. This dough is quite sticky, so I recommend using a spoon to stir – you will never get it off your fingers.
  4. Fold and knead your dough 6-10 times, depending on how it feels. This isn’t a finicky recipe, so you won’t ruin things by working it a bit too much (though your biscuits might be a bit firmer).
  5. Lay out a piece of waxed paper on your table/counter (moisten the surface before setting the paper down to prevent it from curling up). Set your dough on the waxed paper and lay another piece on top – a little waxed paper sandwich, if you will. Roll the dough to about 1″ thick, maybe a bit less, and cut it into rounds. You can use a water glass, biscuit cutter, or anything else that gives you a nice clean edge. I typically cut mine into 2.5″ rounds.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 425F. Evenly distribute your biscuits on a baking sheet, and bake them for 10-12 minutes (check for browning – don’t let the tops or bottoms burn!)
  7. When done, the biscuits should easily break apart at the middle – they should be flaky.

 Note: To make these biscuits the way my dad does, use canola oil instead of olive oil, and omit the black pepper and rosemary.