Chef Carla Hall's biscuits - We had the best time on our IGLive... and those biscuits are killer!
Having Chef Carla Hall join me for making biscuits was such an exciting experience. Carla, as you know, came into the national spotlight as a contender on the fifth season of Top Chef, where she competed in the finals, but did not get the win. She came back three years later for their All-Stars season and, while she didn't win that round, she came out as the fan favorite. A slew of on-air jobs came after that, most notably her seven-season stint on daytime talk show, The Chew. Carla has published three cookbooks, opened a restaurant, become a motivational speaker, and even partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama for her Becoming book tour.
Besides all of that, Carla launched a movement called Biscuit Time, where she toured the US, making biscuits and celebrating the diversity of this country. Says Hall:
I love Biscuits. I love coming together with people to make something that we all love. Every culture has its own form of biscuits, and making biscuits is a great way to come together and share and celebrate our differences as we create something that we all have in common. Diversity should be celebrated, and inclusion needs to be proactive, and making biscuits gives us a fun opportunity to be mindful about both of these important things.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the dough
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
- 1½ cups cold cultured buttermilk (you can substitute half full fat sour cream and half whole milk)
- Spray a sheet pan with nonstick spray.Preheat your oven to 450º F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it completely into the flour mixture.
- Using a box grater, grate the cold butter into the flour. Toss until all of the pieces are coated.
- Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.) Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Gently mix the dough with a rubber spatula until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Transfer dough to the prepared work surface. Lightly coat your hands with flour and gently press the dough with the heels of your hands to form it into a smooth flat rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then fold it into thirds (like a letter). Press the dough out again, sprinkle with a little flour, and fold it into thirds again. This time folding in the open ends first. Repeat one more time. Dough should no longer be sticky.
- With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out dough rounds. Flip the rounds over so that the smooth sides that were against the work surface face up and place on the prepared pan, 1-inch apart. Stack the scraps and press and cut again. Refrigerate until cold, about 15 minutes.
- Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot.