During the cold winter months, a hot, hearty breakfast can make all the difference in a day.  This recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook is a wonderful way to start a morning.  Enjoy!

buttermilk biscuits

2 cups cake flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2  pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

11/2 cups buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for brushing

2 to 3 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2  ounces) unsalted butter, melted

These biscuits bake up light and fluffy. It’s important not to overwork the dough, which would make the biscuits tough. To that end, we pulse the butter and dry ingredients together in a food processor, then turn them out into a bowl and gradually work in the liquids by hand. You can serve them with some good butter and raspberry jam, and perhaps a sprinkle of fleur de sel, but they’re so good you might want to eat them as is, straight out of the oven. We serve these with fried chicken, but they make a good brunch accompaniment and also work as a strawberry shortcake biscuit for dessert (see page 2).

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the fl ours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add the chilled butter and pulse several times, until the pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas. Do not over process; the dough should not come together.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the buttermilk. Stir and lift the mixture with a sturdy spoon, gently working the flour into the buttermilk. The dough should begin to come together but not form a solid mass, or the biscuits may be tough.

Dust a work surface with fl our and turn out the dough. Pat the dough into a I-inch-thick rectangle. Using a 2H-inch round cutter, cut out the biscuits. (If the cutter sticks to the dough, dip the cutter in fl our before cutting.) Place the biscuits on the baking sheet. The dough trimmings can be gently pushed together, patted out, and cut one more time; do not overwork the dough.

Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with buttermilk. Bake for 15 to

18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a rich golden brown. As soon as you remove the biscuits from the oven, brush the tops with melted butter. Serve warm. MAKES 12 BISCUITS

Excerpted from AD HOC AT HOME by Thomas Keller (Artisan Books).
Copyright 2009. Deborah Jones photographer.