These biscuits have been a long time coming!
I make them every year, and I’ve mentioned them at least twice on BGSK, in my 2011 and 2010 Thanksgiving posts. I think I glazed over them in my write-up of the house dessert spread. But somehow they never quite got a post devoted to them, because the timing is bad. I make them on Thanksgiving, and you should too–so if I post about them after the fact, it’s really of no use to you.
This recipe started life as a simple Joy of Cooking rolled biscuit recipe. At some point, instead of cutting out circles, I started rolling coils of biscuit dough like clay and braiding three together, like challah. To make the dough easier to work with in this, um, artistic fashion, I slowly increased the proportion of cream to butter over the years. The result is a dough that’s no less fattening than the original. It’s a bit easier to work with, though, and it creates biscuits that are nice and crunchy on the ends but flaky in the middle wen you pull apart the braided strands.
Braiding 60 to 70 biscuits is no small job. Whipping the dough up in the food processor isn’t a problem. It’s braiding and braiding and braiding that leaves me highly caffeinated yet tired, my hair obscenely frizzy. Of course I’m also happy and satisfied with a job well done.
As are my cousins. Randi, Hallie, Jordyn, and Rachel adore Thanksgiving’s braided biscuits. At some point, these biscuits, which I pull from the oven just as dinner is served, became a cousin favorite. You should see this skinny girls grab at these buttery biscuits. A sight for sore eyes.
These biscuits contribute a lot to the table besides taste and sustenance. Piles of these adorable braided breads are great decoration for a Thanksgiving buffet, if you can find the time and the counter space to roll and braid, roll and braid.
From my kitchen, where I’ll be hard at work rolling and braiding my biscuits, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Makes 2 dozen
After many years of beating around the bush, my cousins have officially rejected the whole wheat variation of these biscuits, pictured above. Honestly, they don’t taste that different from the plain white, and I think they make for a nice presentation. To make a batch whole wheat, replace 1/2 cup of the white flour with wheat.
For our Thanksgiving of about 18 people, I usually make 3 batches–yielding about 70 biscuits. I like to braid them several hours in advance then keep them covered on baking sheets in the fridge. I put the biscuits in when the turkey comes out, about 15 minutes before we’re set to eat. Then I pile them immediately into napkin-lined biscuits.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
about 2/3 cup cream
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to mixe. Add the butter and process until mixture looks crumbly. Add the cream and mix for about 30 seconds until the dough becomes a ball.
Flatten the ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours.
Keep a bowl of flour on hand to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and your fingers. Pull off a walnut-sized piece of dough. Roll it into a strand that’s about 1/2-inch thick in diameter and 5 inches long. Repeat with two more strands. Wedge the three ends together, then braid them. Finish by clamping the ends together with your fingers. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have lots and lots of braided biscuits arranged about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for about 12 minutes until golden and slightly puffed. Use a spatula to remove from the sheet and place in a basket.
**The Communal Table**
This recipe is participating in Food Network’s virtual Thanksgiving party, The Communal Table. Check all the wonderful, celebratory dishes below, and join the conversation on twitter using hastag #pullupachair.
Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Liquor.com: Thanksgiving Cocktails
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Braided Biscuits
Epicurious: Chestnut and Sherry Soup
Yahoo! Shine: Spicy Caramelized Onion Jam With Goat Cheese
Whole Foods Market: Mixed Green Salad With Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons
FN Dish: Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey
Eatocracy: Country Ham With Pickled Peaches
BlogHer Food: Root Vegetable Pot Pie With Cheddar Biscuit Crust
Cooking Light: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing
Bon Appetit: Maxine Rapoport’s Turkey Stuffing
EatingWell: Green Bean Casserole
Serious Eats: Ultra-Crispy Roasted Potatoes
Food Republic: Cavatappi With Fontina and Fall Vegetables
Healthy Eats: Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots
Saveur: Green Beans and Tomatoes
Diner’s Journal: Fiery Sweet Potatoes
Real Simple: Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots With Rosemary and Pecans
The Daily Meal: Bacon Brussels Sprouts
AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce
Food.com: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Food & Wine: Michael Symon’s Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin
All You: Sweet Potato Bake
The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma: Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie
Southern Living: Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
Cooking Channel: Apple Bread Pudding
Fox News: Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies
Gourmet Live: Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
Melissa Clark: Sweet Potato Ginger Custard Pie
MyRecipes.com: White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote