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Recipe: Biscuits That Taste Like Everything Bagels

Thanksgiving rolls from cookbook author Julia Turshen’s new book, “Small Victories”

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Rolls are perhaps the least appreciated addition to the Thanksgiving menu. Take for example one of the most memorable episodes of Gilmore Girls. During “A Deep Fried Korean Thanksgiving,” what time-honored side was foregone in order to consume four full turkey dinners? The rolls. Look further South though and you’ll find the roll’s flakier cousin — the biscuit — is up to the task of filling (and emptying) a bread basket on your Turkey Day table.

Here, find a recipe from sought-after cookbook collaborator Julia Turshen for some truly fulfilling homemade biscuits. Featured in her first solo book Small Victories, out now, the recipe is a nod to a Southern-style biscuit with some New York influences in the form of everything bagel toppings. The recipe is flexible too, and can easily take additions like cheese, diced ham, and scallions. Moreover the skills used hand mixed biscuits can be applied to other baking tasks like the making pie crust.

Everything Biscuits from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories

2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp onion flakes
4 cups [480 g] all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp kosher salt
8 Tbsp [110 g] unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] cubes and chilled
1 1/2 cups [360 ml] buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. (You can skip this if you’d like, since all of the butter in the dough will keep the biscuits from sticking, but I love anything that makes cleaning up easier).

In a small bowl, stir together the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and onion flakes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk more than you think you should—this isn’t just to combine the ingredients but also to aerate them. Plus, how much easier is it to clean a whisk than a sifter, amiright?? Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture, rubbing it between your fingers until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the buttermilk until the mixture becomes a shaggy dough—no need to over mix here. Stir in half of the poppy seed mixture.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it out so that it’s about 1 in [2.5 cm] thick. Using a 2.5-in [6-cm] round cutter (or a juice glass), stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Pat the dough scraps together (do not overwork the dough), re-roll, and cut out more biscuits. You should end up with a dozen biscuits.

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the biscuits for about 1 hour. Baking them from cold will yield flakier biscuits (the butter will be slower to melt and will create more distinct layers); but if you don’t have time, don’t worry—the biscuits will still be very good.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450°F [230°C].

Right before baking, brush each biscuit lightly with buttermilk and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining poppy seed mixture.

Bake the biscuits until they’re risen and golden, 15 to 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking. Serve warm!

FOR CHEDDAR AND SCALLION BISCUITS, add a handful each of thinly sliced scallions and coarsely grated cheddar cheese to the dough (leave out the poppy seed mixture).

FOR CROQUE MONSIEUR BISCUITS, add a handful each of diced ham and coarsely grated Gruyere cheese to the dough. Don’t add the poppy seed mixture to the dough.

Recipe and photographs reprinted with permission from Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs by Julia Turshen copyright (c) 2016.

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