Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sour Cream and Chive Biscuits

I really do love Taste of Home's recipes. My sister Heather got their "Family Collection Cookbook" out of the library on our last visit, and I've enjoyed browsing it the past few days. Does anybody else out there read a cookbook like a novel - front to back, every page?

I copied down 3 or 4 recipes that I want to try, and the only one I've made so far is this biscuit recipe, which went nicely with supper last night. I snapped it up at first because I saw the word "chives." This is our first year having fresh chives available to us in the back yard, and I'm having fun learning about all the dishes they can be used in.

The above picture is from the Taste of Home website, and I used it because the biscuits really turned out looking like that. That's what I love about ToH - I've only ever had one of their recipes flop on me! (Those of you who are regular readers know that such a status is indeed worth something!)

Of course, I didn't leave the recipe "as is." I tweaked it to use unbleached flour, and butter instead of shortening (ick!), but other than that the recipe remained the same.

...Except, of course, that it did not make 12-15 biscuits. I rolled the dough more like 1/2" thick instead of 3/4" thick, and got eleven biscuits. Oh well. These are so good.

It took me about 10 minutes to chop the chives, and I still finished these well in time for supper. Sitting out there on the wooden edge of the garden bed, black kitchen scissors in hand, chopping chives, I was very happy. The white 1/4 measuring cup was balanced in my lap, and I held the scissors so that the little snips of chives fell right into the cup. The pungent odor of the chives mixed with the more subtle scent of the rosemary next to my knees. My fingers got slightly sticky from where the chives mashed a little between my fingers, and I held my hand up to my nose for a whiff. Wonderful.

The evening sun was hot on my head and arms, making tiny beads of sweat run down my skin, but all I kept thinking was "who else could do what I'm doing - putting ingredients straight from the ground into the measuring cup?" I know other people grow their own food, but right then I felt like a princess with a monopoly on pleasure. God had made me supremely happy by the simple - yet complex - gift of a clump of green chives.

Here's the biscuit recipe.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur flour gives best results!)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 butter
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup minced chives


In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With a fork, stir in sour cream, milk and chives until the mixture forms a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, knead five to six times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-in. biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 12-15 biscuits.

~ Save about 1/8 cup of the flour called for in the recipe, and use that when you knead the dough, instead of adding more flour. Otherwise your dough might get too dry.
~ When kneading, try to make "layers" as you fold the dough, and don't roll the dough out so roughly that you pack those layers all the way together. Let them be lightly stacked - you'll have flaky layers in your biscuits that way.
~ Cook these on a pre-heated baking stone! A real help in achieving that perfect crisp outer crust.
~When you place your biscuits on the stone, turn them upside down, so that the part of the biscuit that touched the table when you cut it out now forms the top of the biscuit. I read somewhere that this practice will make your biscuits rise more, and this was the first time I'd tried it. It certainly does! Very nice tip.


Leah said...

My Mom was looking for something that would go well with supper tonight, I read your post, showed it to her and she knew what to make. Thank you Amber!

Amber said...

Oh I'm glad, Leah! Please let me know how you like them. :)

Anna said...

Wow, I am going to try these sometime!
They look so good!
My mom has a cheese biscuit recipe which is delicious, if you ever want that.
And isn't nice having fresh herbs? My mom uses them quite a bit in her cooking and they make things taste so much better!

Leah said...

They were great! We have not yet mastered biscuit making so they did not rise as high as the picture shows, but they did rise more then any biscuits we have made. Thank you for the tips as well, they were a big help.
The only thing in the recipe that I would change is to add more chives. :)
Thank you Amber!

Jenny P. said...

Mmmm those look yummy! I've been reading cookbooks like novels lately too; I came into a couple boxes from the 1950s-70s a few months ago. So much fun!

Amber said...

I hope you do have a chance to try them, Anna. Let me know what you think if you do! The cheese biscuit recipe sounds delish. I would love you to share it. :)

I'm so glad the turned out well for you, Leah! Here you go folks - proof that I'm not biased! They are indeed splendid biscuits. :) But more chives would be good. :):)

Jenny, you make me a little envious; wherever did you find boxes of old magazines like that? I bet there's a lot of great pictures in there! And recipes too?

Jenny P. said...

Mostly recipes, very few pictures actually. I attended an estate sale here in town and purchased two huge boxed for $1. One cookbook, "The Thrifty Cook," has so many wonderful veggie recipes that you just don't find in modern cookbooks.

I got about 30 different cookbooks -- far more than I need. Would you and your family have any interest in some?

Sarah Jane said...

These look so good. Your own particular butter biscuit recipe is the ONLY one I use now so I'm eager to try any recipe suggested by you! I haven't had breakfast yet, am very hungry, and these look amazing. I'm going to try them tonight.

Yes, I read cookbooks like novels too! My 2 year old Fannie Farmer is falling apart because I read it so much! (although I rarely use a recipe from it. ..) I like Taste of Home too, as well as Cooks Illustrated.

Amber said...

Wow, Jenny P., those do sound great! Especially for the price. :) I've never been to an estate sale. Are they fun?

I have also noticed that modern cookbooks need to have more recipes that include veggies. :)How sweet of you to offer some of those magazines to my family! I don't know what to say. I would love to see one of them, ...but are you sure you don't want them yourself?

Sarah Jane - you made me feel so special by saying that my biscuit recipe is the only one you use! :)I turned out so many flops before perfecting that recipe - I'm glad someone besides my family can benefit from all that trial and error!:):) I'm sure you will love this sour cream and chive recipe too.

I was given a Fannie Farmer cookbook as a graduation gift, and I love reading it. I've never read any Cooks Illustrated, though. What's it like?