On blustery winter weekends I love to have hot breakfasts–oatmeal, quickbreads, tofu scrambles with veggie bacon, and…biscuits!
When it comes to perfecting a standard, I look no further than the wisdom of chef/TV personality Alton Brown. Sure, his recipes are not vegan, but the science behind why he does what he does is so well explained, you can see what you can (and what you cannot) substitute. As a former scientist myself (once upon a time I was a physicist, weird, right?) I can tinker and play with the ingredients that have some flexibility, and keep true to the chemical reactions needed to make the food exist in its best possible (vegan) state.
Today, I made the platonic ideal of a biscuit. I even did that thing they do in commercials where I held a plate of fresh hot biscuits under John’s nose while he was sleeping and woke him up with the warm bready smell. This veganized version of AB’s recipe came out so flaky and delicious I couldn’t believe it was as easy as it was.
This is one of those recipes perfect for mornings where you’re half asleep and don’t quite have your baking mojo going yet. Enjoy!
Vegan Southern Biscuits
(adapted from Alton Brown’s Southern Biscuits recipe)
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s fresh and a good quality brand, this is where the acid and thus the puffiness comes from)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, cold
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 cup soy creamer, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub Earth Balance and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled soy creamer. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough [Note: I don't have a biscuit cutter (HELLO UNITASKER) so I used a glass cup that was about two inches in diameter]. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. [AB's Note: Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.]
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes. [I find that when cooking with vegan butter, less time is usually better. Check them at 10 minutes. They will probably be done by 15.]
Serve with more Earth Balance, fruit preserves, or Choc and Nut spread!