I feel very strongly about biscuits. The vast majority of restaurants gets biscuits plain wrong. And biscuits in "other" (non-Southern) cookbooks are too buttery, salty, greasy, or cakey. The best, absolute best breakfast biscuit I have ever had made outside of the kitchens of cooks I trust was at a sweet little brunch locale in Savannah, a place called B. Matthew's Eatery. (Get the Eggs Benedict or the B. Matthew's Basic Breakfast. Holy smokes.) This biscuit was everything that I love about biscuits: light, fluffy, hot, with a sprinkle of dusted flour leftover from homemade batter that didn't quite get baked through. No superfluous butter. No greasy layers. Grandmother's raised biscuits are like this, as are Bill Neal's buttermilk biscuits that I make with that chicken pot pie.
The main difference between this biscuit and a traditional buttermilk biscuit is the incorporation of butter over shortening. In a drop biscuit, the butter is melted and combined with cold buttermilk until the mixture forms little yellow butter clumps. This biscuit batter is stickier and more fluid than your basic rolled biscuit dough, and the result is a biscuit that is rich and buttery - but in a good way. Promises.
In all this biscuit discourse, bacon really takes a back seat. I found that the maple bacon (a recipe that my brother developed) really complemented these delicious, hot biscuits. To top it off, we made half the biscuits with fried basil and the other half plain, for the non-adventurous biscuit people among us (which were none). Do yourself and your family a huge favor by serving these biscuits steamy hot from the oven with warm maple bacon, fresh fruit, and plenty of jams and jellies.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
10 ounces all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
If adding basil, fry 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves in about a teaspoon of light olive oil. When crispy and fragrant, transfer to paper towel and pat dry. Let cool for a couple of minutes before adding to biscuit dough.
Preheat oven to 475 F. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. Combine melted butter and buttermilk and stir until the mixture forms small clumps.
With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, combine flour and buttermilk mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix! You do not want to end up with rubbery biscuits.
Scoop out biscuits onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until tops are crisp and golden.
10-12 strips thick-cut bacon (I prefer low sodium)
1/4 cup real maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lay bacon strips on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with half of syrup. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until bacon is crisp and sizzling. Remove from oven and drizzle with the rest of the syrup. Return pan to oven for another 2-3 minutes, until bacon is crisp and smells delicious. Bacon will be sticky so take care when transferring to a serving plate.