Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

I got this recipe from my trusty BH&G cookbook - still one of the best basic cookbooks around in my opinion.  This was the first time I have ever made biscuits, but I'm still on my baking kick and I had buttermilk in the fridge so again I figured, "Why not?" and tried it out.  I also decided I need to always keep buttermilk it the fridge because I keep finding uses for it. 
Now I've watched a lot of Food Network and seen different chefs make biscuits several times.  The one thing they all talk about is how the first biscuits you cut out are always the most tender because the more you work and knead the dough the tougher it gets.  Not having any biscuit cutters anyway (although you can use a drinking glass if you really want to) I took a page out of Ina Garten's book and just made them square by simply cutting them out with a knife.  They certainly turned out nice and tender!  We made them into little egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches and they were a big hit at our house.

3 cups AP flour (I'm sure you could use some or all whole wheat here, but I would soak it in the buttermilk)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into smallish cubes (this makes it easier to cut in)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar.  Using a pastry blender (or a large fork or even your fingers) cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in flour mixture and add buttermilk to it all at once.  Stir with a fork until just moistened.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead just 4-6 strokes until dough comes together.  Pat or lightly roll until dough is 3/4 inch thick.  Cut out with a biscuit cutter or use my method - pat the dough into a rectangle and then just use a knife to cut them into square/rectangles.
Place on ungreased baking sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
NOTE:  Mine did not brown.  They still tasted great, but if you want them to be all nice and golden I would suggest brushing the tops with milk, melted butter, or an egg wash before baking.

P.S. Normally I would try to post a picture but none of mine turned out very good.  I would have kept on trying to get a good one but we were hungry!


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