Tender, flaky drop biscuits slathered with creamy, orange honey butter. Great for mornings, afternoons, or even the holiday table.
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I’m a sucker for a tender, flaky biscuit, hot from the oven with creamy, melty, orange honey butter. In fact, these went straight to the freezer after photographing so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the entire platter.
Drop biscuits not only taste great but they are actually much easier to make than classic rolled biscuits, which require kneading. I call them drop biscuits because you literally mix the dough then drop them on a pan. I use muffin pans to help make taller biscuits, but a sheet pan works too. For you that means there is less time and less mess standing between you and biscuit heaven.
Hot and fresh from the oven, the orange honey butter sets them apart. Creamy butter is whipped with honey, orange zest and a pinch of salt. The flavor takes these biscuits from a bread basket staple to a stand alone treat.
This recipe has been handed down for generations in my family and somewhere something evidently got lost. I remember as a kid Grandma would let us help roll out the biscuits on the countertop and use a drinking glass to cut them before baking. I was told that this is that recipe, but knew the first time I tried it that there was no way it was the same. This dough is way too sticky for rolling.
I tried adding more flour, but without finding the right balance between soda and baking powder it didn’t get enough rise. Not to mention that you now end up with a lower percentage of butter in the mix, which resulted in dry biscuits that had the texture of a rock. Then I realized that maybe the recipe itself isn’t the broken part.
So I tried dropping the dough onto a sheet pan, and baking them that way. What I got was tender, flaky, misshapen biscuits. They were good, but the shape made them difficult to split apart and slather with the orange honey butter.
A few weeks later, while perfecting my Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins, inspiration hit. Why not bake these biscuits in a muffin tin?? I tried it and it worked like a charm. The muffins get slightly more lift and maintain all that tender flaky goodness. They also have a much better shape than when baked on a sheet pan.
I used my stand mixer for this recipe, but they also come together easily by hand. The recipe calls for real buttermilk, but growing up we always used an alternative mix of egg, milk, and vinegar. I’ll happily use buttermilk if I have it on hand, but I’ll chose the alternative over an extra trip to the store any day!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and set out a stick of butter for the orange honey butter. Keep the biscuit butter cold until you are ready to use it. In your mixing bowl combine together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda. Mix to combine, then grate in the cold butter as seen in the above picture.
I find grating the butter to be much easier than using a pastry cutter or mixing the whole thing in a food processor. Simply run the butter through the largest section of your hand grater and then combine it with the flour. Your mixer will do it on a low setting, but mixing by hand or with a spoon works too.
Once the butter is in pea sized crumbles add your buttermilk or buttermilk alternative, and stir just enough to combine. The dough will be sticky and possibly slightly lumpy. Liberally butter your muffin tins, or line them with paper. I love the way that the real butter adds an extra sweetness to the crust of the biscuits, but using a baking spray or liners will get the job done too.
Divide the dough among the pans, trying to get them as even as possible. If you have any dough making odd looking peaks, dampen your finger tips with water and gently tap them down. Those peaks will cook faster than the rest of the biscuit, leaving you with burnt bits. Bake the drop biscuits in a 450 degree oven for 15 – 18 minutes. The tops will turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the muffins are baking, you have time to make the orange honey butter. Place the now room temperature butter in the bowl of your mixer. Whip the butter until smooth then add in the honey and orange zest. It’s important to make sure your zest is in tiny pieces and that it doesn’t contain any pith or the honey butter will taste bitter. I used a clementine and zested it using a microplane, which did the job wonderfully. Continue whipping until the honey and orange zest fully incorporate.
Let the biscuits cool for 5 – 10 minutes on a cooling rack before popping them out of the muffin tins. When you are ready to eat, tear them apart, slather on the honey butter and watch it melt right in.
If you don’t want to eat all of these biscuits at once, they freeze up wonderfully in a freezer safe zip top bag. When you are ready to eat, place a single frozen biscuit in the microwave for about 15 – 25 seconds. It will come out hot and ready for orange honey butter, just like if it was straight from the oven.
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Drop Biscuits with Orange Honey Butter Recipe
Drop Biscuits with Orange Honey Butter
For the Drop Biscuits:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup of buttermilk *see notes
For the Orange Honey Butter:
- 1/2 cup of butter 1 stick
- 4 tablespoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and set out a stick of butter for the orange honey butter. The biscuit butter should be kept cold until you are ready to use it.
Make the biscuits:
- In your mixing bowl combine together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda. Mix to combine. Using the large section of a hand grater, grate the 5 tablespoons of cold butter into the flour mixture, then mix to fully incorporate.
- Once the butter is in pea sized crumbles add your buttermilk (or buttermilk alternative*) and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky and might be slightly lumpy.
- Generously butter your muffin tins, or line them with paper muffin cups.
- Divide the dough among the pans, trying to get them as even as possible. Gently tap down any dough peaks using fingers dampened with water.
- Bake the drop biscuits in a 450 degree oven for 15 - 18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Make the Orange Honey Butter:
- Place the now room temperature butter in the bowl of your mixer.
- Whip the butter until it's smooth then add in the honey and orange zest.
- Continue to whip until the honey and orange zest are fully incorporated.
*If you don't have buttermilk on hand combine together 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon of vinegar in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Beat the egg then add low fat milk up to the 1 cup line. Make it first and let it sit while you make the rest of the biscuits.
The total time is only 30 minutes if you make the orange honey butter while the biscuits are baking.
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