November marks the beginning of orange season here in Florida and I am excited about the large influx starting to come in. Oranges are such a versatile fruit, making their way into many recipes from savory to sweet. Navel oranges are usually the first to be ready with their long growing season, from November to April. Compared to Valencias oranges, Navels have a firmer skin great for zesting and are usually seedless. Their juice quickly becomes bitter. If planning on using the juice in the recipe, juice the amount needed right when you are mixing in the ingredients.
I used Navel oranges to make these Spiced Orange Buttermilk Biscuits. The hints of orange, nutmeg, and cinnamon give these biscuits a pleasant autumn flavor. The dough was easy to bring together. There are many ways to cut the butter into flour mixtures for biscuits. I use a pastry blender, like the OXO Good Grips Dough Blender with Blades,shown in the photo above. Other ways include using a food processor, two knives, or your hands.
Tips for making flaky buttermilk biscuits:
- Work the dough just enough to bring everything together. Overworked dough becomes dense and tough.
- Get the dough ready quickly after the butter has been cut in. If you have to take a break (to tend to a 6 month old, like me), stick the dough in the refrigerator to keep the butter cold. The colder the butter, the flakier the biscuit.
- When using a cookie cutter, cut straight down. Don’t twist.
- Brush excess flour off the tops and bottoms of the biscuits before placing them on the baking sheets.
- Use a lower protein flour. Low protein flours are best for quick breads and cakes.
Spiced Orange Buttermilk Biscuits
Adapted from Snixy Kitchen
8-10 3 inch biscuits
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 orange
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
juice from 1 1/2 oranges (1/3 cup)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Grate in orange zest.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers until the pieces are no larger than the size of a pea.
Mix in buttermilk and orange juice with a fork until combined. Knead just until the dough comes together. The less the dough is handled, the more flaky it will be.
Pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits with a circular cookie cutter (a 3 inch cookie cutter yields 8-10 biscuits) and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.