Standing at a crossroads between late-day dessert and breakfast sustenance, these biscuits are among the most fragrant treats you can bake, with an enticing aroma that seems to spread through walls. Case in point: When we baked them in our New Jersey shop, the dance studio next door would almost empty as salivating 'Tweens transferred themselves to our front door, asking, "Are they ready? Can we buy some?"
Yield: About 6, three-ounce biscuits
Time to make: 15 minutes active; 15 minutes oven dwell
Tools needed: Sharp knife. Cutting board. Large bowl. fork to stir. Two small bows. Bench knife or a bowl scraper or a spatula. Pastry brush or wad of paper towel
Note: The mixture of flours specified is the same blend as "Corona Blend".
Note: Freeze an entire stick of unsalted butter to achieve better, safer handling.
(Photos of the process are below. Click any photo to enlarge.)
1) Heat oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet or sheet pan with a piece of bakers parchment. Make the cinnamon filling by placing sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl and whisking to combine. Set aside.
2) Place in a large bowl the sorghum flour, the millet flour, the tapioca starch, the rolled oats, the salt, the sugar, the baking soda, the baking powder and the xanthan gum and whisk until thoroughly combined. Remove the butter from the freezer and cut a notch at the 5 Tablespoon mark. (see leftmost photo) Peel back the paper and use it to wrap the 3 Tablespoons you will not use. Holding the wrapped end, stand the stick on its unwrapped end on the plastic cutting board. With the other hand, beginning at the corners, use the sharp knife to "whittle" or "shave" the stick. Cut downwards, peeling off long curling bits. (see second-from-left photo) Every few strokes, pause and toss the butter shavings into the flour mix, then stir the mix with a fork to distribute the butter. If the butter starts to crack and resist as you whittle, it's still too cold. Rest it a minute or two. As you work your way down the stick you'll eventually get to the point when you must turn the stick on its side and cut across it to get the last few millimeters of butter. Toss these into the flour too.
3) Stir the flour/butter mix gently with a fork but do not break down the butter shavings. Add 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, reserving the rest. Stir gently to produce a shaggy dough with dry spots. (See third-from-left photo) Do not bring the dough into a cohesive ball.
4) Thoroughly dust a work surface with sorghum flour and turn out the dough onto it. Using your hands, gather the dough into a mound, then dust the top of the dough and lay the bench knife or bowl scraper down on it. Press down and/or tap with your fist to shape a rectangular block about 8 inches long. Mark the rectangle into approximate thirds. Sliding the bench knife or bowl scraper under one end of the dough slab, fold an end third up over the middle third, (see fourth-from-left photo) then the remaining end third up over the other two. Turn the dough rectangle 90 degrees and press/tap into a rectangle again. Mark at thirds again. This time, "paint" the center third with buttermilk and liberally sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mix across the painted area. (see rightmost photo) Fold an end third over the center, paint and sprinkle, then fold the last end third up over the other two. Repeat the folds with cinnamon/sugar one more time, then press the dough into a rectangle that's about 2 inches thick. Cutting straight down with a sharp knife or a biscuit cutter, divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Put on the prepared baking sheet. Optional: paint the top of the biscuits with any remaining buttermilk for a crusty finish.
5) Bake 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are edged with brown, turning the tray once. Remove to a cooling rack. Allow to reach a comfortingly warm temperature and EAT!