Why This Recipe Works
Recipes for beaten biscuits date back to a time before leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda were commercially available and call for the baker to beat the dough to both trap air and develop gluten. Modern recipes for these biscuits are much less of a cardiovascular workout, relying on a stand mixer or food processor to make the dough. In addition, to achieve the flaky texture of a biscuit combined with the crunch of a cracker, we embrace modernity and use a small amount of baking powder: only 2 teaspoons for 2½ cups of flour. Pulsing in 8 tablespoons of cold butter in the food processor keeps the biscuits pleasantly tender without getting too crumbly. Just a little sugar enhances their flavor and makes their exteriors of our biscuits nicely crisp. In addition, the bite-size shape of our “Derby” biscuits makes them perfectly suited to splitting open and layering with country ham, beer cheese, and red pepper jelly.