The bliss of a freshly baked biscuit is worth the effort—all that measuring of flour, cutting in of butter, rolling out of dough. These are treats to serve with love and pride. Problem is, a traditional biscuit may set you back 300 calories or more. Add fruity preserves and a smear of butter—or, in the South, a piece of salty country ham—and you have quite a rich breakfast. It's true that canned biscuits aren't as caloric, but they can deliver sodium and trans fats. We set out with two goals: lighter biscuits and less prep time.
Getting that fluffy texture while using less butter is a trick, and speeding up the recipe is also a challenge because it's the cutting in of cold butter that takes a lot of the time. Here is the breakthrough: We stir melted butter into cold, fat-free buttermilk and let everything get lumpy as the butter congeals, at which point those little pockets of butter disperse evenly throughout the batter, allowing us to use half the amount of the original.
White whole-wheat flour adds nutty, whole-grain goodness, and a touch of canola oil keeps the biscuits nice and tender. No pastry blender or rolling pin is required—just mix, scoop, and bake until puffy and golden. Our lighter, made-from-scratch drop biscuits come together as fast as you can pop a can—and leave a little wiggle room for all those tasty toppers.
• 312 calories per serving
• 10 grams saturated fat
• 502 milligrams sodium
• 133 calories per serving
• 2.6 grams saturated fat
• 305 milligrams sodium