Everyone loves a food with a funny name, though this one may border on slightly disturbing. If one is completely unaware of what the name does signify, it’s entirely plausible to gravitate toward thinking about a biscuit quite literally made out of a cat’s head. Rest assured, this is never the case. We do not eat housecats in America, thank goodness.
No, cat head biscuits are so named because they are larger-than-usual biscuits that are “the size of a cat’s head.” Also, they are typically a bit rougher on their tops, and thus someone long, long ago remarked that it looked like the top of an orange tabby cat’s head. The name stuck and here we are today.
These biscuits really are huge. I tried to demonstrate with photographic evidence that they are indeed the size of a cat’s head. Alas, Watson would NOT cooperate with posing for a picture, and this is the best I could do.
Despite Watson’s insubordination, they are everything you would want a giant biscuit to be: flaky, so buttery, tons of beautiful biscuit flavor. Perfect for hogging or sharing! I hope y’all enjoy them!
Source: slightly adapted from Southern Biscuits by Nathalie Dupree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup well-chilled unsalted butter, roughly cut into ½-inch pieces
1 ½ cups well-shaken cold buttermilk
¼ cup melted butter
reheat your oven to 400 F.
In a large, wide bowl, gently whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Scatter the ¼-inch pieces of butter over the flour mixture, then use your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender to work the fat into the flour until it looks like well-crumbled feta cheese. Now scatter the ½-inch pieces of butter over the fat and repeat the process. If this process took longer than 5 minutes, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to chill.
Now make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir with a rubber spatula, using broad, circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the buttermilk. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You can add up to ¼ cup more all-purpose flour or up to ¼ cup extra buttermilk if the mixture is too wet or too dry, respectively.
Lightly sprinkle a large cutting board with some all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the board and sprinkle the top lightly with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat out into a ¾-to-1-inch round. Dip a 4-inch biscuit cutter in flour, then stamp out biscuits. Be sure you stamp in an up-and-down motion and do not twist your wrist. This makes the biscuits tougher.
Brush a light layer of the melted butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Transfer the biscuits to the skillet as you stamp them out. Reroll the scraps and stamp out more biscuits until you use up your dough. I got 9 biscuits. Place them all in the skillet, as close together as possible. Pour the remaining melted butter over all the biscuits, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven, let the biscuits cool slightly, then serve hot.