When's a biscuit not a biscuit?
Depends on where you are, I'd say.
In India (where the English is of course a legacy of its British colonizers), and in many other parts of the world, a biscuit is the name for a cookie. Or a cookie's called a biscuit. You get my drift?
So when I first moved here, I was surprised to find out that a biscuit here wasn't a cookie at all but a flaky, sublime experience of layered deliciousness.
As you can tell, I fell in love with the American biscuit.
Especially buttermilk biscuits which have a really tender crumb. To recreate buttermilk in my kitchen without animal ingredients, I used soy milk and vinegar. It was perfect.
I cook these up every chance I get. They are an unsweet scone, really, and therefore perfect for any kind of topping from jelly to a dab of vegan spread to even a dollop of peanut butter. Or you can, of course, serve them up with any spicy gravy and a side of mashed potatoes. Yum.
I like mine stark naked, though, in all their golden deliciousness.
So here you go. Enjoy!
Mix and set aside to curdle:
1 cup very cold soymilk or almond milk
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Add to this:
5 tbsp transfat-free vegetable shortening (like Crisco) or very cold vegan "butter" like Earth Balance, chopped into small cubes.
With a fork or a pastry-cutter, mix the fat into the flour until you have a coarse mixture with no large pieces of fat. If using "butter," work quickly because you don't want the fat to melt.
Now add the curdled soymilk-vinegar mixture and mix quickly until the dough comes together.
Make a ball of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Now take the dough and roll it into about 1/2-inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter to cut the biscuits.
Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Reroll any leftover scraps of dough to cut more biscuits from it.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with a mixture of 1 tbsp soy milk and 1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil for a nice, golden-brown glaze. Leave about 1 inch space between each: don't overcrowd.
Bake the biscuits in a preheated 450-degree oven 10-12 minutes.
Cool on a baking rack.