Courtesy of Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson (Wiley, 2011)
|1 1/2 cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour||1/2 teaspoon salt|
|1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon stone-ground yellow corn meal||2 tablespoons granulated sugar|
|2 teaspoons baking powder||8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks|
|1/2 teaspoon baking soda||2/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries|
|1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar||1 cup buttermilk|
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Have several heavy cookie sheets or rimmed sheet pans at hand.
For the dough, whisk the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Scatter over the chunks of butter and, using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the fat into the flour until reduced to pearl-size bits. With your fingertips, lightly crumble the fat into the fl our for 45 seconds (reducing the butter to smaller flakes of varying sizes). Scatter over the cranberries and toss lightly to disperse them. Pour the 1 cup buttermilk over the fruit and butter–enhanced dry ingredients and quickly stir to form a dough, using a wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle. The dough should be moderately soft and hold its shape in a spoon; add 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of buttermilk, a little at a time, if needed, to achieve this state. Give the dough 4 or 5 quick kneading turns in the bowl, using a rubber spatula. Let the dough stand in the bowl for 1 minute.
Drop heaping 2-tablespoon-size mounds of dough onto the baking pans, spacing the mounds about 3 inches apart, and arranging 9 mounds on each standard-size sheet. Keep the mounds tall and plump.
Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until set and a spotty golden color on top. The undersides of the baked biscuits will be a medium golden color. Lift off the biscuits to a cooling rack, using a wide off set metal spatula. Serve warm.
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