Spiced orange buttermilk biscuits with “Playhouse” honey


I have a vendetta against breakfast pastries. They are merely pretending to be dessert, but not going all the way. With a breakfast pastry, you get all the calories and fat of a truly scrumptious sweet, but not the flavor, texture, and sugar of a decadent dessert cake. I know many of you will argue to the contrary, but I’d MUCH rather chow down on a white chocolate chunk cookie or a red velvet cupcake at 8am than eat an unexciting muffin or scone for breakfast. Biscuits are my exception – they aren’t masquerading as sweets, though. And, unlike many morning confections, biscuits retain a delicate balance of moisture, flakiness, and crumble to which no other pastry can compare.

One of my favorite memories from college is waking up at my friend Lana’s house with homemade buttermilk biscuits in the oven. Lana introduced me to this AM treat using the classic recipe from Joy of Cooking, and I marveled at how easy they were to make. When visiting Lana in her hollywood apartment two years ago, my one request was for these biscuits (I’m convinced, food always tastes better when made by someone else). Since then, I’ve tried experimenting with that recipe, adding different flavors, like pumpkin, to the dough. In trying to use as much fresh citrus while it’s in season, this morning’s batch incorporated orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice into the dough, along with some spices to complement the flavors. As is, these biscuits are fantastic; the orange flavor popped, but next time we might try adding even a little bit more nutmeg and cinnamon to try to get their spiciness to shine through as well. Together, Lucas and I devoured six biscuits within 20 minutes of their emergence from the oven – a testament to how much we loved them.

We served the biscuits with honey harvested from my childhood playhouse. Last June, my mom discovered a family of bees had set up camp through a knot in the exterior wall of my playhouse in her backyard. I’m confident there have been generations of bees in those walls before this particular colony built their home; as a child, I discovered dead bees all over the floor one afternoon, which ended my days of frequenting this home away from home.

As luck has it, we have an urban bee keeper in the family who harvested the honey from my playhouse walls and relocated the hive (read more about the cool stuff my urban farmer cousin does here).

These bees yielded ten jars of “Playhouse Honey,” which added just the perfect amount of sweetness to the spiced orange buttermilk biscuits.


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  1. You know how much I enjoy a good pastry with my morning coffee! These biscuits are making me drool!

  2. Oh, they turned out beautifully! I’ve never made biscuits myself, but it’s on my to-do list. Love your story about the honey–that is crazy!

  3. Tara says:

    I made these yesterday for breakfast and they turned out great! I increased the nutmeg to 1/4 and the cinnamon to 1/2 per your suggestion. Those ended up being the perfect amounts for me.

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