How to make coconut oil biscuits
I unexpectedly cracked the code on coconut oil biscuits earlier this week. I had zero intentions of sharing this recipe so soon but a fierce craving resulted in some fierce recipe testing (I finally got my groove back and it feels. so. good.) and before I knew it we had five different batches of biscuits hanging out in our pantry. Which isn't a completely terrible problem to have, except when three of the five batches are considered "mostly inedible" and your dude has given you a complex about disposing of food when there are people outside our bubble who don't have access to food the way we do. But what's worse - giving second-rate biscuits to houseless folks or throwing them in the garbage?
Don't answer that.. because we need to get down to business.
First things first: you're going to take almost everything you know about traditional biscuit-making and throw it out the window. Because traditional biscuit recipes are made with butter (or animal fat) and - contrary to popular belief - coconut oil doesn't behave like butter. And treating it as such will only make for a big pain in your ass because have you ever tried cutting cold coconut oil into flour? If not, let me save you some time: it's not fun. Also? Pockets of flavorless coconut oil are inferior to pockets of flavorful butter. What I'm trying to say is.. pockets of flavorless coconut oil = GROSS, you guys.
So we're making new rules for these biscuits. There's no cutting cold fat into flour and no need to chill along the way. Which means - from start to finish - you can have soft and tender biscuits in less time than it takes your oven to preheat.
Unlike other how to posts I've done, you don't need any special tools or ingredients to make these coconut oil biscuits. But what you do need is to familiarize yourself with the folding technique that gives biscuits their layers, because that's what we're using here and it makes a world of difference when compared to vegan biscuits made from dough that bypasses the aforementioned technique. The layers, you need them. Otherwise your vegan biscuits are going to be mediocre and there's not much that irks me more than mediocre vegan baked goods.
Notes: If you want to use spelt flour, knock yourself out (just make sure you go by the weight measurement). Gluten free flour can be used but you'll want to increase the baking powder to 1 tablespoon (12g). One thing you need to be mindful of is that you don't overwork the dough. If it's still wet in spots after you've mixed in the buttermilk, don't sweat it - everything will come together once you start folding the dough. For sweeter biscuits, add 1 tablespoon (12g) cane sugar. If you'd rather make vegan butter-laden biscuits, you'll probably want to find a new recipe because you'll need to use a method that involves chilling.
COCONUT OIL BISCUITS
2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tablespoon (10g) potato starch
1 teaspoon (6g) fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
6 tablespoons (65g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 cup (215g) almond buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a small baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, potato starch, salt, and baking powder. Drizzle the oil over top and use your fingertips to work the oil into the flour (you need to either use a pinching motion or a motion similar to this). Work the mixture until the oil is evenly distributed and you're left with something that looks similar to photo #2. Create a well in the center and pour in the almond buttermilk, then use a spatula to gently fold the bottom over the top until evenly combined; do not overwork. I repeat: DO NOT OVERWORK. A few wet and/or crumbly bits are ok - as is lumpy looking dough - as everything is going to get worked out during the folding process.
Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle liberally with flour. Tip the dough out onto the floured surface and pat into a rectangle (or an oval) that's 1/2-3-4" thick (heads up: you want the long side to be facing you). Sprinkle the dough with flour then fold the dough over on itself in thirds, similar to how you'd fold a letter. Rotate the dough 90˚ so that the long side is facing you, then repeat the patting, flouring, and folding process once more. Once the dough has been folded two times, pat it out - I promise this is the last time - into a rectangle that's 1/2-3/4" thick then use a 3" cutter to cut six biscuits (or just cut the biscuits using a sharp knife so you're not left with any scraps). You can pat the scraps together to get two more biscuits but I wouldn't recommend it. Transfer the biscuit dough to the prepared baking sheet and brush with almondmilk, if desired. Bake at 425˚F for 14-15 minutes; just until they start to get golden speckles on top. Enjoy immediately (preferably smeared with coconut cream and jam). If needed, biscuits can be kept for up to 24 hours but are best straight from the oven.
Yield: 6-8 3" biscuits