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Bakers Share a Recipe for Simple Holiday Comfort

Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer relish a traditional treat in an untraditional time

melissa hamilton and christopher hirsheimer

Christopher Hirsheimer

Christopher and Melissa photographed at their restaurant, Canal House Station.

Before COVID-19, the holiday season was a time for in-person connection. Friends and family dropped by or caught up on news at the year-end swirl of parties. But this year things will be different. Traditions will be disrupted. So we decided to share one of our favorite rituals: the tender little cream biscuits we bake to eat every morning while we plan our day. After 25 years of working together as food editors, photographers and chefs, we know that this kind of ritual helps us think.

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Over the years we have baked many different biscuit recipes. The one we use now is quite simple: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and rich, heavy cream, for the fat, plus a little melted butter brushed on top, for a golden crust. Instead of cutting the dough into shapes, we pat the mix into a square or round pan and score the top for easy cutting.

This is a holiday season none of us will ever forget. Many tables will have empty chairs that should have been full. But if we can't celebrate in our usual ways, we can still do our best to share what comforts us. And we can look forward to reminiscing about it all next year, with our loved ones gathered around.

biscuit with ham on a pretty plate

Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer; Food Stylist: Melissa Hamilton

Cream Biscuits

16 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons salted
  • butter, melted
  • 2 cups (240 grams)
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking
  • powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with some of the butter.

Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add cream; gently mix with a rubber spatula until dough holds together.

Transfer dough to a floured surface. Gently form into a 7-inch square, transfer to pan and press into pan. With a sharp knife, score into 16 biscuits. Brush top with remaining butter.

Bake until top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked into center, 20–30 minutes. Cut biscuits while still warm, and let cool briefly before lifting out of pan one by one.

Nutrients per biscuit:

146 calories, 2g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 10g fat, 29mg cholesterol, 266mg sodium