Even without a slathering of butter or jam, an average biscuit can pack a pretty mean caloric punch. We reduced the calories in these by reducing the amount of butter by half and replacing the shortening with cream cheese. The whole-wheat flour gives the biscuits a hearty taste and a chewy, flaky texture.
HOW TO MAKE THE BISCUITS
1. Use a combination of frozen butter and light cream cheese: Freeze the pieces of butter and cream cheese until solid, about 1 hour, then, using a food processor, pulse them into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Freezing the butter and cream cheese makes it possible to process them into the dry ingredients without smearing, producing biscuits that are tender, rather than gummy.
2. Stir in the buttermilk: Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently stir in the buttermilk by hand with a rubber spatula. This ensures that the dough is uniformly combined but not overmixed.
3. Knead the dough: Lightly flour the counter, your hands, and the dough, then knead the dough until it is uniform, about 8 to 10 times. Kneading the dough helps to develop the gluten, which produces tall biscuits. By comparison, unkneaded dough will produce squat, dense biscuits.
4. Stamp, don’t twist: Pat the dough into a 9-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out 12 biscuits, gently patting the dough scraps back into a uniform 3/4-inch-thick piece as needed. Do not twist the cutter as you stamp or the biscuits will bake up lopsided. Pat the small piece of remaining dough into two more biscuits with your hands (these last biscuits will not look as attractive as the others, but will be just as tasty).