Before the “sweet” baking took over my ovens at Provisions Bake Shop, we would do some savory catering. One of our most popular appetizers was our basil biscuits with ham. They were always a huge hit.  I’m sure we made thousands of them over the years!

So when I started planning a “sweet celebration” for my new grandson, I thought the biscuits would be a perfect counterpoint to the many  sweets I had planned.

I posted the photo on Instagram and Facebook and immediately received multiple requests to share the recipe. So- here goes!

Basil Biscuits

In this recipe, I find that the most tender results come from mixing the dough with your hand. My most inspiring teacher was Master Pastry chef Albert Kumin. In our Breads and Doughs class, he held up his scrupulously clean hand with his fingers slightly curled and announced: “This is the best mixing tool that God has given you”.

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment


2 cups All Purpose flour (10 oz)

1 TBS Baking Powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

½ cup minced fresh basil

1 ¼ cup to 1 ½ cup heavy cream

1 TBS melted butter


In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, pepper and basil.

Slowly add the heavy cream mixing with your hand until the dough comes together and no dry particles remain. Stop adding cream as soon as the dough comes together. Depending on the weather this could take 1 cup of cream up to 1 ½ cups.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 4 or 5 times.

Roll or pat the dough into a circle about 1/3 inch thick.

Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough into desired size. This recipe yields about 15 biscuits using a 2 ½ inch diameter round cutter. Re- roll the scraps one time and cut.

Place evenly on the baking sheet.

Make an indentation with your forefinger in the middle of the biscuit. This helps keep the biscuit even on top. Brush with the melted butter.

Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

When cool, split the biscuits in half. Spread with a dijon mustard- mayo mixture and pile on ham.

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Alternately, now that tomatoes are at their peak, fill with tomatoes and a sprinkling of sea salt. My lunch for today!

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