Peanut Butter Biscuits from Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook are simple, buttery biscuits enriched with peanut butter from an early icon of black cooking in America and her bible of classic soul food.
This summer I’ll be cooking from a fabulous collection of cookbooks by African American chefs, restauranteurs, and food gurus. I put together the list and shared the details in this post if you want to check out the books and cook along with me. For my first recipe I’m baking up peanut butter biscuits from Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook. This book is a reprint of a beloved Afro American classic from the 1960s that languished out of print for 45 years (it was the kind of cookbook you’d get super excited about if you spotted it in a thrift shop.) Princess Pamela (Pamela Strobel) ran one of the early soul food restaurants in New York City, and drew celebrities from all walks of life and corners of the planet to her tiny establishment. Her peanut butter biscuits sounded so simple and so irresistible I had to give them a try.
I mean, peanut butter biscuits? Come on.
The idea of soft pillowy biscuits baked up with creamy pb is mind blowing, although I shouldn’t be surprised because my peanut butter chocolate chip scones are one of my favorite recipes ever, and scones and biscuits are kissing cousins.
Apparently there was a similar recipe written up in a 1963 Peter Pan Peanut Butter Cookbook, but I’m guessing this concept is older than Peter Pan or Princess Pamela…biscuits and peanuts are both essentials in Southern cooking. Even so, there are few references to them on the Internet…we’ve got to fix that!
Make these peanut butter biscuits your own
Being a food blogger means tinkering with just about every recipe I try, and this was no exception, although I only made a small tweak this time. Princess Pamela calls for 2 tablespoons of pb, but I couldn’t help but add a third. The Peter Pan recipe goes even further with 1/4 cup, but you can’t fully trust that since they’re in the business of selling the stuff 😉 I also added a touch of sugar, which you can leave out if you like, but I think emphasizes the peanut flavor without reading as sweet.
Side note: Jif Simply Natural Peanut Butter’s my fave.
How to make peanut butter biscuits
Biscuits are a simple food and they shouldn’t be difficult to make. You will develop a sixth sense over time about when your dough is at the right consistency.
- I like to make my biscuits, scones, and pie crusts in the food processor. I find it does a quick efficient job and helps to keep the butter firm and cold, which is important to a flakey pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 450F
- Put the dry ingredients in the bowl and pulse to combine them.
- Add in the butter and peanut butter and pulse to combine into a crumbly texture.
- Pour in the liquid while pulsing, just until the dough comes together. The key here is not to work it too much.
- Turn out to a lightly floured surface to pat the dough into a flat disk. Roll out gently to about 1 1/2 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutters. (Do not twist the cutters as you cut, just press straight down and lift up.)
- Arrange the biscuits on a baking sheet or in a pie plate or other baking dish.
- Brush the tops lightly with milk or cream before baking.
- Bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on size, until risen and just starting to turn golden.
What to serve with peanut butter biscuits
It’s more like, what can’t you serve with these biscuits? Remember they’re not sweet, so they really can function like regular biscuits, going alongside soups and stews, or as a side with just about any meal. The peanut butter flavor is mild, although the aroma will drive you crazy as they bake.
My favorite way to devour them is at breakfast, with some great homemade strawberry jam. Or bacon. Maybe with a little maple syrup. Omg. And I couldn’t resist grabbing one straight from the oven and topping with more creamy pb. Oh my. (Be sure to have a cold glass of milk handy.)
Tip: all biscuits should be eaten hot from the oven. If you can’t do that, microwave them for a few seconds to bring them back to life.
This little book is worth owning if you love soul food or just want to try more of it. The recipes are super simple and cookable, in fact most of them list just a few ingredients and are a short paragraph long. Princess Pamela covers all the classics from hog jowls and turnip greens to grits and peach dumplings. I’m going to try her pork spoon bread next 🙂
Peanut Butter Biscuits
- 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (optional ~ it's not in the original recipe)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp cold butter (Princess Pamela calls for lard or other cooking fat)
- 3 Tbsp peanut butter (PP calls for 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup whole milk (you can use milk, half and half, or buttermilk) Plus more for brushing.
- Preheat the oven to 450F
- Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to combine well. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Dot in the cold butter and peanut butter, and pulse about 20 times to create a coarse crumb texture. If doing this by hand, cut in the butter and peanut butter with a pastry cutter or 2 forks until they are well incorporated.
- Stream in the milk while pusling the machine until the dough comes together. I find it helps to run the machine for a few seconds at the end to bring the dough together into a lump. If doing by hand, add the milk while mixing with your hands or with a wooden spoon, until the dough comes together and is not too dry or crumbly. You may need a little less or a little more than the cup. I usually need the full cup.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead or pat into a flat disk. I like my biscuits thick or I roll it out to a 1 1/2 inch thickness, but Princess Pamela specifies 1/2 inch thick.
- Arrange the biscuits in a 9 inch pie plate, or on a baking sheet, 1 inch appart. Lightly brush the tops with milk or cream and bake for about 15-18 minutes (less for thinner biscuits) or until risen and just beginning to turn golden. Serve hot with butter, honey, jam, or peanut butter.