Malted Buttermilk Biscuits for Linda


Sarah Linden is the name of the main character in AMC’s drama The Killing. Her colleagues call her Linden, because they are police officers and that’s how they roll. But for the first few episodes I misunderstood what they were saying and thought her first name was Linda. When he realized this, Bryan had a good laugh at my expense. I still call her Linda.

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Linda (played by the totally amazingly awesome Mireille Enos) is a tough nut to crack. Despite being kind of a shitty (though loving!) mom, a terrible partner (her poor fiancé!), and a loose cannon of a cop (what rules?!) she somehow manages to elicit an unusual amount of empathy from me. I love her. Love. I love her smarts. I love her sense of justice. I love her silence and her rage. I love her Fair Isle sweaters and somber parkas. I love her constant gum chewing. I love her ponytail.

I also worry about her. She doesn’t take care of herself. In fact, I think Linda has been uncomfortable for so long (both physically and emotionally) that it has become her normal. Consequently, I spend a surprising amount of time thinking about making Linda a nice home-cooked meal. Throughout the series we mostly see her eat out of vending machines, though I suspect there are days when she doesn’t eat much at all. She needs a break. She needs nourishment. She needs biscuits.


I would like to make her these malted buttermilk biscuits which, like Linda, happen to come from Seattle via The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. They are easy and delicious. A very crisp crust gives way to a tender interior with a subtle malt flavor. They should be made, and made often. Maybe you’ll serve them with some homemade orange marmalade. Maybe you’ll eat them while watching The Killing? Maybe they’ll write me and these biscuits into the third season of The Killing?


This is the second recipe I have loved from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook. It is a fantastic book and worth checking out if you’re a home baker.

Malted Buttermilk Biscuits (from the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook)

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, frozen for 15 minutes- plus some additional melted butter for brushing tops
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter over the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to distribute the butter throughout the flour.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and barley malt. Stir to blend thoroughly. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour-butter mixture, stirring with the rubber spatula just until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly and quickly knead the dough

to finish incorporating all of the ingredients. Then gently press the dough together into a flattened ball.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (remember not to twist! punch straight down and up). You can reroll scraps once, remaining gentle with the dough.

Place the biscuits about 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with a flaky sea salt (like Maldon).

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.


58 comments to “Malted Buttermilk Biscuits for Linda”

  1. This post cracked me up – isn’t it odd and wonderful that we get so attached to characters that we want to be friends with them! I haven’t watched The Killing, but now it is on my list :) These biscuits sound delightful!

  2. Fabulous premise to this post. Novel too. And let me tell you, I cover the blog waterfront big time. You made something fresh and new – my congratulations to you!

  3. Love this post! I, too, love The Killing and Linden (Linda)!! She so needs some yummy biscuits! :)

  4. What other tv characters do you want to feed? Mostly I just want to stuff hamburgers down the gobs of too-skinny starlettes. (:

  5. Tim, you’re the best. This post is hysterically funny, and the biscuits look amazing. Look at that lift! I haven’t seen any of The Killing yet, but maybe it’ll turn up on Netflix soon? If not, I suppose I could always make these biscuits and turn up at a friend’s who has cable?

  6. Katie! It is all on Netflix! Get thee to your TV. (and thanks!)

  7. These look fantastic! Love your correlation to The Killing too. Thanks for the motivation to check out a new show and new recipe! Cook on!

  8. I, too, thought her name was “Linda” for the first few episodes. Glad I to know I wasn’t alone. I love, love, love her as well. Her silences say more than most characters nonstop chattering. Not sure where you are in The Killing, but I enjoyed the second season even more than the 1st. And apparently a 3rd is in the works? Glad I’ll have biscuits to sustain me through another story arc. :)

  9. A few episodes? I’m pretty sure it was seven or eight.

  10. O.M.G. Layin it on THICK. If these people do not write you into the next season, I dont know who will. This post should go into the best of L&D.

  11. Love this. I, too, feel emotional attachment for characters on the screen…

    Now I am going to have to check out this book. I had been eyeing it but wasn’t sure — but I always, always trust your recommendations!

  12. iluvsweets says:

    March 28th, 2013 at 9:54 am

    She sounds like a female Jackson Brodie. I’m definitely making these biscuits soon! They look amazing.

  13. My emotional connection to a character came in the form of wishing Parker Lewis was my big brother. Weird, I know.

  14. I mean, he can’t lose– right, Nuala?

  15. OK Tim, now it is my turn to LOL. A+ humor!!! I love this post so much. Linda should be so grateful to have you looking out for her!

  16. Tim! I just finished this series last night and I can’t wait for a new case. I love Linda(en) and was pretty obsessed actually – I liked her look and attitude so much.

    I am making these for sure! I love this post!

  17. Love how you linked the story character with biscuits! Biscuits look delicious!

  18. I totally thought her name was Linda too! Although when I realized it was Linden, I kept that embarrassing little bit to myself.

    Either way, I’ll take those biscuits. YUM!

  19. I am so out of touch with current T.V. Finally watched “Game of Thrones” for the 1st time last night, and found it just okay — confusing and a little cheesy, to be honest. And I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve never even heard of “The Killing.” But I am completely on board with these biscuits, so I’ve got that going for me!

  20. elizabeth madden says:

    March 28th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    You are ridiculous. I love you and your biscuits.

  21. Yum! I’ve never used barley malt… where can you find it and do you use a power or syrup? or any suggestions for substitutes? I realize that last one may be a stupid question since these are specifically malted buttermilk biscuits… : )

  22. I stopped watching The Killing, but love your description of the very complicated ‘Linda’. I am still emotionally connected to the characters in The Wire, which is a must watch for TV fans. Those biscuits look amazing.

  23. Great post. Fun. Have not seen The Killing but I do remember Mireille Enos in her part on Big Love. Does anyone else remember? Aaah…loved that show. And the biscuits look awesome. Thanks!

  24. I’m a big fan of the Danish The Killing and the Sarah Lund character. I haven’t managed to catch the American series but whether it’s Sarah Linden or Sarah Lund she obviously deserves to have some buttermilk biscuits made for her as do we all.

  25. This is why I love you.

  26. I just watched the entire 2nd season of The Killing. I love her! Dena, I loved her in Big Love too. And I’m starting to love Holden – that surprised me.

    Tim, you are really stepping it up making food for fictional characters AND going even further in fiction with the rename ;) These biscuit look great.

  27. Oh, Julie, you’re worse than me! Everyone knows his name in Holder. ;)
    Thanks for all of the fun comments, folks!

  28. Love the Linden post- we watched 10 hours straight last week. So good. Let’s cook for Linden- such a good idea. Have you watched Luther? You’re in for a treat.

  29. How have I not seen this??? Thanks for opening my eyes…. and for those ‘killer’ biscuits ;)

  30. Cooking for a fictional character is always a fun activity. I never thought of putting malt into biscuits, but sounds great!

  31. oh, I loved this post as I have spent an unnatural amount of time thinking about what I would cook for my favorite TV characters. for example, olivia benson (the wonderful mariska hargitay, before she started grimacing all the time in the last three seasons) of law & order SVU. she spends so much time taking care of, and worrying about, the victims she’s trying to help on that show that she (like your linda) doesn’t really take care of herself. I so want to make her a nice dinner…or maybe some of these biscuits!

  32. Haha, ok so it looks like I’ve got another show to add to my rotation :) I’m only just diving into Walking Dead! Anyway, these biscuits look so flaky and so crispy. Love!

  33. Jenny- Yes, poor Olivia Benson has been rough these last few seasons. I miss the old her.
    Brandon- The Walking Dead is one show that does not inspire me to cook. ; )

  34. And here I thought I was the only person (besides those writing hilarious recaps on the Internet) who made it through the whole 2 seasons of The Killing! Those biscuits sound delicious, by the way.

  35. Barley malt syrup or powder?

  36. Best. Biscuits. Ever!

  37. I just discovered this blog (thank you, Wednesday Chef), therefore I just discovered The Killing and watched the pilot last night. Love this blog, love The Killing and am sure I’m going to love these biscuits when I figure out where to buy barley malt. Thank you, thank you! So much to look forward to!

  38. WHAT… they weren’t saying “Linda?”….I got so hooked on Netflix season 1 that I paid for season 2 on Amazon…first time I’ve done that! love it! Biscuits sound excellent – I have regular malted mild powder – will that do?

  39. WHAT… they weren’t saying “Linda?”….I got so hooked on Netflix season 1 that I paid for season 2 on Amazon…first time I’ve done that! love it! Biscuits sound excellent – I have regular malted milk powder – will that do?

  40. AH, love this post, love the The Killing! Just finished season 2 recently… in like one weekend. Also, to be fair, I’m pretty sure that Holder does call her Linda.

  41. I recently watched both past seasons of The Killing on Netflix within a 2 week period. I found myself strangely addicted to the quirky oddness that is Lindon. And Holder… wow. He looks and acts like a meth addict and talks like he has a mouth full of marbles. May I suggest that you give your delicious biscuits to Jack, though? Poor kid. Lindon might be a good cop, but she’s a terrible mother! “Here, Jack, you just stay in this scummy motel room for awhile while mommy goes out looking for a killer for 15 hours or so… no, don’t be scared. Those people in the next room over are just shooting up. Oh, and if anyone knocks, don’t let them in. It might be the murderer I’m trying to catch. Eat your fast food dinner, do your homework and get some sleep. I’ll be back in the morning (maybe).” Jack definitely needs the biscuits. Send some extra marmalade, too.

  42. I watched the first season of The Killing when it came out because it was shot in my neighbourhood and I loved knowing where they were at all times (except when they did overhead shots of Seattle, duh). But it kinda let me down – so many red herrings!! Maybe I should just watch season 2 to find out who the killer is! But I sure these biscuits won’t let me down one bit. Now, if I could come up with a biscuit to bring back Enlightened!

  43. I miss Dahlia. I used to buy those biscuits every so often on the way to work. They served them with quince jam, I think. SO GOOD.

    I also had sort of a fascination with Linda’s gum chewing. She made me want to chew gum myself!

  44. Margit Van Schaick says:

    April 1st, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I think King Arthur Flour’s on-line catalog sells malt powder. Thanks for the recipe!

  45. i really love the series! although a bit dragging, i still love it. mind boggling.:) and those biscuits look so delicious!

  46. Gawd this is amazing. SO amazing. More TV reviews/recipes for characters please!

  47. FOLKS- The recipe calls for barley malt syrup, not malt powder. They are different things. Feel free to experiment with malt powder, but you will end up with different results.

  48. OMG. The Killing. It is so good. Dahlia Bakery. Also good (nay; great). I love that show and am currently re-watching the first season because I’m from Seattle and I’m homesick. Linden (er, I mean, Linda) is just SO Seattle. ‘Specially her sweaters. I’m glad you’re feeding her. She needs it.

  49. Alyssa T. says:

    April 2nd, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I am a reluctant cook, but absolutely obsessed with your blog — the writing is sharp enough that one can enjoy it on prose levels which transcend the actual cooking part. This entry is a brilliant example. Absolutely hilarious.

    And psst! Give Holder some of those biscuits too! Fatten him up (and perhaps cure those undereye circles a bit?)! Love this, love your work.

  50. fortheloveofbutter says:

    April 2nd, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    how many biscuits does this recipe make?

  51. butterlover- it depends, I got 10-12 as written. Depending on size of cutter, thickness of dough, etc it could vary.

  52. Oh this post is everything. I watch “The Killing” mostly for Lind(a)en–no one makes chewing gum and never sleeping and a low ponytail look more appealing. And malt biscuits? Gimme a break I’m in love.

  53. Thanks for the post Tim! I haven’t got around to watching The Killing, but I HAVE got around to making the biscuits!(I wonder what that says about my priorities!)

  54. Just finished first season of The Killing. Got the Linden name but thought that Mitch was Midge. Told my husband that (an avid fly fisherman) that Midge would be a GREAT name for a new puppy and my friend (who brought the first season we watched together in two days) was like WTF? Who is Midge?? Whatever :) still think Midge is a great name for a fishing dog!! The biscuits look awesome!

  55. Hi Tim, have You seen the danish Version (“Komissarin Lund”)? I loved it and I felt similar as you about Sara Lund – she was getting more and more fragile and driven by her silent determination throughout the story.
    I do not know the US remake, but after your post I may feel like baking some cookies and give Linda a chance :)

  56. My husband and I watched both seasons of The Killing a few weeks ago. We didn’t sleep much. We just kept staying up way too late unable to turn off Netflix. So good! And Linden is amazing. And you’re right, she needs your biscuits.

  57. Jane George says:

    May 11th, 2013 at 11:01 am

    The Killing is the Bomb! Love Linden and her attitude.

  58. I watched the season premiere this week and immediately thought of this post. Linda still needs some TLC and biscuits.

What do you think?