Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Biscuits Should Never Double As A Weapon

Once, when I was in junior high, my parents went on a business trip and left my sisters and I in the capable hands of our older brother. We weren't the kids that threw wild house parties,,,er, um....some of us weren't the kind to throw wild house parties and the 'rents had nothing to worry about....excpet maybe their ceiling fan.
Craving more than cereal and grilled cheese, Big Brother took it upon himself one night to mix up some chicken and biscuits-his favorite meal. Mom's baking powder biscuits were listed in a battered red Betty Crocker cookbook in the kitchen drawer.
After not so much as lifting a finger to help Brother Dear, we plopped ourselves around the family table to partake in what bore the resemblance of Mom's version of chicken'n'biscuits. Alas! our poor teeth were no match for the flour rocks in front of us. After much laughter and teasing, somebody pitched one into the ceiling fan revolving above us and it was on. Soon there was a scoring system that involved Mom's antique basket collection (oooowwww, we were bad) and not one of those biscuits even lost a crumb. 

And so, I give you my baking powder biscuit recipe in the hopes that you will never have to eat anything that resembles my Big Brother's well-intended weapons of intestinal death. This recipe dates back to 1933...the longer a recipe is remembered, the better it must be.

Preheat your oven to 400, IdaMae--a hot oven makes biscuits rise fast and-thus-makes fluffier biscuits.

In a bowl, blend together 4 cups of AP flour with 4 tsp baking powder and a tsp of salt. With your fingers, (the best kitchen tools you have), blend in the 8 tbs of either cold butter or shortening. (*Always work a cold fat in to your flour for good biscuits).
When the mix looks more like pie crust (never made a pie crust? oh dear!), work in approximately 1 1/2 cups of cold milk (or buttermilk if you have it).

Don't  try to blend the mix together for too long or you will have little piles of stone for dinner. Just mix together as long as it takes to get most of the flour together.

On a floured surface, flatten out your dough so it is a 1/2 inch thick. Now fold the  dough over itself and flatten down with your hands. (you do this so the biscuit will split in half when you've baked it).
Cut out with a circle cutter or with a jam jar or with a glass. With a 3 inch cutter, you will get 10-12 large biscuits.

Place the biscuits so their sides are touching-the friction helps the biscuit climb higher. Some people prefer to bake theirs in a baking dish with sides for this reason but it's not entirely necessary.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on the top. Wrap biscuits in a clean dish towel to keep hot until you are ready to serve.

If you don't over-handle the dough, you won't need to throw them into a fan, I promise.


Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the fun in that house. I would have chaperoned for you.

betty crocker said...

we were SO good-honestly. It's almost amazing that with such brilliance, we didn't even ever try half the stuff we could have. It was all just good clean fun

Joanne said...

I always cut up the butter before I add it, so it's about pea-sized - makes the not-handling easier.