Tuesday, January 19, 2010

favorite biscuits

Sometimes I'm asked to share this recipe. It's one my family has used for decades. It was on a calendar, back in the 70's (that's my childhood, folks, I'm not that old), and was intended to top a chicken pot pie. One night, mom mixed up just the biscuits, and a new family favorite was born.

2 c flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cream of tarter
2 t sugar
1/2 c butter (room temperature)
2/3 c milk

preheat oven to 450F
stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tarter, and sugar
cut in cold butter with a pastry blender
add milk and mix gently until it forms a soft dough
dough should not be sticky - add a little flour if it is, but go easy or they'll end up like rocks
pat or roll out on floured board to about 3/4" or thicker, and cut with biscuit cutter (or anything round, like an empty, clean soup can or a drinking glass)
place on ungreased baking sheet (you should have about a dozen)
bake at 450F for 10-12 minutes

super easy! once you try it, you may never eat refrigerator biscuits again. I certainly don't. I use this for anything requiring a biscuit dough - like pigs in blankets or for topping a pot pie. roll a little thinner if you're doing pigs-in-blankets (or sausage rolls, as the English like to call them) so the biscuit doesn't overwhelm the pig/sausage/hot dog. They're terrific plain, and they work nicely for a biscuits-n-gravy dish.
One of my brothers makes this using frozen butter, grated into the mix. He says they're lighter, plus, if you forgot to leave the butter out to soften (I always forget), you can grab some out of the freezer instead.
It's also nice to mix this up just to where you would add the milk, and instead, put away in freezer, in labeled baggies, so you can have biscuits on a busy morning (save yourself that whole 5 minutes it would take to cut in the butter...). Split the mixture in half and only use 1/3 cup of milk when you just need a few biscuits. You can also use dry milk (I forget the proportions, plus I think they may be different for different brands, but enough for about 2/3 c mixed up) instead, and then later you'd only need to add 2/3 c water. You do need to keep the mix in fridge or freezer, though, since it has butter in it.
Pretty sure the original recipe called for margarine (it was the 70's) but I haven't been on speaking terms with that item since my 20's. I know what's in butter, and I'm willing to take whatever risks come with that. Not so sure about what it is they put in margarine. It's not even margarine anymore, it's vegetable oil spread or some such appetizing name.

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