Monday, November 29, 2010

Tender Flaky Biscuits

It's been downright chilly around here. Had to move my geraniums under cover on the porch because of the heavy frost that comes during the night. The photo above is a true winter sunset taken on the way home from work. Clear and cold!

When the evenings are chilly, a good beef stew warms you up and is hearty enough that I didn't even want to snack last night once I'd had some. I used the family recipe which I will post in a day or so. Then I made biscuits from scratch, something that I haven't done for ages.

Look at these tender, flaky biscuits! By using self-rising flour they go together very quickly. Since they bake in a pretty hot oven (400 degrees F.) they bake up fairly quickly, too. The whole process takes less than a half hour.

Never made biscuits from scratch? I warn you that you might never go back to the kind in the can in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. These taste sooooo much better!

The only trick to making these is to use a light hand. Cut in the shortening (or butter if you are feeling decadent...it works just fine)gently, and stir in the milk or buttermilk just enough to combine. These are NOT beaten biscuits. My mother taught us that a good way to shape them is to roll the dough out thinner than you want (again, gently), then fold the dough over itself, roll just a bit more, then cut out with biscuit cutter or a glass. I use a straight sided wine glass...the stem makes it easy to hold!

Biscuits Mom's Way
From Family Food, 1994

3 cups sifted self-rising flour (do not use all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup cold butter or room-temperature shortening (like Crisco)
1 to 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the shortening into the flour until consistency of coarse meal using a pastry blender or two knives. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently about ten strokes to form into a ball. Roll to a little less than 1/2 of the thickness desired in finished biscuit. Fold half of dough over the other half. Roll to 1/2 the thickness desired in the finished biscuit. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter (or glass).

Place on baking sheet. Leave about an inch between biscuits. No need to grease the baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 14 2" biscuits.

3 comments :

Katie said...

They look wonderful, I bet they taste great straoght from the oven. I'd eat mine for breakfast!

Next Sister Down said...

I haven't made biscuits from scratch in quite a while (Pillsbury Grands have been more my speed lately). But these biscuits have a special place in my heart. I remember the nights growing up when we had biscuits for dinner. They didn't appear often (mostly when we were having the beef stew or sometimes with baked ham). Dad would call, "Butter them while they're hot!" and we would run in to the dining room to join the buttering of the biscuits, which he would already have started. Each buttered biscuit was set back on the serving plate upside-down to mark which ones were buttered and which weren't. He liked to have them all buttered while they were hot from the oven so that the butter (probably really margarine in those days) would completely melt into the biscuit. I don't butter them all while they're hot anymore, so I no longer get that other slightly unusual treat: cold leftover biscuits that were buttered this way and stored in the fridge after dinner.

Elle said...

Katie, These are like savory scones, but they are indeed great for breakfast!

Next Sister Down, This is why you are the writer...the memories came rushing back...had forgotten the call to butter and the turning them upside down...those are the details that make for great writing and are usually beyond me. I do remember that occasionally we had real butter with biscuits ...and on grits ...and it made all the difference. Margarine is OK, but butter is excellent.