Thursday, March 15, 2012

Biscuits, Fools!


Oh, god. How I love biscuits. The smell, the flake, the buttery-oft-salty warm deliciousness. How versatile they are. How domestic and unassuming. Perfect on their own, or with breakfast sausage, or sandwiching ripe strawberries and hand-whipped, lightly sweetened cream. Or whatever.

But for all that, for all their deceptively welcoming demeanor, they are unbearably hard to make. At least, for me.

My first ever, not under my Grandmama's careful eye, big girl batch of biscuits were roughly the size and consistency of river pebbles. I'm serious. “Rocks,” as in: they would not let you board a plane with those things.

Second batch, slightly better. No more broken teeth, at least...but you still wouldn't want to take more than one bite. Utterly flavorless and with the approximate consistency of 200 layers of tissue paper.

And third date, nonexistent. I got thrown twice and ain't gettin' back on that mustang.

Until now. Verily I say unto my fellow Southern (or otherwise) Ladies (or otherwise):

No more shall we fear the biscuit. We shall conquer the biscuit. And it shall submit.

I'm using Paula Deen's Mmm Biscuits Recipe. Say what you will about the woman, but there are times when ole Two Sticks of Butter has it right.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

You will need tools.

If you put in a tablespoon of sugar rather than a teaspoon, no worries. Just snatch that $#!* right back out of there.


Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like cornmeal. My butter was frozen, so rather than "cubes" I have "shards."

Wield the pastry blender. Note mixture trembling in fear in background.

Cut, cut, cut.

Measure out 3/4 cup of milk. What do you mean I'm not doing it right? Make a well in the flour and slowly add milk into the middle.

Knead dough with your fingers and add more milk if necessary. (Or flour. My dough was super moist.)

It was Michelle's idea.

Press dough onto a floured surface and roll out to desired thickness. (For a 1 1/2" diameter biscuit, this would be about 1/2")

Cut with a small biscuit cutter...or a medium-sized plastic cup. If you're hot like me. *Important: make sure the rim of the cutting device is well-floured, so it will slide through the dough without crimping it.

Oh THERE'S my small biscuit cutter. And friend.

What happens if your "cutter"isn't floured properly? Crimped edges and subsequent difficulty rising. When it's just one spot it's not a big deal, but imagine 
all around the biscuit.

Not cute. Or fluffy.

Butter bottom of pan or skillet (I had better luck with a sheet pan) and place biscuits close together. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden-brown.


Photo courtesy white flour-induced blood sugar spike. Let's climb the walls!


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