Monday, September 14, 2009

Homemade Biscuits

HOMEMADE BISCUITS

Good morning, ya'll. Come on in the house for a little cooking session. For those of us who grew up in the South, there were several recipes you had to have and know how to cook if you were anybody. These included biscuits, cornbread, pie crusts, yeast rolls, chicken pie, pound cake and cheese straws. If you couldn't cook these and cook them well, yo mama had not raised you right. My mama did a good job and my Home Ec teacher, Miss Leacy Newell carried on the tradition. So, I thought I would help out those of you who were not raised in the South or those whose mamas didn't know how to make a good biscuit so couldn't pass it on.

I had a dear friend who is now with the Lord who couldn't cook diddly. She was unmarried, a good housekeeper, but ate out all the time. Occasionally she would call and say, "Miss Betty Crocker, how do you do such and such?" So, today, I am going to play "Miss Betty Crocker" and dedicate this to Mary.

Now I know we have whop-em biscuits in a can, and frozen biscuits which are pretty good, but there is nothing as good as a good, home made biscuit. Biscuits are not difficult to make if you remember a few guidelines. You want to sift your flour, although some recipes do not tell you to do this, have your shortening and milk cold, handle the dough like you would your man - very carefully and tenderly. This is a cook from scratch recipe that mama used and I use - just basic.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups sifted plain flour (you can use self-rising flour and leave out the baking powder and salt)
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tablespoons butter or shortening (I prefer the butter flavored Crisco)
1/2 tsp. salt
about 3/4 cup milk

Sift Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cut in shortening or butter. (I use my hands by rubbing the butter into the flour). Add milk gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed. Use a fork to stir the dough and do not beat, just blend. The dough will be a wet dough, not stiff. If it is a dry, stiff dough, you will have tough biscuits. If this happens add a little more milk. Turn out on slightly floured board and lightly "knead" for about 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick but I like to shape it into a ball and pat it out with my hands. If you use a rolling pin, roll it with a LIGHT touch. Cut with 2 inch, floured biscuit cutter. When you cut, don't TWIST your cutter. Push down and lift up. Bake on ungreased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 12-15minutes. Makes 12 biscuits. Cook only until lightly browned on top.

If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use an empty can you have washed well or a glass. My great-grandmother used a clean, empty, snuff can for little biscuits when she had company. You can use any shape you like and some people cut them into squares with a knife. Whatever suits your fancy.

I like to make choke 'em off biscuits when I am in a hurry. When the dough is ready to cut, I roll it into a "snake", pinch off about a handful, roll in my hands about twice, and pat gently. Don't roll it like play dough - gently, gently.

This an easy baking mix recipe - I use several baking mixes, they are all about the same.

BAKING MIX BISCUITS

2 ¼ cups baking mix
2/3 cup water or milk

Mix lightly until dough forms a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 10-12 times. Roll dough about ½ inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch cutter or the rim of a glass dipped in flour. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes on an ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. For drop biscuits, use 1 cup water and drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Makes one dozen.

*For cheese biscuits, add ¼ cup cheddar cheese
I like to make drop biscuits from a baking mix.

Additions for any biscuit recipe - 1/2 cup grated cheese or 1 Tbsp. Italian Spice mix or grated cheese and 1 tsp. garlic powder.

To make a strawberry or other fruit shortcake -before baking, sprinkle the top of the biscuits generously with sugar. When baked, split, put the fruit in the center, replace top, add more fruit and top with whipped cream.

Mama liked to make mayonnaise biscuits and they are easy and good. They are a drop biscuit and quick to make. Don't laugh till you try them.

Mayonnaise Biscuits

Ingredients
2 cups Self rising flour
1 cup Milk
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise

Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Mix mayonnaise with flour, then add milk. Stir until smooth. Spoon into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
You can add a little Italian seasoning or some grated cheese. They are tender and flaky.

Miss Sally Bennett gave me this recipe and it is really good.

Quick and Easy Sour Cream Biscuits

•2 cups self rising flour
•1 1/2 cups sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl thoroughly mix the flour and sour cream.
Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. You can also use a lightly greased muffin tin.

Now that you know how to make biscuits, what are some ways to serve them. Butter, jam, jelly, fruit spreads are always good. For a quick breakfast, split, butter and place a slice of ham, sausage patty or cooked bacon between the layers. Now if you are a good Southerner, you know to split them and add butter and syrup - cane syrup. We also would add fresh cream with the syrup.

For a party treat, roll thin, cut with small cutter, bake, split and put a sliver of ham and a small dollop of strawberry jam.

For holiday breakfasts - place a pretty basket full of hot biscuits on the table, and surround with bowls of butter, jams, jellies, slices of ham, fried bacon, sausge patties,and fruit spreads and let each person make their own favorite biscuit sandwhich. This is limited only by your imagination.

As children, we would take the cold ones, hold them sideways, punch a hole in them, pour syrup in the hole and run outside before it dripped on the floor. Good mid-morning snack.

Our daddy liked for mama to take the leftover, if there were any, split, butter and toast. It is good!!! Mama would also take them and make biscuit pudding with homemade raisin sauce. You see, we never threw away food - you know the starving children in China?

I hope this will take away the mystery of making biscuits for it really is easy. Just remember to have cold shortening and cold milk, mix with a fork and your fingers, roll gently and don't twist your cutter. If you need help, call me and I will come show you how.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach

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