Recipe :: Basic Biscuits

Sep 17, 2010 by

Morning, Noon, or Night,
A biscuit is never an unwelcome visitor to your plate.

First, a note about how I cook.
I am a pretty decent cook.  This is 98% because of genetics; when you grow up Cajun, it’s just embedded in your DNA, male or female.  And the other 2% is because I’m really good at research and experimentation.  I am not the kind of person who makes up recipes on the fly, or dumps ingredients into a bowl without measuring them.  I am the kind of person who takes three similar recipes and experiments by Frankensteining them together until I forge one for myself that is the tastiest and most efficient.  I feel like this is a boon for you, Person Who Might Try One of These Recipes.  Because I don’t have a secret or a flair, I’m just thorough and good at following directions.

Now.
In an effort to be able to make it an entire month without eating out, I have begun researching basic recipes that I can tailor to my own needs, that are also versatile enough to be used in a variety of different ways.  And what’s more pleasant at any meal than a biscuit, you may ask?  Not a whole lot, is my response.  They can be sweet or savory, and stuffed with just about anything your heart desires.  Also they are extremely portable, for bringing to work or potluck dinners.  In short, learning to make biscuits would be a very smart move.
Now, I can remember my mother making biscuits from scratch when I was a kid, but since moving out on my own, I have become a big fan of the whack-a-biscuit.  You know what I’m talking about.
yeah, that.

These tube biscuits are perfectly flaky and delicious, as well we know, but I have always been slightly perturbed by the perfectly round little margarine nodules that they inject into them, not to mention that the convenience of these tasty treats is reflected in their price.  A quick look at the ingredients list reveals such horrors as bleached flour and partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil, in addition to way more ingredients than I remember my mother using.  Just to be completely informed, I took a look at Good Guide’s Biscuit Ratings, and suspicions were confirmed: trans fats (eek!), high sodium, and General Mills (which owns Pillsbury) has a company rating of 5.8–not great–scoring particularly low in corporate governance.Thankfully, as it turns out, making your own biscuits is stupid easy.
So that was a pretty swift decision on my part.

Basic Biscuits
Ingredients
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

1-2 tbsp butter, softened


Optional Add-ins
1/4 cup chopped green (or yellow, or white, or pruple) onions
1 cup shredded cheddar (or other) cheese

1/4 cup chopped jalapeño (or other) peppers
honey
cinnamon
diced garlic
dill
brown sugar
peanut butter
berries
ground chocolate chips
Nutella
nuts


Procedure

  1. Set oven to 450 degrees
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
  3. Add shortening to dry mixture and combine with your hands until the ingredients become crumbly
  4. Add milk slowly, pausing to combine by hand, until a ball starts to form.  Add butter.
  5. Add in any additional ingredients until well mixed
    • tip: keep flour on hand so that if you add a juicy ingredient (like berries or jalapeños) you can add in more flour as needed to keep the dough at the right consistency
  6. On a lightly floured surface, press dough into 1/2 inch thickness.  You really don’t need a rolling pin, your hands should be fine.
  7. Cut with a floured round cutter or small cup.  Or use a cookie cutter in any shape for extra super fun times!
  8. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown
    • tip: for extra umph, brush each biscuit with melted butter just before you put them in the oven
Yields 10 large or 14 small biscuits.
Serve warm.
To reheat, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for 15-20 seconds on high.

These are of the green onion-cheddar-jalapeño variety

Here we see the garlic-dill-olive oil type
Working on some Nutella-cinnamon-chocolate chip ones here (serve with honey)

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