Posted on July 24, 2013
Note: A few friends have asked me recently to re-post my biscuit recipe. It doesn’t have much to do with feminism or parenting or politics, but biscuits are delicious, and so here is my post from June 2011 about how I like to make biscuits.
A couple of years ago, I discovered that my sister Karen had never made biscuits before.
“WHAT?” I asked, shocked and dismayed. “But that means you can never have biscuits at the slightest whim!”
Karen said she didn’t know how to make biscuits, and that she’d never tried.
How awful, I thought. How sad! To go through life without making biscuits! I promised her they were easy to make and wished her biscuit-making success. I told her I’ve always used Mom’s recipe, and they turn out just fine. They’re not hard to make at all!
It wasn’t long after that that I discovered that people really do think of biscuits as some difficult food. I even went to this fun cooking club meeting with my Grandma Ruthie at Christmas, and many of the women there (most of whom were closer to Grandma’s age than mine) admitted that they never made biscuits, and when they did want them, they made them from a can.
I grew up on my mom’s biscuits. We got to request a special breakfast every year before our birthday, and there was never a question what I would ask for. My other siblings might ask for pancakes or French toast or scrambled eggs with ketchup, but I only asked for biscuits.
The morning I went into labor, I got up early to mix up some biscuit dough. I figured I should have some in the freezer before the baby came. And of course, I ate those two dozen biscuits within Ruthie’s first couple of weeks. Nothing is better than popping a couple out of the freezer and enjoying them with butter or honey or jam just fifteen minutes later!
Tonight I got out the flour and the cream of tartar and the cookie cutter, and I set about making five dozen biscuits. I have two friends that had babies in the last week, and I hope they enjoy having frozen biscuits on hand as much as I did. While I was prepping the dough, I snapped some photos so I could share my recipe with you. Well, I should give credit to Mom, whose taught me to make them. And really, it is pretty easy. So easy that I’ve never messed them up!
Ingredients for a Big Batch (about 60 biscuits):
8 c. flour
5 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
½ c. sugar
2 c. shortening
2 2/3 c. milk (This is actually a great way to get rid of just soured milk, like the whole milk I had in the fridge for Ruthie, even though she generally refuses milk altogether.)
Step One: Mix the dry ingredients. Mix them well. Nobody likes a big chunk of baking powder in their breakfast treat.
Step Two: Add shortening. Cut it in with a fork until it crumbles.
Step Three: Add the milk. Stir it all together and make sure that you get the crumblies from the bottom of the bowl mixed in.
Step Four: Roll out onto your counter until it’s about ½ inch thick. It can be flakey, but you want it to be evenly rolled. Cut with a cookie cutter. (Or, if you’re like me and didn’t actually own a cookie cutter until recently, you can use the lip of a plastic cup. Or a glass cup. Or whatever else you want to use, really.)
Step Five: Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 450 degree oven.
Other than the cream of tartar, which I sometimes have to make a special trip for, I think everything else is pretty standard in most kitchens. Unless you don’t cook with shortening, I suppose.
My favorite part of this recipe is that these are so easy to put into the freezer and save for later. My only suggestion is that you freeze them on a cookie sheet or cutting board, separated by parchment paper if you’re stacking them, before you put them into a bag. That way, they don’t freeze together.
I can’t wait to take these over to my friends and their new babies!