Friday, December 29, 2006

Baking-Powder Biscuits

I was given a delightful cookbook for Christmas by a wonderful friend. In addition to terrific "receipts", Tasha Tudor offers family stories and her famous illustrations. One of my favorites is this one:

I love the homey feel it evokes with the happy children and food in the old fashioned "butt'ry".

Yesterday afternoon I wanted to make something my husband and I have always called "warm and buttery", so I looked through my new cookbook and found these biscuits. I have tried many, many biscuit recipes and these are the best I've ever tasted.

I'm going to include the author's words about the biscuits.

Baking Powder Biscuits

I serve these hot from the oven with fresh creamery butter and homemade raspberry preserves that I have bottled myself from my own raspberry patch. Occasionally, I like to add a grated sharp cheese, such as Vermont cheddar, to the dough as I mix it together.

1 farm-fresh egg, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
2 cups unbleached flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening

Preheat the oven to 475º F. and grease a cookie sheet.

Crack the egg into a 1-cup glass measure.
Mix well with a fork.
Add milk to the 3/4-cup mark and mix well again.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Lightly mix in the shortening with your fingers.
Stir in the milk mixture, taking care not to overwork the dough.
On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with
2 1/4-inch floured biscuit cutter.
Place the rounds 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake the biscuits in the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, until nicely browned.

My notes:
I used butter (I ALWAYS use butter).
The flour was half white and half whole wheat pastry.
I mixed in the butter with two knives.
I don't know what size my cutters are but the recipe made 14 biscuits.
And I didn't dare to put the oven at 475º so I baked them at 450º and they were done in a bit over five minutes. I would say to keep a close eye on them to be sure they don't burn.
We did indeed eat them hot from the oven with butter and jam.
Delicious with a cold glass of milk.


  1. Oh BLESS YOU! I am so glad that your first note was that you used, and always use, butter! I may be single-handedly supporting several of the local dairies, but I would rather eat ground glass than ruin a batch of good biscuits with shortening.

  2. Nan, I think your recipe is similar to mine - although I have to admit I use a non-transfat shortening. Being lactose intolerant can affect one's choices!

    My paternal grandmother made the best biscuits I have ever had, unfortunately no-one has the recipe: She didn't use one! My cousin once followed her around the kitchen, saying "Stop!" before she would dump something in the mixing bowl - he'd measure it, then let her proceed. Despite that, no-one else could ever achieve the high, light, fluffy baking powder biscuit that Mamaw made!

  3. Sactopig (what an interesting name!), I have a great quote that you will love.

    "The world began to go to hell in a basket when they substituted margarine for butter."

    Ruth Tiffany Barnhouse
    Sylvia Plath's psychiatrist at McLean

  4. Aisling, these were not "high, light, fluffy" but there were sure good! I love the story about your cousin.

  5. These sound delicious. I've never had any luck making my own biscuits, but will give this recipe a try. I love the illustrations in the cookbook! :)


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