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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Basic biscuits

I post every week that breakfast on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) is bacon, eggs, and biscuits.  Well, that sounds really boring, doesn't it?  Especially when we have the same thing every week.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuits

Does this look boring?

Okay, I know the quality of the picture is bad, but doesn't it look like a breakfast biscuit you would order at Hardee's or McDonald's?  I know people are all down on fast-food.  I understand why (I mean fast-food is really horrible for you, not to mention expensive) so I agree, but I happen to like the taste of Hardee's and McDonald's breakfast... especially the biscuits!

It seems like everyone uses canned biscuits when they make breakfast at home.  I prefer not to use them.  I sometimes do because it saves time, and also because the canned biscuits make far better dumplings than any homemade dumpling I've ever tried.  That's probably just a personal preference though because my mom always made dumplings with canned biscuits.

Now, my Mamaw (my great-grandmother) used to make the best biscuits.  I don't have a great memory of it because I was quite young at the time, but I recall at least once when Nana and Mamaw worked together to make biscuits and sausage gravy, my mom's favorite breakfast.  It turns out that it's one of Aaron's favorite breakfasts too.

Biscuits and Gravy with Scrambled Eggs

They are also fantastic with some of my Nana's homemade apple butter on them too... mmmmm!  This is my Mamaw's recipe for homemade southern biscuits.

Basic Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the butter and using either your fingers or a pastry blender work the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.  When you grab and handful and squeeze it together it should hold its shape, and there should be very tiny chunks of butter that will form a marbled look when the dough forms.  Mix in the milk.  (I use a fork at first, just until it starts to come together, then I use my hands.)  Form the dough into a disc.  On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out the biscuits using a biscuit cutter or a cookie cutter with a very sharp edge.  You could also use a sharp knife and make square biscuits (I like square biscuits).  Working the dough as little as possible, bring the scraps back together into a disc and roll out to cut again.  Continue until there is not enough dough left to make a full biscuit (you can make a "funny biscuit" like my Mamaw always did with the last of the scraps by making a smiley face on the dough before baking it).

Do not use anything with a dull edge to cut the biscuits out.  If you use something dull (such as a cup or glass) to cut the biscuits they won't rise or flake the same as if you use a sharp edged cutter.

Place the biscuits about an inch apart on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them, and when the bottoms start to brown they are ready.  If you wait for the tops to brown the bottoms will be too dark (unless you like them dark and if so, by all means leave them in until the tops are brown).

I like the square ones!

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