Doughy Diversions

I’m at the moment escaping the thesis, so this is the result…hope you’re hungry!

When I was little, I used to watch my mom roll out biscuit dough. She’d usually give me and my brother some of the dough to form into whatever shape we wanted while she finished cutting the dough with a cookie cutter. I usually made an “S” or a heart while my older brother would make a “J” for his name. I’ve always cherished that memory of playing with the dough with the flour all over my hands. Then, I could hardly stay still through the blessing for the meal because of wanting to taste the biscuits. I could see the steam coming up as they sat in their special basket covered with a kitchen towel to keep them warm. I can still feel the warmth of that towel as I lifted it to find my specially formed biscuit on top.

Then…I grew up and biscuits weren’t made as often since so many of us children had grown up. Canned biscuits were often easier to work with except for that recent Thanksgiving biscuit can explosion incident, but that’s another story.

About two weeks ago, I was staring at the blinking cursor trying to work on my thesis during a snow day. I suddenly had the urge to get my hands in that floury dough again! The resulting biscuits were rather crummy and crumbly. What a disappointment! Mom found out about my attempt and emailed me a couple of recipes to try and one of those recipes was the one from childhood. My first attempt at this recipe was all right, but I didn’t have all the proper tools like a rolling pin and a cookie cutter.

Tonight, I decided while working on mid-term grades for my students that I wanted to try biscuits again. So, here’s a bit of a photo journal of what resulted. Sure, this isn’t a cooking blog, but I’d rather do this than think any more about Balzac and corruption (my thesis topic) for a while:

Mama’s Biscuits:

In an effort to assist me in my biscuit making diversion, mom passed two things down to me. One of them, as simple as it is, seemed like an invaluable heirloom:

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Yes, an old glass ketchup bottle!

Now, why would this be special? Because many years ago when my mother was about my age with a young family, she was trying to make biscuits and cook, and my great-grandmother gave her this bottle for use as a rolling pin. As mom handed it to me, she smiled and began reflecting on some sweet lessons my great-grandmother taught her about making biscuits while using this bottle as a rolling pin. Of course, knowing what I know from stories I’ve been told about dear Granny Moseley, there were probably plenty of life lessons and stories from her childhood mixed in with those unique cooking lessons. I could tell mom was thinking of that dear woman who had meant so much to her as she smiled and said that she was glad that it would be used again. Maybe it sounds funny, but I feel honored to have this antique glass ketchup bottle in my cabinet!

Next, mom gave me the very same cookie cutter she used when I was a child. With this I was all set for biscuit making!!!

So, here we go! First of all, I sifted 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl comme ça:

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Next, I added in 1 teaspoon of salt and 3 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder and sifted it all together:

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After this, I pulled out the old reliable perhaps not so healthy but rather important ingredient for biscuit-making…..CRISCO!!! Just plop 1/3 of a cup into your flour like so and use a pastry blender to cut the crisco into the flour until it looks like coarse meal:

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Now, all we have left is the milk basically! So, what are you waiting for? Add in 3/4 cup of milk to your flour mixture and mix together until it becomes a dough! Then, the fun will begin!

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Now, lightly flour a hard surface such as a cutting board, a pastry cloth, or in my case I just used my counter-top since that’s really all I have. Knead the dough lightly about 10 times.

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YES!!! This is definitely the best part! I love having flour on my hands!

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Yep, now you get to cut out the dough!! Wheee! And, I usually like to take the scrap piece left over and form it into a certain letter….

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Place all of your biscuits whether creative or not on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F.

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What does one do while waiting???? Dishes, of course!

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All right, maybe I wasn’t seriously that excited about it. My back is actually covering up the stack from this morning, but that’s beside the point. But, hey, it gives you something to do while you wait for those little doughy bundles of goodness to finish their chemical reaction which results in a heavenly aroma and an even more heavenly taste! Oh, and you may want to dust off your clothing too.

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Flour gets everywhere….

THEN! After waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting….because that 15 minutes seems to take an eternity when you’re ravenously hungry…..THEY’RE DONE!!!

100_1290So, yes, they don’t look like perfectly formed examples of biscuits, but, oh my word, they’re good! And, yes, my little “S” looks more like a Seahorse, but I think it looks fairly cool! I mean, whoever thought of making a biscuit seahorse!? I made one, and I wasn’t even meaning to. 🙂

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So, here’s it all put together for making either biscuits or seahorses:

  • 2 cups of sifted flour
  • 3 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of Crsico
  • 3/4 cup of milk

Directions: Mix sifted flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender, two knives, or fork until mixture looks like coarse meal. Add milk and stir until blended. Transfer dough to a floured board or pastry cloth. Knead lightly about 10 times. Roll dough 1/2″ thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in 425 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes or until as brown as desired.

So, there you have it! It’s been fun going on these little cooking diversions. It’s just not healthy  to sit in front of the computer for hours on end. I would recommend eating these with some gravy too, if you have the time to make some. Quite a southern classic indeed!

Now, to fix a cup of coffee and get back to working on grades and the last tidbits of the thesis! I do so love spring break! 🙂 Have a great week!

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3 responses to “Doughy Diversions

  1. Pingback: Crisco Biscuits | familyrecipebooks

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