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Archive for August 19th, 2011

I figured that since I am at my parents house, and since the best, most requested food served here, is my Dad’s biscuits, that is what today’s recipe would be.

Now, you may call them scones (or ‘scons’, which really is only the pronunciation if you speak with a British accent) if you wish … but, biscuits is what they are called under this roof … always have been, always will be. If I were to get really specific, I would tell you they are called ‘Brittany Biscuits’ but, biscuits will do just fine.

This recipe is not really a summertime recipe, as you have to turn your oven on. But, since they are so good, and since my parents have air conditioning (and since my mother likes to keep the house at igloo-like temperatures), it works here to have them in the summer. Plus, they make for great ‘cakes’ for strawberry (blueberry, raspberry, etc.) shortcakes … see, I can make any recipe a summertime recipe.

It would probably be good to mention that this recipe makes enough for a crowd … a big, ugly, east coast family crowd (in laws and outlaws). When my dad makes it, he stores most of it, in the refrigerator, to be used at a later date. This way he can make fresh biscuits for his favorite daughter (okay, only daughter) every morning (I so do not want to be reminded that the day of my reckoning with my scales is coming … ever so quickly … but, I digress).

The ingredients are simple, and most you should already have on hand (except for the shortening, that we have told is so very bad for us, due to the trans fats … personally, I use butter, but I have to say that shortening does honor the quality of taste, so much better). And the time factor is really pretty short … within about half an hour you can be peeling your first one open (and within an hour you will need to be rolled away from the table).

First off, preheat your oven to 405 degrees F. This temperature may differ depending on the elevation at which you live, and the humidity in the air.

Then you need to fetch the biggest bowl in the house (aka, the popcorn bowl … if you love popcorn like I do … and I am not talking about the dreadful microwave variety). Into it you need to measure 8 cups of all-purpose flour (if you want to add more nutritional value you could use have whole wheat flour … but I think it’s really a waste of time … they are biscuits, not toast, you are not making biscuits for their nutritional value, you make them because they are so freaking tasty), 1/3 cup of baking powder (check the expiry date on the container, if it has expired, the biscuits will not rise … and biscuit-style hockey pucks are not appealing), 2 teaspoons of salt, and 3 teaspoons of sugar. Now traditionally these ingredients would be sifted together, but I whisk them once they are in the bowl, and my dad (whose recipe it is, and who is the only person who can really make them taste like they should) probably uses a fork or wooden spoon … if he mixes them together at all, before cutting in 1 cup of shortening (Fluffo … it is what Dad uses, so I have to tell you) with a pastry blender.

Once all of the ingredients look well combined, and similar in appearance to oats, it is time to get messy!

And I do not just mean physically … my dad’s measurements get a little vague at this point … So, now you can refrigerate your ‘mix’, and take out as much as you want, whenever you want. And when you are ready to bake biscuits til they are browned beautifully (I so love alliteration … it is the only figure of speech that I really understand), place as much ‘mix’ in a bowl as you would like (start with about two cups). Make a well in the center of the mix. Then comes the milk and (sigh) this is where my dad takes after his mother … he says to add as much as is needed …

I know, I feel your pain! I am anal too … I need specific measurements! So, here is my guide … add a bit at a time (say about 1/4 cup) and stir with a fork, until the dough is soft, and it pulls away from (instead of sticks to) the sides of the bowl. Once that feat is accomplished, turn the dough out onto a floured surface (maybe the counter top).

Now knead it until it is done … OR about 10-15 times 😉 Then roll to about 1″ thickness, and cut with a cutter, or glass into round biscuits (or, live on the edge and just cut them into squares, or rectangles, or hearts, or … oh, how my undiagnosed ADD is surfacing now … maybe Pac-Man?). Keep rolling and cutting until all the dough is used. My dad’s ritual includes making a ‘hot dog’ … this is where he takes the last bit of dough (more than the amount for one ‘normal’ biscuit), and forming it into the cylindrical shape of a hot dog. This is the MOST COVETED biscuit in the bunch! It is bigger than the rest, and it is … different! If Dad places the ‘hot dog’ biscuit on your plate … you are the favorite person at that meal!

Lay them on an ungreased baking sheet. And bake for 12-15 minutes … until the tops are golden brown.

Now, eat them IMMEDIATELY! Warm is better than cold, but hot is better than warm.

On my parents table is jam (strawberry ONLY), peanut butter, cheese whiz (blech!), and margarine (they have never been a ‘butter’ family). Personally, I do not need to add a thing to them … just open them up, and feel the heat of the steam warm your cheeks as you go in for your first bite … delicious!

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