Biscuits like Grandma's are tradition

March 07, 2007|By Gwen Schoen | Gwen Schoen,McClatchy-Tribune

Every Southern girl learns how to make baking-powder biscuits. You never question it. You just do it and accept the responsibility as part of your heritage.

I was lucky. I learned to make biscuits from the best biscuit baker in Fayetteville, N.C. -- my grandma. She made them without fail every single day for Granddaddy's supper.

My family and my cousin Mack's family lived just down the street from our grandparents. Mack and I figured out, at a very young age, that if we showed up at Grandma's just before supper, she would give each of us a hot biscuit right out of the oven.

Years later, on one of my last visits with my grandmother, she taught me how to make baking-powder biscuits. It was a rite of passage that I cherish still.

Grandma's Baking-Powder Biscuits

Makes 8 to 10 biscuits

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening or butter

3/4 cup whole milk (do not use nonfat)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

To measure the flour, lightly sprinkle it into a dry-measure cup until it mounds higher than the edge of the cup. With a straight edge such as a spatula, level the flour in the measuring cup. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix it well.

Cut the butter into small bits and add it to the flour. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend the butter and the flour until it forms pea-size crumbs. Add the milk all at once and stir just until it clings together. It will be a very soft dough.

Lightly sprinkle the counter with flour. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and gently knead it about 10 times. Try to avoid working in more flour. Pat the dough into a circle until it is about 3/4 inch thick.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough into circles. (If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use a sharp knife to cut the dough into squares.) Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. If you want moist, fluffy biscuits, place them close together. For crispy biscuits, place them far apart on the sheet.

Bake until the biscuits are lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve them hot with plenty of butter and strawberry preserves or honey.

Per biscuit (based on 8 biscuits using shortening): 185 calories, 4 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 340 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber

Recipe analysis provided by the Sacramento Bee.

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