My dad has talked for years about the baking powder biscuits his grandmother (my great-grandmother) used to make. Recently I asked him if he remembered the recipe, or if I could get it from my grandma. He laughed and said “Honey, all she used was baking powder and Pioneer baking mix.” I was stunned. My great-grandmother who was born in 1912, (which seems ancient to me, I assumed should have also known everything about farming, canning and homesteading) basically used BISQUICK to make her biscuits? No wonder the world is falling apart. Apparently, we have been losing our know-how for some time.
Thank goodness for the internet. After that conversation I began a month-long journey of hunting for THE ultimate southern country biscuit recipe. It had to use only food storage items, had to be fast (20 mins or less) and had to taste good. I accumulated five recipes to try. The first was okay but they were dense and tasted better dipped in soup than on their own. The next recipe I tried seemed too simple to produce anything edible. Still, it more than met my previous requirements so I gave it a try. I never finished testing any of the other recipes because those biscuits turned out THAT GOOD!
Seriously, they’re magical. They bake up big and fat like Grands® canned biscuits and break in half naturally along a center seam that appears during baking. The center is fluffy and bread-like, not flaky. (Think biscuits and gravy style.) The recipe is so simple my 6 year old could mix it and he always helps with cutting the dough. These are the old-fashioned, southern baking powder biscuits I envisioned my great-grandmother making. Minus the Pioneer mix, you cheaters!
Country Baking Powder Biscuits
Makes 6-8 biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425° and grease a cookie sheet. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, stirring to mix them well. Cut in shortening with a fork until the mix resembles coarse crumbs (or until it looks – ironically – like dry Bisquick). Gradually stir in milk until dough begins to form a ball.
On a well floured surface, dump out the dough. It will be sticky. With floured hands, sprinkle the top with flour and turn the ball over once or twice to lightly coat it with flour just enough that it is not super sticky. The top should be dusted but inside it should still be doughy/sticky. Be very careful not to overwork your dough. The less you knead & press it, the fluffier your biscuits will be.
Using just your flour-dusted hands, gently press the dough out until it is about 1 inch thick. Again, don’t overwork the dough. Just press it out in any random blob shape and then cut circles with a 2.5-3 inch diameter round cookie/biscuit cutter. Leftover dough can be balled up and baked but it will be slightly more dense.
Transfer the biscuits to your greased cookie sheet and bake at 425° for 13-15 minutes or just until the tops begin to turn the faintest shade of brown, like in the image at the top of this post. The biscuits will rise significantly during baking.
That’s all there is to it! Once you have made these a few times you’ll discover that start to finish these biscuits are ready in 20 minutes. Delicious when served with honey and butter! Recipe can be doubled, just slightly increase the dusting flour on the surface you pour the dough out onto to accommodate the larger dough ball. Leftovers make an excellent, easy breakfast. Guaranteed to impress your husband or your money back.
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