Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Consuming Biscuits

I am reading a delightful book called Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West. It is the author’s quirky true tale of family, food and frolics growing up in the south. I feel like I know the characters whose personalities just leap off the pages as the author memorializes the antics and traditions of this obviously close-knit family.

Sprinkled amidst her stories, the author shares family recipes and one recipe in particular caught my eye…”Mimi’s Buttermilk Biscuits.” Mimi is the author’s dear grandmother and the women folk in the family feared that the matriarch took the biscuit recipe with her to the grave. However, the author’s Mama proclaimed she knew it “by heart” and one day following an aunt’s funeral, she taught the author how to make the coveted biscuits!

Mimi’s Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter
1 cup of buttermilk

“Preheat the oven to 450°. Butter two 8 x 8 x 2-inch square glass pans. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cut in the cold butter. When the flour and butter mixture is crumbly, pour in the buttermilk. Stir. Turn the dough onto a floured board and pat down to a ½ inch thickness. A light touch is recommended—biscuits don’t like lots of handling. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. Heat the glass pans, then add the biscuits (they can touch each other – they like togetherness). Bake 12-15 minutes until brown.”

I made these yummy little gems Sunday night, but my dough was not as stiff as it should have been, so I had to make drop biscuits….they were, none-the-less, delicious! If you don’t have buttermilk, never fear….just add a teaspoon of white vinegar to milk and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. I baked them on my trusty pizza stone...also, next time I will use real buttermilk!

All you biscuit makers out there...any suggestions what I should have done differently with the dough.....less liquid?

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