The Best Biscuits are Made with Love
The same can be true for anything. The best XYZ is always made with love. When people ask me what my secret ingredient is I always say love and I mean it each time. The first time I baked my first real biscuit I was 7 years old. When I say real I mean mixing flour, making dough and rolling that baby out. They say biscuits are born in the south but really they are born in your heart.
I first learned to bake a biscuit from my paternal Grandmother Barbara during a summer visit in Indiana. To this day that lady made the best biscuit I had ever eaten. When I ate her biscuits for the first time the only thing I had to compare them to was KFC so that was the compliment I gave her. Looking back it would have been nice if I were more prolific as a child and said something delightful such as that tasted like a cloud, or what I imagine heaven to be. With that being said she then sat me down and said now I will teach you how to make a biscuit. I instantly felt a nervousness in my stomach. I remember her reaching across the table, soothing the back of my hand and saying it’s okay because you already know how to do it. One thing I am thankful for is my gift of note taking. Even back then I would have a notebook full of quips, conversations but most importantly recipes. So in honor of my late Grandmother Barbara my first recipe on this blog will be a biscuit.
One thing my Momma was known for was her cooking. She was the cake lady of the south and she carried that honor with her to the grave. She was also known for not sharing a recipe even with her favorite child (that’s me in case you were wondering). I paid attention and quite well so I picked up a few things here and there but I could never really get all of her good recipes because she kept them a secret just the way she liked it. Most of everything I learned in the kitchen came from my Grandma Barbara but my Momma did encourage my cooking by giving me cookware and things to help my progress. I never took offense to her not sharing recipes but it is a bit sad because I know that she loved to cook and that is something I would love to carry on in her name. So Grandma Barbara taught me how to make the biscuit but my Momma gave me something that I never lost. 40 years ago she used this from one of her first jobs cooking in the kitchen and she handed it down to me about 24 years ago. I have been holding on to it since and I will never let it go. I understand that not everyone has a 40 year old biscuit heirloom and I wont fault you on that. Your best bet would be to use a round cookie cutter or use a glass cup. If you want to add southern flare use a mason jar with the lid removed. Because everyone knows if you’re in the south it’s a must to have a mason jar or two around the house (wink).
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk (icecold)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and work your way up if you have to. Some people swear by 400 degrees or higher but I have never been that adventurous when baking bread and it takes me a while to work myself up.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar (optional) baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. You want to be pretty quick about this because once the fat melts it pointless to go on. Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky that is your warning.
3. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. When you cut your biscuits be sure to cut down into the dough. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet so that they just touch. Reshape scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. I’m never one to spoil an ending but the first batch will be your best and your second will be mediocre. I rarely bake two batches and stick with the first because hey I have a reputation to maintain.
4. Bake until biscuits are fluffy and gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes. It’s nice to top with pats of butter as soon as they leave the oven. I occasionally mix honey and butter and coat the top 1-2 minutes before I remove them from the oven.
Thank you for reading my blog and allowing me to share my food journal and personal stories with you.