Home baked biscuits are the next best thing to home baked bread, and they’re a lot quicker, because there’s no yeast to wait for. Instead, they’re leavened by baking powder. Apart from that, all you really need is flour, fat, and milk, plus a touch of salt — though you can always add other ingredients, either sweet or savory, like cheese, herbs, bits of cooked meat, sugar . . . But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This recipe I’ve come up with is even quicker than most, because there’s no rolling or cutting out the dough. Instead, the biscuits get their shape from being baked in a muffin tin. It also uses shortening, which is a little easier to blend with flour than butter is — but go ahead and use butter if you prefer. And, oh yes, it makes a small batch, a half dozen biscuits, because for the moment I have only a toaster oven to bake in. But I’m not complaining. Yet.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons chilled shortening (or 3/4 stick butter)
- 1/2 cup milk
- Heat oven to 400°. Grease a six-cup muffin tin.
- Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the shortening and mash it into the flour with a heavy fork (or a pastry cutter) till the pieces are about the size of cornflakes.
- Pour in the milk and stir with the fork just until the dough comes together — more or less — in one piece, away from the sides of the bowl.
- (Biscuits should be mixed as little as you can get away with. It keeps them light.)
- With your hands, pull the dough into two halves and divide each half into three pieces. Put each piece in a muffin cup and bake for at least 15 minutes, but probably closer to 20 or more.
- Anyway, leave them in till the tops are browning lightly.
- Speaking of color, these will look more appetizing if you use golden shortening.
- Or butter, of course.
- Speaking of butter, they’re good with it, or jam, or even chocolate chips.
- If you’d like to spice them up a little, you can, as I mentioned before, add pretty much anything that’s either already cooked or doesn’t need cooking, and comes in very small pieces.
- Think shredded cheese, cooked meat finely diced, raisins, or berries.
- Add these to the dry ingredients before you put in the liquid. The same goes for extra sugar and dried or fresh herbs. Biscuits have a lot of potential.