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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: All About Biscuits

© Another Day in the Country

On Sunday morning, my sister and I have the ritual of eating breakfast together. Sunday morning breakfast is treat time, with fresh fruit and whipped cream on waffles, huevos rancheros, or biscuits and gravy, always freshly brewed coffee, sometimes fresh squeezed orange juice, and a pretty table setting. After breakfast, we cozy up in the living room and watch The Sunday Morning Show. It’s one of the few rituals we attend to, religiously, every week.

This past Sunday morning, Jess showed up at the door in a grumpy mood. She was attempting to make a special biscuit recipe that promised to deliver the best, high rising, flakey biscuits you could imagine, and it didn’t seem to her that they were turning out like the picture. She was doing what the recipe said, but the biscuit dough didn’t seem to be cooperating. I laughed, remembering when my grandma made biscuits and never even measured anything. Things are different now!

My sister traditionally likes complicated recipes — the more steps the better because she believes that she will then be assured of a superior end product. This particular biscuit recipe we’d found in a Southern Living magazine. I love that magazine primarily because of its beautiful layout and the yummy sounding recipes.

While other food magazines advertise zillions of combinations of food with celebrity chefs and exotic ingredients, I find that I rarely tear out a recipe to try. Either the picture doesn’t look appetizing or the sound of kale and quinoa leaves me hankering for something familiar. Not so with the recipes I find in my favorite southern publication. Even though, they seem to have a thing for grits (and I don’t) every month finds us trying something. This time it was their biscuits.

Jess is a good cook but her biscuits turn out lack-luster. When she found the recipe for the flakiest biscuits ever, she vowed to try them. Now here she was on Sunday morning, after buying the most expensive self-rising flour she could find, frustrated.

The recipe called for freezing butter and then grating it — after which you were to put the biscuit ingredients in the fridge for 10 minutes. At that point, she came to my house to finish the process so that she could bake them in Mom’s convection oven. “One, two, three, four, five…” she was counting her stirring revolutions with the wooden spoon. She was supposed to “stir 15 times.” Not 14 and not 16 times; 15 was the magic number. “This dough doesn’t look like it says it should,” she huffed. “It doesn’t seem to be sticking together.” I looked on in silence.

She fussed over the shape of those biscuits until she popped them into the 475-degree oven. We peered in the oven window. “They’d better rise,” she said. We waited some more while she paced the kitchen. Then those biscuits started to move.

“They’d better be done in the middle,” Jess said as she pulled them from the oven. They were perfect. They were delicious. They were light and tasty, mouth-watering. So good that I just must share the recipe with you:

½ cup butter FROZEN

2 ½ cups self-rising flour

1 cup chilled buttermilk

2 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 475, grate butter using large holes of a box grater, toss with flour in medium bowl and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk and stir 15 times (dough will be sticky). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, lightly sprinkle with flour, use lightly floured rolling pin to roll ¾ inch thick, fold dough in half, repeat folding/rolling process 4 times. Roll dough ½ inch thick, cut with 2 ½ inch round cutter. Place on parchment-lined pan, bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned, brush with melted butter.

Now don’t settle for something you pop out of a can or buy readymade. If you do, you’ll be missing a real treat. Maybe you’ve already forgotten how yummy a real, homemade, warm biscuit can be on another day in the country.

Last modified April 15, 2015

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